Yes. I love that Proclaimers’ song. It’s catchy and really gets me going.
But that’s not the point.
At the beginning of 2018, I was a little frustrated. I was back from my hip flexor injury in the technical sense, but I saw no improvements in my running. Some of it was my own fault: I’m notorious for not drinking enough water, skipping speed work, and neglecting cross training. I’m not an elite athlete, a professional, or anything remotely close, so it’s not like my improvements or lack thereof meant anything to anyone besides myself.
But it’s still nice to achieve goals and see some tangible results.
With that said, I had mostly convinced myself that I was ok with the status quo. But something still chafed at the back of my brain.
I decided that I was going to run 1,000 miles in 2018.
Is it a lot? Maybe to some, not so much to others. To me, it was huge. Overwhelming. Daunting, even. Almost 165 miles more than in 2017, it would require me to really focus on a training plan and getting in the distance.
To hit exactly 1000, I had to plan for 83.33 miles per month. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of the blistering Florida summer, or in the midst of hurricane season. Whether I was sore or sick (within reason), tired or unmotivated, I needed to log time on the road.
Things started well enough in January. I completed about 81 miles, and felt great about that, considering we had gone on a family ski vacation and lost about a week of running time. I had a few small races, too, and the enthusiasm of the new year made the world feel like my oyster.
In February, the Daytona Half Marathon and several Run DONNA events pushed me over the 100 mark. I loved knowing that I had run 104 miles. I was strong and in charge of the future of this challenge.
Towards the end, I did get a little obsessive. November and December were lean months, never yielding mileage out of the 60s. I can blame the holidays, the weather and an illness that kept me off the road for about a week, and then too drained to do much more for a few days after that, but I was able to rally to finish strong.
How did my running change?
Instead of “short” weekly runs in the three to four mile range, regular runs ended up being anywhere from six to eight miles at a time. Weekend long runs varied, but never felt particularly draining because I was running so much more during the week. An old goal of always feeling “half-marathon ready” was realized. At any given time during 2018, I could have toed the start line of a half and completed a reasonable race.
Prior to starting this challenge, I shied away from running back-to-back days. My body didn’t take kindly to it and if I did it too often, I would experience nasty aches. With the increased running, if I had to go out on consecutive days, it was no longer a huge deal.
My body changed. I don’t want to say I lost weight because I don’t own a scale, but there is so much more muscle definition in my legs, especially above the knees, and I went down a size in clothing. I also went up a notch in confidence and started dressing a little bit more for my body, rather than what I thought my body looked like. My cross-training was spotty again this year, so I won’t give too much credit to gym time, so I attribute a lot of this to the extra miles.
Overall, I felt in much better shape. I’m not as tired and also, not as hungry. I do still enjoy a good power nap but I’m also able to get out and go go go. Whether it’s just regular errands, taking on a new activity or just getting out to explore, I don’t feel my energy or enthusiasm waning.
I finally met and exceeded a running goal! It can get discouraging to fall short time after time, but in 2018, I logged 1,0o05 miles and went beyond what I said I would do. It required patience, staying on track for 365 days and constantly keeping the target in sight, but being able to say “I did this!” is one of the greatest feelings.
I didn’t necessarily get faster, nor did I worry too much about my pace. I went with the philosophy that a mile is a mile is a mile, and listened to my body. On race days, I pushed but for regular training, I just went with the flow. One thing at a time.
Most of all, I have grown to really appreciate the sport of running. It’s been both therapy and social time, as well as a vehicle for work and creativity. Since I started, I’ve always enjoyed it, but after this past year, it has given so much to me and my well being.
For 2019, I signed up with Run The Edge for the Run The Year 2019 Challenge. The goal is to go one step further and complete 1,019 miles on my own, and 2019 with my running partner S. I think we can do it!
I’m already synced up with the online tracker, but can’t wait for my package to arrive, so I can start checking off miles on the poster and earning pieces of that medal!
(If you are interested in signing up as well, you can save $3 on your registration with my referral link!)
What goals are you reaching for this year?
Do you set mileage goals for yourself and your running?