Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I made it. So why do I feel this way?

I've been neglectful of my running tally and the ongoing virtual journey to Toronto. The good news is it wasn’t for lack of progress. Quite the opposite. In fact, Thanksgiving Day turned out to be auspicious. It was the day I reached my goal: 450 miles on the record this year, which places me somewhere north of Ontario, Canada. That means I made it. I did it. With my usual clarity and forethought, I based this whole program on exactly nothing and completed the journey one month earlier than I had planned.

The numbers look something like this (so far):
Average mileage per month: 42.5
Average mileage per run: just under 3 miles
Average number of days run / month: slightly more than 15

I found myself looking at the number at the end of November and thinking: well, I can’t stop now, right? I can run about 49 miles in December and hit 500, right? Right? I had logged that many miles (and more) in a month already. I could do it again, this time for the big payoff; the ‘extra’ mileage I never imagined I’d be able to claim.

Well, I might. But I might not. The month started off slowly and I have another 30 miles to go before the ball drops in Times Square again. Sure, I could do it. Sure I could.

The good news is I can always fall back on my “go to” movies to make the time pass more comfortably on the treadmill. For the record, these movies make my all-time, top eleven, always watchable, always distracting list. That means I’ll stop on them, knowing them well enough to not need every word; knowing they will engage me to the point where I can disengage from the numbers that are moving way, WAY too slowly on the mileage tracker or the timer, depending on how I’m running that night:

11 The Hangover

10 The Break Up

9 Leap Year

8 Tropic Thunder

7 The Muse

6 Rudy

5 Wedding Crashers

4 Along Came Polly

3 Forgetting Sarah Marshall

2 The Princess Bride

1 Groundhog Day

Three Vince Vaughn and two Jennifer Aniston? Why not – never said I was looking for deep while I run. I can barely manage it when I’m sitting still.

The thing is: I should be celebrating this accomplishment with a little more enthusiasm than I feel right now, shouldn’t I? Maybe it’s because my right knee is starting to ache a tiny little bit. (It does, really.) Maybe it’s because I wish it all felt more effortless than it did a year ago. (It doesn’t. Really.) I think it may be because I want to feel like a runner and I don’t. I’m not even sure what that means. Or maybe – and this is closer to my typical truth about lots and lots of things in life – actually accomplishing something might just mean it couldn’t have been that hard. More positively stated, I could say that my passion lies in the journey, not in the arrival.

The support I've felt – from personal friends and blog friends - all year long has inspired me to keep it up; to keep moving; to keep believing this is not at all insane. I can’t explain the kindness of so many, who wanted to help me succeed and meet my goals. Thank you doesn’t begin to cover it but thank you. You were my virtual pace group, keeping me on the road and focused.

So here I sit, or run, as the case may be, just about 31 miles away from hitting a total of 500 for the year. I have about 15 days to do it but let’s face it: they’re in the second half of December, when I just happen to have a couple of (dozen) other things to do. So I’ll aim for a nice round 475. That’s only six more miles. And then 480. And then, well, who can’t find time for 20 miles? Honestly, who? Me, probably, but you can see where this kind of thinking has gotten me: Just 468 miles from Allentown in eleven short months.

Who would’ve believed it? Certainly not I.

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