January 1, 2016
It was clear and cold; twenty-eight degrees to be exact. A slight headache reminded me I had done some drinking the night prior. I crawled out of bed and into the living room, tiptoeing around a trail of french fries, hamburger wrappers, and two twenty-something boys sleeping, respectively on the floor and couch.
I laced my shoes, pulled back my hair, and hit the pavement. I darted through the crisp winter air, watching my breath dissapear. I crossed the Ballard Bridge, at which point I opted to turn home. Apple Watch told me a steady six miles was the perfect way to ring in 2016, and kick this hangover to the curb.
Back home, for reasons I myself cannot understand, I drew up a challenge: I would run 1,000 miles over the course of the 364 days to follow.
Quick math told me this amounted to less than three miles per day, with a little give and take. Nonetheless, it seemed attainable. I was committed.
I pushed through the winter months, diligently logging my 3-4 miles, as frequently as I could manage. The days were short and the rays of sunshine were far and few between. There was rain, which meant cotton t-shirts stuck to my ribs and a wet ponytail whipping my back with each stride. There was cold, which made for numb fingers, chapped lips and frozen toes. Spring brought with it, longer days, which in turn, allowed for longer runs.
Soon, my evening had transformed from something of a chore, to the reward at the end of each day. I craved those thirty to sixty minutes, alone on the road; just me and my music. Sometimes, I worried incessantly; other times, I made plans. Often, I daydreamed. Mostly, I cleared my head entirely, escaping from anything and everything that had exhausted me throughout the day. Always, I enjoyed myself; so much so, that in the month of May, I logged more than 100 miles, with ease.
While my passion for the sport grew exponentially, my preoccupation with keeping track of the miles, simultaneously subsided. Some days, I simply ran until I grew tired, and hopped on the bus home.
At this point, I’ve lost count entirely, and quite frankly, don’t care. As I prepare for my second half marathon in six months time, I have to imagine I will come close to, or perhaps surpass, my goal by year’s end.
But I suppose I’ll never truly know, and I suppose I’m just fine with that.
And perhaps, in the end, this little experiment serves merely as another reminder that we are far too often preoccupied with the notion of “being somewhere”, whether it be a mark, a person, a place, a job; that we seldom allow ourselves to enjoy the process of actually getting there. And when we do, we might just realize, that being there is not all it’s cracked up to be; but in fact, true plesaure lies in appreciating the moments along the way.