Run At Least One Mile a Day
Find the thing you do well and do it again and again for the rest of your life. – Jóhann Jóhannsson
It all started on a nice, warm, late winter day, the 5th of March at Willis Park, in Roswell Georgia. It is the home to the renowned equestrian complex. I am not sure exactly why, but after that unimpressive 2 mile run, I decided to run at least 1 mile a day. I am undecided for how long I will keep this going or if I will try more mileage a day. I know there are plenty of people out there that have run a lot more miles a day for a much longer stretch but you have to start some where. Looking back at my stats over the last 12 months I have walked or ran over 6 miles a day.
Over 20 years ago, for no particular reason, I then decided to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, for the entire year. Back then I was only a few years into running marathons so I figured the cross training would be good for my body. Little did I know how hard it would be to carve out 30 minutes every single day. Back then all three of my highly competitive kids were deep into all sorts of sports. I was right along side them either helping out with the coaching or managing their teams. I remember one occasion where I started my exercise routine at 11:30 pm, one night and finishing at 12:30 am, the next morning in order to get both days accomplished.
Back in 2014 I participated in a 100 day challenge, to either walk or run 3 miles a day. That lead right up to my open heart surgery that June.
I follow a lot of weekend warriors on social media and I think reading about all their race accomplishments is part of my motivation. Unfortunately, Catherine lost her ability to run about a year ago so now we do a lot of walking. She walks 6-8 miles a day. Now, not always together, since I have found two fantastic ladies that come 3-4 hours, mostly in the morning, 3-4 days a week. Finding them was not an easy task since I needed someone to walk around 2 miles an hour the entire time they would be with her. Most folks wanted to sit and watch whomever, watch TV, do a puzzle or card game. The other rub is that most wanted 30-40 hours a week, which I did not need. Also the biggest thing was I needed someone Cat felt comfortable being with.
In retrospect, I think the desire to do any running every single day was taking me back to my after heart surgery days. Back then walking was all I could do for six weeks while my body healed and in my mind I could not wait to be completely airborne again, even for a fraction of a second. Secondarily, maybe it went back to my 37 years of gently pulling back on the yoke of an airplane and the rush I felt every time the main gear struts decompressed as we went airborne and hearing the words,“positive rate,” from the pilot not flying and my response, “gear up.”
Who knows but the 12-13 minutes are both like heaven and hell. The hell being the fact that i no longer run with Cat by my side. Yes that is the slow pace I now run my one mile a day.. They are usually done on days when no one is scheduled to be with Cat. Sometimes they are done 1/2 mile at a time when I take the long way around the building to pick up breakfast for the next day or dinner. When it is too cold or rainy I do it on the treadmill at the gym.
Other times, when someone is with Cat, the pace is even slower when I am able to do more miles at various locations near and around, “The Brook”, as I affectionately call where we have lighted since September. I say lighted since we still go on short trips about every two weeks. I still can’t bring myself to stay put for very long. My running pace is never slower than 15 minutes per mile since I can race walk faster than that. It might be in the 15 minute range when I am run/walking while pushing Cat in the CatMobile. I will be getting some of those daily miles done while pushing her. In those cases since I use a 30 second run and 30 second walk regime I with have to do two miles or a combination to make it count towards my goal.
In a way i think having a sense of control in my life has something to do with it. We can’t control how much sleep we are going to get each night or the quality of sleep, as an example. This is one thing I can accomplish each and every day no matter the external influences. I get to decide when and how it will be checked off my list each day. Some days will be much easier than others but at the end of the day I know it will be done.
It is much like those that pray or meditate each day. It is something just for them and at the same time they are the only one that knows that it was done. This is especially true while caring for someone with Early Onset Alzheimer’s where I often have so little control on how each day will go. I often listen to a meditation during portion of my daily runs on gratitude. This one can be done anywhere and anytime and has you look at 5 different aspects of your daily life you are grateful for. They are, something about your day that you are grateful for. A person, a place and what about yourself you are grateful for. The hard one is to be grateful for something that did not go right either today or yesterday and what did you learn from it and what did it keep you from doing that would have been even worse. The last one is to be grateful for something your are looking forward to in the future.
I just signed up for a 60 miles your way in May challenge put on by the Alzheimer’s Association. If you have been in any way touched by Alzheimer’s please leave me a message here, or by email, email@example.com or text message, 502-396-0853. Please include the details so I can think about you and them while running each day.
Turns out, I connected with a lady that pushes her adult son during half marathons. She did a race with Mainly Marathons a day before we met up with the group last year. She told me about the group, AINSLEY’S ANGELs OF AMERICA, That provide support to folks in similar situations as us. Their mission is, Together, We Shall educate, advocate and celebrate inclusive communities while connecting everyone through empowerment and belonging.
I had my first support team effort by, “The Angels” on Saturday with a 5K in Suwanee Town Center. I was a bit apprehensive having someone help me during a race, but it turned out very well. Three, “Guardian Angels,” as they call themselves, showed up to help me, especially with the uphill portion back to the finish line. She got out near the finish and we once again crossed the finish line hand and hand.
I am looking forward to working with the folks here in northern Georgia, chapter of the Angels, and also nationwide as I attempt to get my last half and full marathon states’ done while pushing Cat and the Cat mobile. This was Only our 2nd race this year, both being of the 5K variety. Last year we did 4 races, 3,,half marathons and 1, 10k. However in 2021 was one of our best years with 25 total races, 18, half marathons, 6, 10k’s and 1, 8K.
At some point it is inevitable Catherine will lose her ability to walk. I have decided that when that dreadful day comes I will pick up my quest to run my last 8 states to get a marathon done in all 50 states plus DC while pushing Cat. She accomplished that back in 2020. For me to pull that off I will have to be in much better shape than I am in now and will need a chair more suitable for going the distance.
I guess that might be another reason for a mile a day. I don’t think much about how much longer I can keep her brain talking to her legs but I know for sure that won’t stop any time soon. With all of that in mind there is no time like the present to prepare myself for the over 209 miles necessary to complete 8 marathons one completely airborne, footstep at a time.