After reading through a few of the reports at feltron.com, I realized that I have recorded a few MickeyMetrics over the last few years.  The biggest one that stands out is that I have tracked every mile that I have run or bicycled since 25 Jan 2010. That was when I decided that I wanted to quit smoking and get healthy since I turned 35 in February of that year and was feeling about 65. The 2006 Feltron report tracked his miles run as well.

That first tracked run on 25 Jan 2010 was 3.5 miles on the treadmill with an average pace of 13:03. Prior to 2010, I ran just as much as I was required to for work (Navy), but now I run for fun and because I rarely feel worse after a run than I did before it. I've met and exceeded several running related goals since that first tracked run. 2010 saw a total of 295.4 miles run and on 14 Aug 2010 I ran my first 5k. In early 2011, I set a goal to run 1,000 miles that year. I actually ran 804 and failed miserably at reaching that goal since I had more of an idea than a plan. I did, however hit several milestones that year. 2 Jan 2011 was the first time I ran 10 miles and it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done physically. 15 Jan 2011 was the day I completed my first half-marathon. In 2012, I set the same goal: run 1,000 miles, but I actually created a plan. That plan resulted in 1,025 miles run that year. A lot of those miles were less fun and more grind, but I refused to miss my goal again. In 2013, 712.4 miles were run and so far in 2014 I've only run 184.4 miles, but as the running miles have decreased the bicycling miles have increased (813.9 miles so far in 2014) and paces have sped up considerably.

Another item I found interesting in his data was from 2007 and is contained in the average day numbers. He averaged 1.7 cups of coffee and 2.7 alcoholic drinks per day. I've never tracked any data for these in my life, but there was a season in my life around 2003-2004 that I epitomized the idea of "Naval Aviation Breakfast" that consists of coffee and cigarettes. I added to that a lunch of Mountain Dew and more cigarettes, followed by more coffee and cigarettes. I didn't drink much alcohol during that season, but I'd be very interested to see data on the amount of coffee and number of cigarettes consumed. I'd like to think that if that data had been available to me at the time that it would have hastened my lifestyle changes, but it's hard to say. That was one of the busiest work times of my life that saw me spending 18-20 hours a day at work and mostly 7 days a week for about a year and a half. This is why people say that 20 years in the military can be as hard on you as 40 years anywhere else.

My experience with tracking all of my running and cycling through the Runkeeper app (www.runkeeper.com) has taught me that seeing black and white data that you have personally documented can definitely change your behavior. Sharing that data real time with friends and family can also shape your behavior. It's easy to think you have done more than you actually have when you don't have data to quantify it. I can't say that I'm too interested in branching out my personal data acquisition beyond what I already do, but it is rewarding to be able to look back at almost 5 years worth of data to see where I came from and how far along to where I want to be.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

so it seems as if "the numbers" offer several advantages: they perhaps serve as motivation, they keep you honest, and they provide validation as well (?) Not enough in and of themselves, of course, but they seem to play a crucial role nonetheless. I wonder if numbers are more persuasive than words in some cases, even when we know the topic well -- such as ourselves! We learn to "keep track" of ourselves, with numbers lending themselves well to competing, which is a core value. You've brought up a lot of interesting possibilities to think about -- thank you! (and your achievements sound very impressive!)