Fully seven months into the year, I haven’t yet given up on the run. (For first-time readers, I’ve committed to making a virtual run from my home in Pennsylvania to Toronto, Canada, a total of about 450 miles, this calendar year.) I’m on track to make it to my destination – sort of – by the end of December. In fact, I’ll probably overshoot it to some degree. All of this defies any rational explanation since my running history up until about a year ago was non-existent and my form, style and ability as a runner are not only severely limited, they too, are basically non-existent.
So where am I? As of the end of July, I was somewhere in the neighborhood of Smith’s Corner, NY, approximately 288 miles from home. In case you haven’t been there, Smith’s Corner is near Griffith Corners, NY. It’s also just more than eight miles from Frink’s Corner, NY. And, why yes, it’s just about ten miles from Plants Corner, NY. What exactly makes up all these corners and what they’re on the corner of is beyond me but they sound charming, don’t they? Wasn’t the name of the place in ‘Our Town’ a corner??? Grover’s Corner, maybe? I love the Americana, the small town charm, the Andy-of- Mayberry of it all.
I also learned that there are no less than seven mobile home parks in the area. I’m not sure if these corners and the nearly housing developments are related.
All I can say for myself is that I really can’t give it up now and I don’t think I will. I’m more than halfway in every way!!! Only five months left to the end of the year with only 161 miles left to go. That sounds so reasonable. Although even imagining that sounds like a reasonable distance and a reasonable amount of time still sounds unreasonable to (non-runner) me.
I’ve tried to figure out why this seems to be the time of my life when I’ve finally committed to running for fitness and health. The expected answers don’t quite get to the truth of the matter. Sure, I want a healthier cholesterol level and a reasonable blood pressure reading. I want to avoid the diabetes that my mother encountered in her fifties and has lived with for the past thirty years. I want to lose some weight (always.) But none of those goals or reasons are particularly new.
No, the more the miles add up, the more I realize the purpose for this year’s run. Although to be honest, the purpose behind it is an illusion, really: An illusion of control. More and more, it feels like there is so little I can control in my life. Even more disturbing: could I ever? Was it all an illusion?
But this is true: I do control the numbers I put on my running log. I control the intensity of the run. To a large degree, I control the frequency and the distance of each run. I say “to a large degree” because even when I say I’m going to quit, I never do; and I almost always make the minimum I’ve set for myself for that day. I’m largely in control of my own mind as I rack up the miles and stay committed to this number and virtual trip.
And thank God for it. Control over my running feels like all I have these days.
More on this – on a related but different topic – to come.