As I ran Wednesday, I was thinking more about Ed Ayres’ book, The Longest Race. He frequently mentioned an article the late President John F. Kennedy wrote for Sports Illustrated titled “The Soft American.” Kennedy wrote it after he was elected but before taking office. Could you imagine the howling if President Barack Obama wrote an article with that title? Kennedy worried about the fitness of our nation’s citizens. I too worry. We’re a nation that’s getting fatter. We eat too much cheap, processed food. Why, shortly before I started writing I had two Oreo cookies. I should not have any. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Besides eating too much cheap, processed food, we exercise too little.
I saw an interesting graphic on Twitter on how people get to work. By far, the majority of people commute to work alone in a car. I was that way until I went car free in August 2012. That tells me that most people sit in their cars for their commutes, a passive form of transportation, rather than taking a more active approach, such as bicycling or walking or a combination of walking or bicycling along with taking transit (here in Fort Wayne, transit means the city bus, which runs just once an hour and stops running at 9 p.m. weeknights, 6 p.m. Saturdays and no service at all on Sundays or holidays.
So, what does this have to do with ultramarathoning, you might ask. Well, if more people took up running, and it doesn’t have to be an ultra, we might be a healthier nation. Our national health costs might drop. Maybe people will need fewer drugs if they exercised more. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. I walk or ride my bike most days. On Wednesday, I ran 3.64 miles. It was my first run in nearly two weeks. Currently, I try to run three times/week. As I ramp up training for an ultra that is at least a year from now, I’ll have to move to running six days/week really soon. I want to take it slowly as the mileage really starts to build up.