This picture has been hanging on my refrigerator since January 2015. After getting to 700 annual running miles twice (in 2012 and 2014), I stretched my goal for 2015 by 100 miles, to 800. Running 15.4 miles a week isn’t that much.
I was on track, through March of that year. I even managed to get some miles in while I was a chaperone on Katie’s school trip to Sonora Science Camp in February. I got up in the dark before the girls were awake and ran laps around the campus, not wanting to venture too far because who knew what wild animals I might encounter beyond the safe circle of light of the grounds.
But a health issue in March of 2015 derailed my goal, put an abrupt end to my running. After a night in the ER and another in the hospital, I ended up taking a month off to heal and begin the long road back to where I had been.
While I gave myself time to get better, other interests blossomed. I took up painting and drawing, and even took some art classes at Clovis Adult School.
I did return to running, and even ran my first half marathon in three years in 2015 — the Big Sur Half Marathon at Monterey Bay, the weekend of my 49th birthday. I ended up with 650 miles in 2015. And 650 miles in 2016 too.
This January, I set a modest goal to get to 750. But the picture of the 800-mile goal had never come off the fridge.
I run every day, at least a mile. Slowly the miles add up. Through all of 2017, I was on pace not only to exceed 750, but to reach the elusive 800 — “barring any health issues or injuries.” I always give a nod to those two factors, not wanting to jinx my progress again.
A few times, I’ve gotten close to the end of a year, evaluated where I am and decided to push hard at the end to reach a milestone point. Nine years ago was the first time I tried to get to 500 miles. And I ran a ridiculous number of miles in December to achieve that goal.
This year, I didn’t have to do anything ridiculous to get to where I am. I just had to keep steady progress each day, each week, each month and keep an eye on the target.
This past week, the worst cold I’ve had in years did make hitting 800 a little more challenging at the end. But I still ran at least a mile a day, chipping away at the goal.
Today, I finished with my two usual running buddies, Beth Bridges and Brett Taylor. While we were out on the trail, we ran into my brother, Mark, and his friend, Dion Doshier.
I had some other accomplishments this year. For the second time, I surpassed 400 consecutive running days. I’ve started to learn a new language. I sold my first painting.
But today I am savoring reaching 800 miles for the first time. Let’s see what next year brings.