It crossed my mind this time last year, but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. I knew the math should work, but life can be unpredictable. So I set the idea aside and instead decided that in 2012 my goal for running was to simply enjoy it. No pressure for PR’s (personal records), no distance calendars to follow, no ignoring warning signs of injury that might slow me down. Instead, I would enjoy the moment, listen to my body, run fast when I wanted to, run slow when I wanted to, and use the time to digest my thoughts and let ideas percolate.
I was caught a little off guard when I received the email from my
RunKeeper app that I reached 1,000 miles this past year. Wow. In
1,000 miles I could have run to Eugene, Oregon...to Las Vegas- ONE AND A
HALF TIMES...or to the Grand Canyon- AND BACK. A thousand miles is a
long way, with nothing but my own two feet, the discipline and will to
move them, and some favorite music as a soundtrack to life.
I didn’t have to travel 1,000 miles away to have the experience of a
lifetime. Some of those miles were in the pouring rain, some in extreme
heat; most in total darkness, some in silvery moonlight, most at
sunrise, and many at moonset. There were hills that challenged and
rewarded me. There were times when I felt weightless and carried by the
wind, and times when I felt like I was running backwards in molasses.
But most of the time I felt an indescribable inner peace. I
consciously tried to run with my senses, varying my path to experience
different sights, sounds, smells and textures. I saw raccoons, coyotes,
bunnies and owls...and wildlife of another kind with a police chase,
broken into cars, and the aftermath of recent accidents along my path
(followed by a quick prayer of thanks that I wasn’t in that place at the
wrong time). I met new neighbors and made new friends. And there
isn’t a single run I can think of that I regret. Not one.
fact, to the contrary. My memories of running those 1,000 miles are punctuated by the satisfaction of breaking a sweat in the freezing
cold, from seeing the familiar comforts of smoke rising from a
wood-burning chimney and the sweet smell of pancakes emanating from
neighborhood homes; glorious sunrises that take my breath away and
smiling moons that prompt me to smile back; the crunch of the gravel
underfoot that reminds me that with every stride I move forward; shadows
that accompany me and sunlight that shines ethereal rays of hope that
light my path. These are the moments that make it all worth it. These
are the moments that make 1,000 miles feel like a tremendous gift rather
than a tedious chore.
my gratitude for this significant reward is made sweeter by its
unexpected timing. I have a sense of satisfaction that is hard to
calculate...so much so that I am positive that I would not have relished
this achievement had I formally planned for it- I’d be too busy
planning my next, bigger goal to celebrate. It’s just my nature. But
not today. Today I take a moment to reflect on my 1,000 mile journey,
count my blessings, recognize my supportive family, and do a little
happy dance while marveling at my thousand milestones.
And tomorrow I run again.