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.
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.
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.