Comparing marathons, over 30-some years
I’ll complete my first 1/2 marathon this summer, on a challenge from my wife- woohoo. Ok, technically, I started the marathon in 1984 when I ran 13 miles in upstate VT, and I’ll finish it off in June of 2014 with another 13 in Fairfield, CT. But there’s no real statute of limitations to complete the run, at least none that I’ve found.
This feat of course pales in every respect when compared to the exemplary angel/marathoner Brad Feld, who is attempting to run 50 (real) marathons in 50 states, I guess sometime before he dies. He talks about his progress with running here. No word on his ultimate deadline but for the sake of angels and entrepreneurs everywhere, I hope that deadline is not approaching anytime soon.
I read about how Paleo man could probably beat me up, jog off with my woman, and another’s, and I still could not catch him. I’m not going back 30,000 years, but what was interesting to me was how different running is in 2014, vs 30 years ago in so many respects:
My Weight: I rarely checked my weight in 1984- probably never. Well, by 2014 no surprise, I’ve layered on 20 pounds in 30 years, half of which came with retiring from beach volleyball. I will argue the other half are sympathy pounds from our two pregnancies, which Melissa has easily taken off and I have kept around for sentimental reasons. All this means I am carrying a pack on my back like most Marines do, but I’m rarely shot at. It’s been worse, and since I’ve begun mildly training the trend is back towards my college football weight. I know all this, daily and in excruciating detail, because I step on a Withings scale that wifi’s my weight and BMI to apps waiting to collect it and send me reminders.
My Diet: Again, 1984 I pretty much ate what I want, metabolized like a furnace, and was very active so it hardly mattered. Not so much today, as pretty much everything I eat has consequences. I also drink wine, which I hear is good for me so I keep plenty around just in case. Breakfast and lunch are becoming lighter meals, dinner remains a multi-course feast. I went for about 9 months snapping each plate I ate with , but the feedback was a little lame and it did not correlate to weight loss all that well. I think there is room to improve apps for human consumption and calorie estimation.
My equipment: Well, I’m sure the quality of my shoes have improved but ironically my favorite brand is still Brooks. Shoes and their tech benefits are well marketed, and fully priced, but I’m not sure the improvements have kept pace with the prices. Outfits have improved dramatically, mostly thanks to UnderArmor and Nike pushing the envelope on performance.
My Stress level: Is it possible to compare stress levels between 1984 and 2014? I certainly wasn’t stressed in 1984, for a few reasons: 1) I didn’t know yet what I didn’t know, 2) I had relatively no responsibilities, 3) life itself had fewer complications. Today I do yoga, stretch, and actually love the Calm app for meditation. I’m shocked, it’s actually good. I am also more balanced with family, kids, and a life outside of business. But I have such regimented time management, there is little margin for error in my schedule. Effective yes, but stressful too. Oh, I’ve started a bunch of companies, raised $100M of capital, chair a half- dozen boards, and hired 500 or so people in the interim. Maybe that’s got me wound up. Net/net, I have better means to deal with stress, and I have plenty of it to deal with. Call it a wash.
My Times: No doubt one of the big advantages of 2014 is the iPhone and apps like Strava. I have used FitBit and Runkeeper, and Nike Up, but I found they were just credit for being less sedentary: # of steps can be relevant for sure, and stairs count, but this is about combatting couch-potatoe-ism I think. Strava, on the other hand, gives me a full view of my training regimen, split times, a cool map of where I’ve been, and the likelihood (or not) that I am in some sort of shape for the big event. In 1984, I just looked at the odometer once or twice on the ride home, and tried to take runs of about that distance once a week. I really didn’t think about it that much. I’m lucky I didn’t die.
Expectations: in 1984 I fully expected to finish. I ran the first mile in like 3:55 so I could get my picture in the paper (the first mile had a scenic covered bridge, and every year that shot made it, below the finish line). Of course, I bonked by mile 3 and finished next to a few old ladies. In 2014, I fully expect to finish as well, though not in front of my wife.