I Have Run 500 Miles...
...and I will run 500 more!
Sunday I crossed the halfway mark of my 1000 Mile Challenge. The official challenge (1000milechallenge.com) does not provide start and end dates. Instead, you get to choose when you want to start your challenge and then must complete 1000 miles of running within one calendar year. I began mine on Valentine’s Day.
Just under 20 miles per week is the minimum you need to run to capture 1000 in 365 days. I’m currently averaging over 26. Given the marathon I ran in April amongst other races throughout the spring, I crossed the median of my journey well ahead of schedule. According to my calculations, Daylight Saving Time won’t have ended before I complete the challenge. I haven’t decided whether this is a good thing or not.
The end of Daylight Saving Time cues a brighter morning and a darker evening. Generally, runners prefer to go out in the morning to avoid the increasing heat of the day, but early November in Colorado tends to shepherd in a cooler climate, so mornings often come with frost. I’d much rather take to the streets and trails later in the day when temperatures are a little more forgiving. Then again, it’s Colorado. Those transitional months are when Mother Nature likes to hone her curveball.
When I finally do reach that 1000th mile, provided I get there before February 14, 2018, I’ll have earned a medal and nothing more. That is to say, nothing more of physical value. I’ll hopefully be in good physical and mental condition, but I don’t have any other good reason for attempting this challenge other than to prove I can do it. So was it worth the challenge? I think so. In the early days, I had the marathon to motivate me to run. But since then, I’ve very much enjoyed running for the gifts it gives me. Chances are I’d still be out running 4-6 times a week anyway, but when I can start putting numbers to it, the arbitrary challenge helps to fuel me as well. Sometimes to self-degrading ends.
When you start competing against numbers — your PR for a distance or a course, the number of people you can pass, the distance you can run in a given time — it’s easy to listen to the spreadsheet over your body. Finding that balance between mental motivation and physical stress is key. I’ve kept myself in good health over the last few months, and hopefully I can let the joy of running stay with me as a guide as I increase my distances again.