Up till this time last year I had noticed that my shoes - I usually was using two pair in alternation, bought 2-3 months apart - were lasting 6-9 months before the soles wore through in spots to inner layers. That was the point where I replaced them. I joined the gym and started mainly using a treadmill at the end of last year. My two current pair of shoes were bought in April and July of this year. Neither show signs of significant wear in the soles, despite 2-5 miles a day on treadmills plus two half marathons between them. Evidently the treadmill belt is considerably less wearing than concrete sidewalks. With my usage pattern this fact could save $50-$100 year in shoe costs! This is something I did not think of a year ago when I joined the gym.
About 6 weeks ago I walked in the San Jose Half Marathon, for the second time. I'm happy to say that my time over the same course as last year was 20 minutes faster! A good improvement! I'm so far from the league of competitive runners that my standings vs. otherrunners doesn't much matter to me. What I'm "competing" against is myself - being able to finish, improving from previous performance. All in all, I was very happy with how I did (as well as very tired). But that exhileration is not something that lasts - just like most/all accomplishments in life. The moment passes, the consequences play out and become background - normal. Human minds most easily "see" immediate things, that which we are currently living or have just experienced. But true long-lasting joys are found in things that last - people who live long lifetimes and eternal things.