Often enough here I've said — so let's simply take it as read — that long-distance jogging is fine, for some people some of the time ... and instead of nattering on, cut to the data. Here are all 325 ^z excursions logged during 2002 and 2003 compressed into a few square inches:
Clear in the graphic are three 26.2 mile jaunts followed by dips for recovery. But to see some real trends through the noise consider weekly mileage figures, a 10-week moving average, and the further-smoothed and processed "Z-rating" (see LogbookTyrannicide, 17 Oct 2002) extended through the first month of 2004:
Winter ice and snow made the lines plummet in December-January ... summer heat, humidity, and bad air produced smaller dips in July-August ... injury pushed the curves down in October 2003. Both years averaged ~20 miles/week overall. The mean distance of an individual run was ~5.2 miles in 2002 and ~8.6 miles in 2003. Maybe some day I'll do cross-correlations with temperature, rain, hills, blood pressure, weight, and so forth.
But all the quantitative data points in the world don't begin to hint at the joys that came with almost every outing — delightful observations on the trail, general improvements to mental health, and slow-sudden moments of self-discovery. Many thanks once more for the kind encouragement of my brother Keith, colleagues at the office (esp. CA, CR, NF, and SA), the friendly members of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club (esp. BT and CC), and a variety of inspiring authors (esp. Joe Henderson and George Sheehan).
(for more gory details see various posts listed in TopicRunning ...)