Running Glendale Again in 2014 – It will be good for you!
From Glendale Zip Code 91020 to Glendale Zip Code 91205
About ten years ago I started a journey to try to run all 360 miles of Glendale. It was a personal project to see if I could increase my stamina and improve some of my vital statistics like lowering my blood pressure, and reduce my cholesterol. I was already in my fifties and if my knees held up, I could probably finish the project in less than a year. But after three months, the project seemed too risky.
Not only was traffic the problem, I evaded cars, waited for traffic signals to turn, avoided tripping on broken sidewalks, avoided the fumes from smokers next to retail stores, and huffed and puffed my way up some very steep hills. But I stopped short of my goal. I really had to take a safer more predictable approach. I started running a safe flat route, not by the mile, but by the minute. Fifteen minutes per day for a couple of months, then twenty minutes, for another month and extending it by ten minutes every six weeks or so.
What kept me on this project was the desire to keep on dancing and avoid the EMS truck. Though I do not smoke, I wanted to avoid the dire statistics that Glendale is known for in medical circles.
Take Montrose/La Crescenta – Zip 91020 it is meaningful to nine thousand residents who make it their home. What is statistically meaningful is that it had one of the highest hospitalization of rates in the greater Glendale/La Crescenta area in calendar year 2010.
Out of a population of a population of 9,170 a whopping 630 made a trip to the hospital that calendar year due to heart failure. According to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, only the Mariposa district in South Central Glendale had more trips tallied to the emergency hospital. 651 people made that fateful trip in an ambulance.
But the Mariposa neighborhood (91205) has a population four times larger. These hospitalizations due to cardiovascular decease are impacted by a relatively high aging population where people over 65 make up nearly 15% of the population. Still, the goal to create healthy cities should involve the creation of safe places to walk, run, and bike, a deficiency too common in many Glendale neighborhoods.
Still, irrespective of insufficient facilities or relatively few city programs that promote health, there is something that able-bodied adults can commit to doing – Start walking. Then start running. The goal: thirty minutes per day every day – without fail. The results can be quite impressive.
I checked with my doctor at Kaiser on West Glenoaks Blvd, had a stress test, then got an ok to start my long-term project. What I discovered is that just about anyone with good knees could do it. Today, I run six miles several times per week in just a little over 50 minutes and with just a few changes in my diet the pounds dropped off and the running became addictive.
Here is my recipe to keeping away from that emergency trip to the hospital and avoiding a ride on Chief Scoggin’s EMS fleet. Thirty minutes of brisk walking, jogging, or running. Go fifteen minutes in one direction. You’ll have to walk or run back home for another fifteen. Then keep away from white foods: White rice, white flour, bread, pasta, sugar. Cutting those carbohydrates really, really works. The results are amazing! My cholesterol dropped by over 50 points.
That’s it. No need to make life more complicated. Bring a companion or a portable music player and put some dancing music in your ears. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to outrun your grandchildren a year from now. If you want to set up a walking/running group, call me at 818.974.6374. In the meantime, keep on moving.