An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Chasing a number.

I'm coming up on 1000 miles running for the year. Five million two hundred eighty thousand yards. Fifteen million eight hundred forty thousand feet. Running. Does that sound impressive? I hope not.

For many, that's probably only three months' worth, or maybe even less. It's not that I think that this mileage number is so huge -- it's not. In fact, I remember even in high school being in the "700 mile club", where we logged 700 miles in the time between the end of cross country season and the beginning of track season.

No, I don't think that 1000 miles in a year is such a huge accomplishment.

But it IS a nice round number, and since I'm so close, it's become a little bit of an obsession. Yeah, another obsession. I need one of those like I need (another) hole in the head.

It's been a real joy getting to this point, though. From just two years ago thinking I wouldn't be able to run at all, to now going out for a weekend 10 (or almost 10) mile run. I'm enjoying the running more than I ever have.

With only 74 miles to go as of today, which averages out to 2.84 miles a day through the end of the year, it's pretty well in the bag, assuming I don't get injured. And that's a good thing -- I'm not going to be driving myself to do something I'm not ready for in the pursuit of some relatively meaningless number.

But how many times have I done just the opposite -- pushing myself to accomplish some some accumulation of miles, or some particular number of intervals, or some particular pace, to my own detriment? More than I care to count, that's for sure.

Sometimes it ended before I made it to the mental finish line tape, hobbling off with my head bowed, kicking myself for displaying the absolute hubris of thinking I could accomplish such a Herculean task before I was remotely ready. Sometimes I just ran out of sand in the hourglass, the day of whatever deadline passing me by, as it always will, whether I'm prepared or not.

This time, though, it crept up on me. I didn't even really notice how close I was getting until a couple weeks ago. I hadn't even looked at the yearly total. When I saw it, I thought that it was doable. I gave it a week, watching that daily-required-average slowly decrease without really having to increase my weekly mileage much at all. It still fit in with my slow increase gearing towards the half marathons next year.

I figure I'll pass that 1000 mile mark some time around Christmas. Yeah, Merry Christmas to me -- I made 1K miles in 2011. Being the only runner in the extended family, I'm sure no one will ask, and I'm not going to go around bragging about it. Unless my wife forces me to. Even then I'll just sheepishly admit that, yeah, I ran that far, and no, I'm not really crazy. At least not in the clinical sense.

And I'm sure I'll pass that mark well before this date next year.

May all your mileposts pass as easily.

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