Category Archives: Running

Run for your life / to prolong life

Advances in medical science paired with behavioral and social changes has led to an increase in life expectancy and lowered death rates. With these advances unlikely to stop, quality of life becomes the focal point.

A 21-year study examined the effects of running on disability and mortality rates of adults over 50. At the start of the study in 1984, many scientists thought vigorous exercise would do older people more harm than good. Some feared the long-term effects of the then “new” jogging craze would be floods of orthopedic injuries, with older runners permanently hobbled by their exercise habit. Emeritus Prof. of Medicine James Fries came up with a hypothesis called Compression of Morbidity, which holds that healthy lifestyles will not only prolong survival, but will also decrease the number of years with disability.

The researchers at Stanford began tracking 538 runners from a running club over age 50, comparing them to a similar group of non-runners. The subjects answered yearly questionnaires about their ability to perform everyday activities such as walking, dressing and grooming, getting out of a chair and gripping objects (this served to assess disability). The researchers used national death records to learn which participants died along with the cause of death. Nineteen years into the study, 34 percent of the non-runners had died, compared to only 15 percent of the runners. Death rates were higher in every category {Cancers, Cardiovascular (strokes and coronary artery disease), Neurological, and Infections (Pneumonia)} for non-runners when compared to the runners. 

On average both groups in the study became more disabled after 21 years of aging, but for runners the onset of disability started later. “Runners’ initial disability was 16 years later than non-runners,’” Fries said. “By and large, the runners have stayed healthy.” Not only did running delay disability, but the gap between runners’ and non-runners’ abilities got bigger with time.  

A companion paper also debunked the long standing myth that runners have a higher prevalence of knee and joint problems. The paper also showed that running was not associated with greater rates of osteoarthritis in their elderly runners. Runners  in the study did not require more total knee replacements than non-runners.  

The basic message of the study states that exercise at any age helps reduce disabilities while increasing longevity. That said, the overall feeling of well being and the reduction of tensions as a result running would have been more than enough reason to continue my running habit. Being a relative newcomer (1 year) myself, I will post some tips on how to start running and keep at it. 


8/14/08 – 2.32 miles in 18:15 (7:51 per mile pace)


Tone it down!

Running partner

In personal news Dave threw what can only be labeled as one of the best parties I have attended in a long time. It was for the Orange and Blue game, which I never attend or watch. We polished off a keg along with mounds of meatballs, sausage balls, and pulled pork. A solid 12 hours of drinking that should not be emulated anytime soon.

I have made an executive decision to stop smoking the marijuana. This decision stems from its ability to make me want to drink and smoke cigarettes. All three tend to act as best friends that only come over if the other is around. Stopping two of them should induce enough force to at least reduce the other.

What lacks in the drive to stop smoking… I have been making up for in my motivation to run. A happy medium must be established. The picture of that amazing looking pooch is my running partner, Sparky.

4/12/08 – 4 miles in 41:23
4/14/08 – 4 miles in 37:47

Equal Access Clinic 5K

The events leading into race day made for a perfect night out, but regrettably had repercussions that I will address shortly. Rushing after work, I made it to a Tapas party where smoking green was part of the festivities. The smoking did not stop here since we then headed to a 90’s themed Birthday party where I drank my fair share and also hot boxed a car. The only positive move made that night was going to bed at 1AM.

The race morning provided conditions for a wonderful run. The unfortunate thing, my body seemed to be in no hurry to reach the finish line. Whole-heartedly content with a severely mediocre pace, I adequately disappointed myself. I DO take solace in knowing that I am part of a small amount of the population taking active steps to get fit.

My official time for the 5k (3.1 miles) was 29:47 that’s a pace of 9:37 per mile.

Getting back in shape

Must fight the urge to be upset. A short month ago I was able to finish the Gate River Run (15k) in 1:28:21, that’s a 9min 30sec pace per mile. I am now struggling to finish short 3 mile runs. Nonetheless I will be running a race this weekend, the 11th Annual Equal Access Clinic 5k. Preparation has been minimal, but this short race should not pose a great threat (at least I hope it doesn’t). I am shooting to run anything below my previous pace, we’ll see how it goes.

4/03/08 – 2.5 miles in 23 minutes