The opportunity cost of distance running

I ran 9 miles today – the furthest I have run since 2007.

It took me 1 hour and 49 minutes to cover that distance. Couple run time with the 10 or so minutes it took me to get ready, and the 20 or so minutes of stretching afterwards, plus showering, and my time budget for the run was about 2 1/2 hours.

That time calculation leaves out one significant factor, however – the languorous fatigue that stalks me for the rest of the day, until I can get in a long nap or a good night’s sleep. I have learned that on days I run long, I had better not plan a long to-do list.

This poor, dead snowman spotted on today's run just about expresses how I feel after putting in significant miles.

This poor, dead snowman spotted on today’s run just about expresses how I feel after putting in significant miles.

And, so, the laundry and dishes remain undone, the bathrooms need cleaning, and the carpets need vacuuming. All I have managed to accomplish this afternoon is go to the grocery store, eat a late lunch (that was an effort), read a few book chapters, and write this blog post.

I suppose this self-inflicted decrepitude is one of my secret reasons for running.

Yes, I run for the benefits to my health and for the stress-relieving effect of physical exertion. But I think I also run long for the excuse to do absolutely nothing one day a week.

The opportunity cost of distance running is a to-do list left undone. In an over-scheduled life, that is a difficult, but necessary, luxury.

Copyright 2013 by Katie Bradshaw

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