Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twelve Hundred Miles

May 11, 2014, four months and twelve days into the year, I had run a total of 34 times.  Since my running schedule is run three days, take one day off, then repeat, I was 74 runs behind.

I haven't achieved my annual mileage goal of twelve hundred miles in a number of years.  In my 34 runs, I had accumulated only 186.6 miles.  I was almost 250 miles behind.  

Seventy-four runs and two hundred fifty miles behind.  There have been years when I would have looked at numbers like that and retired my goal of twelve hundred miles with the less than inspiring thought, I'll do it next year.

I didn't do that this year, nor did I kid myself and say I could catch up.  I did something else.  I made a commitment to run every day from that day forward.  I knew that at some point the day job schedule would grab me.  I knew that there would be days when it rained, hell, days when it stormed.  I even suspected, on May 12th, that there would be some cold days before the year was over, though that's hard to imagine in Alabama in the spring.

What happened after I made the commitment surprised me.  I had the longest unbroken steak of running in my thirty-six years as a runner.  For five months I didn't miss a single scheduled run, not one, even though there was more than one that I only ran my minimum of two miles and there were a few days that I was so slow I needed a calendar instead of a watch to time them.  And yes, there were a few that involved what we call "frog strangler" storms, and there were some that took place on nights when the temperature was in the low twenties.

Yes, I did miss a few runs in October and November.  On those days I thought of Vince Lombardi saying, "The only way I can reconcile a loss is if I know that if we had played long enough we would have won," and I was reconciled to the knowledge that if there had been one or two more hours tacked on to those "missed days," I would have run.

Then, early in December a funny thing happened.  I looked at my miles, counted the running days left in the month, did some calculations and realized that if I ran "the big loop" (7.4 miles) every day for the rest of the month, I would, despite my pitiful start, run twelve hundred miles this year.

Tonight, December 30th, is my last scheduled running night of the year.  Sometime between 8:30 and midnight (central time), I'll spend 109 to 111 minutes of my life running the big loop.  Back home I will post my log.  When I finish that, my total miles for the year will show that I have run 1,200.1 miles in 2014.

I know, a lot of people will run many more miles in 2014 than that.  And I know that had I made my commitment earlier in the year my total would have been well over 2,000 miles.  But what I could have done and what other people did do have nothing to do with what happened, so I'm not concerned about either of those things.

Make a commitment.  Keep it.

Happy New Year...