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I’d like to think that I’m in pretty good shape for a 40 year old. In fact, I would argue that I’m in better shape now at 40 than I was at 20.  I feel I owe a large part of that to running.  I wasn’t in bad shape when I started running 18 months ago, but I certainly wasn’t in the shape I am now.  As soon as I started running regularly (25 – 35 miles per week) nearly 30 lbs and a 5% body fat disappeared like magic.

As great as running has been though, it does beat up the body, especially if you run 2 marathons in 2 weeks.

After  the Providence marathon my legs were worn out, particularly my right knee.   So I took 2 weeks and self-rehabbed by laying off the running.  I tried to keep up my cardio health by hopping on the elliptical or swimming laps, and I think I pretty much succeeded.  That said, I noticed both in the mirror and on the scale, that I was getting a little soft around the edges. It wasn’t a lot, and I’m pretty sure nobody noticed but me.  I was a little surprised in that I felt that I was doing a pretty good job of maintaining activity and effort.  Still, the scale over those two weeks jumped 10 pounds, so I was obviously not working as hard.

This week I started running again.  On Monday I went out for an easy 7 miler and on Wednesday I went out for a hard 5 miler in 92° heat.  Nothing unusual about that, I know.  But this is where I become ever more convinced of the tremendous power of running.  Since Monday, half the weight gain has disappeared and when I looked in the mirror this morning when I got up, the figure I saw standing before me was a lot more focused.  The softness was gone.  2 days of running and I can feel and see the difference.

That’s the power of running.

I know that swimming is supposed to be the best overall exercise for your body and that the elliptical is supposed to be much better for your knees, but I am more convinced than ever that the closest thing to a miracle pill is running.

It just works.

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