Fourteen point two miles into a twenty-one mile run, on October 29, I passed the one thousand mile mark for the year. It was a bit anti-climactic. Having noticed it after checking the current run’s progress on my phone, I remarked to my running companion “hey, this was it, I just passed one thousand.” He smiled in acknowledgment. “Nicely done.” We exchanged a high-five and kept going.
Not a big deal, just Sunday morning.
At home, later that day, we celebrated a bit, my wife and daughter highlighting, almost reminding me of the accomplishment. Yes, it was a goal set and a milestone achieved. On the other hand, clearly nothing in particular happened, when I crossed the thousand mile mark. There was no sense of actual arrival. Mostly, everything had already been happening, one run at a time.
Running one thousand miles, adding up the miles in varying increments, throughout the year, takes a bunch of running. That is the point — and it is also the problem. I mean this in more than one way. It is a problem to solve, not one to circumvent or avoid. That can present its own challenges.
Invariably, there are days, when it is harder to get out or keep going. There might be all kinds of reasons and maybe you tell yourself about them – the schedule, the weather, feeling a bit tired, perhaps wondering if you might be coming down with something, et cetera. Sometimes you catch yourself in a moment of raw, vulnerable honesty: You don’t feel like it.
And there you find yourself an interesting inner struggle to contend with.
I think not feeling like doing something (that you had intended to do) can be an interesting signal to examine. However, by itself it is perhaps one of the worst reasons to stop. This is where endurance and grit come in. You do it anyway, you push past not feeling like it.
Sometimes you find yourself just going through the motions. That is okay. Going through the motions is literally what you need to do to cover miles. Welcome and appreciate that struggle.
This is precisely one of the things to study in the pursuit of this type of activity.
That journey of a thousand miles famously begins with a single step. It happens day after day. In the end it will not really have been about arriving at a specific destination, but rather, about the trip and how it changed you.
When you do get there, you are not who you were, when you set out. Perhaps you discovered a taste for traveling.