Before I start this post, I just wanted to highlight an anonymous comment on my posting of Wednesday 5th March, where I was bemoaning the fact that I never appear in myRace magazine. According to the man (or perhaps woman) who didn't even have the b*lls to leave his (or her) name, "the truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.” I'm not 100% sure what this actually means, or how it relates to my posting, but as I am just about to write something that will inevitably sound arrogant I just thought I would mention it upfront. And if I could take this chance to pass on my own words of wisdom to the anonymous poster: "to leave abusive anonymous comments on someone's blog is the act of an ignorant tosser".
Anyway, to my story. I'm trying to take out an insurance policy at the moment, and the insurers insisted that I go for a medical before they were prepared to take me on to their books. After arriving at the hospital I had to have the few hairs on my chest shaved (and it is still itchy - glad I don't need to shave my legs on a regular basis), and various devices stuck to my chest. I then had to walk at what was described as a brisk pace on the treadmill for 9 minutes while my heart rate and various other things were recorded.
It wasn't particularly difficult. After 9 minutes the lady doing the test looked at her readings and asked me if I would mind doing a further 3 minutes at a much higher setting. That was no great problem, although I did sweat a bit more at the higher tempo. I then had to lie still for a few minutes while various other readings were taken.
After about 10 minutes I was called through to see the consultant to discuss the results. My resting pulse had been measured at 40, which he described as 'remarkable'. He also told me that one of their standard tests was to measure the time it took for the heart rate to return to 100 after the initial 9 minutes of walking. In my case my heart rate hadn't ever reached 100 - the maximum it had reached was 92 - which was why I had been asked to do the extra 3 minutes at the higher setting. Even then it returned to 100 within 50 seconds, a result that the consultant described as 'amazing'.
My point here is not to highlight how wonderful I am - which I am sure you all know anyway, including Mr (or Mrs) Anonymous - but to point out what a difference running makes to our level of fitness. We all know this intuitively, but it is very reassuring to have it confirmed by an objective fitness test. So the message is clear. Keep running - it's good for you. And if you take out an insurance policy, ask for a discount in the premium to reflect your considerably higher level of fitness (and consequently lower level of risk to the insurance company) than Mr and Mrs Average. They will almost certainly refuse, but it will give you a great chance to brag to someone else about how fit you are :)