Why I drive around parking lots


Do you jog around the block at the end of a run to get your mileage to match a nice round number?

If you’re one of those people whose Strava cards end up looking like a tornado because you had to hit X.00 (or X.03), I’ll see you. (Illustration: Brendan Leonard)

I'm not trying to say that there are two types of people in the world, but when I tell you that at the end of my runs I look at my watch and when I have run 5.89 miles I run past my house for a while and then back to get my watch to click 6.00 miles, I'm pretty sure you would have one of two answers:



If you're a runner who practices this type of behavior, you have your reasons.  If you don't, you might be thinking, “Why would someone do this?  Who cares if you run 5.89 miles instead of 6.00 miles?  Your body doesn't know the difference.  “(Also, I might as well admit that I'm actually driving 6.03 miles, since the upload between my watch and the app somehow cut off 0.01 miles a few times when I started using Strava, leaving me an additional 0.03 miles go now)

People have all kinds of different goals for their running.  Some common goals include qualifying for the Boston Marathon or the Western States Endurance Run, running a marathon in under 4 hours, or having eight toenails one day instead of ten

I only have one goal most of the time and that's a certain number of miles per week.  The number fluctuates from year to year, but is mostly based on a lot of pizza, breakfast burritos, and ice cream that I would love to eat without gaining a lot of weight.  For example, this week it's 25 miles.

I don't know about other people, but I live my life on the edge of an abyss, so to speak

On top of the cliff, I meet goals and deadlines at a healthy and fulfilling level of productivity.  But I'm a little metaphorical gust of wind that doesn't come off the cliff.

At the bottom of the cliff lives the most fallible version of me.  The top of the cliff is the version of me trying to protect my life with idiot protections to keep the fallible from taking over me




For many people, 5.89 miles is just as good as 6.00 miles.  Many people are able to have a beer and stop and / or eat a single serving of Oreos (that is,

I have come to realize over many years that I am not one of those people.  If 5.89 miles equals 6.00 miles today, 21 miles equals 25 miles by the end of the week, and pretty soon I'll be 11 miles a week and then 7 miles a week and then ...

So I have to run the last .11 miles or .14 or .37 or whatever, even if it comes to the trailhead parking lot or my block while my neighbors look at me and scratch their heads.  At least that's how I tell myself.

I am fully aware that it's ridiculous, but it works well when no one is chasing you when you think about it.  So pick up heavy things and put them where you picked them up and ride a bike that goes nowhere.  It's all ridiculous and we are all ridiculous.  It's just a personal preference of what we are ridiculing.


But if you're one of those people whose Strava cards end up looking like a tornado because you had to hit X.00 (or X.03), I'll see you.  And you are ridiculous.  But you are not alone.

Brendan Leonard’s new book, I Hate Running and You Can Too, is out now.

Main illustration: Brendan Leonard

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