Forward: Run Goals Unlocked

Normally around this time of year, I find myself in a state of contemplation, reflecting on the year behind me. I thought I’d post a summary or two about 2015 running and cycling, but when I sat down to write, it didn’t work.

This year I devoted a lot of time to “big thoughts,” sad thoughts, fears. I reflected on how I can do things now that I may not be able to do in the future. I thought about how good health is a gift that can only be maintained and managed to a certain point, and then an event will happen to remind us that nothing is a fountain of youth.

I mulled these thoughts in my head whenever space opened up for them, and eventually they began to paralyze me. Aging and sickness are organic, but even so, I came to fear them both this year.

Worry about the unknown overwhelmed me. It was all I felt I should think about, as if this would somehow better prepare me for the unknown that lies ahead, and I needed to do my worrying indoors, in a seated position.

Slowly, I’m emerging from my funk about this, and trying to accept that the unknown is always there. Constant thinking about it won’t change it.

After considering the notion that nothing is in my control, what with the unknown being able to strike a blow at any time, I’m coming back around to the idea that certain things are within my control, especially if I take the short-term view.

Running

A week after I wrote my post about my 2015 mileage totals I realized that, with a little pushing (50 miles in 7 days), I could achieve 1,000 running miles for the year as well as over 6,000 cycling miles. So I’ve been going for it.

I went for it because I couldn’t sit down and think and write about the last 12 months. It had its good parts, and I wrote about them on this blog.

I went for it because I needed to prove to myself that I could keep moving forward both physically and mentally, and I also took it on as a mind-cleansing exercise.

One of the best ways to level out my head is through running. Time on the bike does this somewhat, too, but not like running. With running, my mind quiets quickly.

Running by the Lincoln

In the last four days, I have run 45 miles and I’m only 4 miles short of my end-of-year goal, with two days to go. That’s not a lot for some, but it’s big running miles for me.

Tomorrow I meet my goal. 1,000 miles. I didn’t think I could do it, but I proved myself wrong and I’m quite excited to have done so.

The goal I set required commitment, since this is far above what I normally run on a weekly basis, and that left little room for worry about all that occupied my mind this last year.

The physical effort produced a meditative state where worries and fears transformed into thoughts among many other thoughts floating in my mind. And if I ran long enough, my mind cleared. I moved with my body, listened to my tunes, and heard the rhythmic drop of my feet on the pavement.

My worries are not behind me, but they are slowly being put into context. I can’t let them trap me. I need to look ahead and keep moving forward.

See you out there.

11 thoughts on “Forward: Run Goals Unlocked

  1. Running, as hard as it is to do, is much more about the head than the body. It’s been 25 years since my knees went all Roberto Duran on me (No mas!) and I still miss it. This post reminded me of how much. 1,000/6,000 is laudable, but it is a lot of wear and tear on the body. Beware junk miles, miles for miles sake. Better to find new places to explore and enjoy. That said, avoid pig farms. Cheers.

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    1. I do know what you are saying regarding the junk miles. I was going to add something about how this approach is in great violation of the 10 percent rule, but I couldn’t make it fit! Also, I realized that doing this is not about the 10 percent rule or training, so I’m doing it in a way that is easy on my body and taking breaks for photos, as you can see.

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      1. I used to run 70 miles per week. I found out that I was faster and stronger at 60 so 10 were junk miles. Just something to guard against. Of course, I refrained from jumping….

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  2. Congratulation son meeting your goal. You deserve a rest in January! As for the other things…letting go is difficult on many fronts, especially things that are beyond our control. The best advice I can give is to find that place that gives you comfort, and it sounds like running is that place. All the best in 2016.

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  3. There is something here that I (and probably others, I’d say) find I am able to identify with easily. I’m not a runner – for many reasons – but I have great respect for those who put in the mileage and who find it an activity that allows them to clear their minds.

    What I find I’m drawn to is the reality that there are fears that sometimes overtake me, and while I don’t want them to rule my life, there are days/weeks (dare I say months) during which I can’t help but feel as though I have no control whatsoever. I think aging has been something that has popped up this year for me and while I still believe I am a child at heart, I know that the lines on my face and the injuries that don’t heal quite as quickly as they would’ve in the past are telling a different story. I think I’ve realized, as you have, that I can’t worry about the things of which I have no control. If I continue to spend so much time on them then I’m losing out on some of the things that make me happy. It doesn’t mean that the thoughts or fears go away completely, but finding a place/activity that allows some release seems to be helpful.

    I was in a kickboxing class several days ago and we were partnered up on a bag. Our instructions were (one at a time) to hit the bag as hard as we could for 30 seconds and then switch out. I happened to have a companion who was relatively new and we didn’t really know each other. When she saw me hit the bag, she was a bit taken aback. “You can really make that bag move!” she exclaimed, to which I could only smile. I finally responded, “You know, this is where I take out all of my anger.” She retorted, “You must be a really angry person.” I couldn’t help but laugh. No, I’m not a really angry person, but I have frustrating moments, and when we were done I made the realization that it’s rarely anger that I’m using as my motivation, but rather fear – of many things. Fear of failure, fear of being unable to do the things I enjoy, fear of being a bad person – or maybe it’s more that I worry I’m not as good as I should be, fear of losing life before I’ve had the opportunity to do everything I’d like to accomplish.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’m working on fighting my own demons and I think it’s just part of the journey of life. If we had nothing to work on, what would be the point?

    Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished this year! I hope you take a bit of time to appreciate what you have been able to do and know that you are someone many of us look up to as an example of who we hope to be. Best wishes for an outstanding 2016, MG!

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    1. Thanks for your note, G.E. Both of my parents have had serious health events in the last two years, and it really made me ponder the progression of time. It’s so natural, as I said in the post, but difficult to confront all the same. I’m glad something worked inside me to get me out of my semi-frozen state and moving forward again. My friends and husband helped, too. One up-side is that, when I’ve wrestled with my fears and they subside somewhat, I appreciate the carefree times. Happy New Year, and I look forward to continuing to read your excellent blog posts!

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  4. Congrats on reaching your goal! I am doing something similar– 2016 miles in 2016. But that will include running and walking (I walk a lot as it is as part of city life/my commute). It is going to be a reach goal for me, but I am excited to try it. Happy New Year!

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