My Three Thousand Mile YearPosted on December 31st, 2009
Actually, it was 2970 miles. A slight calf pull at the beginning of December kept me from running the sixty-plus mile weeks that I needed to reach 3000 by January 1.
If one were to string the past 52 weeks worth of runs end to end, it would be the equivalent of running across America. It makes me wonder what it would be like to run or bicycle across this country: to watch the terrain change from hardwood forests to the grasslands, the desert, and eventually the Mediterranean climate of southern California.
While I have contemplated such a journey, it has never been a goal of mine, any more than running the equivalent mileage was. Looking back at my diary, my goals for 2009 were to stay healthy, enjoy running, and jump into a half marathon or two.
Since I turned fifty, my physical therapist, Ian Chapple, has ribbed me about running my age in mileage each week. This was the first year that I not only met that goal: I exceeded it.
What has kept me running for close to fourteen years is the variety the sport offers those who partake in it. In my earlier years, I enjoyed competing, partly because I was able to place within the top three or four runners in my age group at local races.
But age and injuries have taken their toll. At 53, I realize that my PRs are behind me. I will never again be a fast runner, nor a particularly graceful one.
Still, running remains a tremendously important part of my life. I run six days a week, year round, with a day off each week for good behavior. I try, as much as possible, not to let travel or other events in my life break that pattern.
It isn’t easy. When I go on a media preview, I get out of bed two-to-three hours ahead of my colleagues so I can run. There have been many mornings when I wonder when this insanity will break its extended hold on me.
Ultimately, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice. I watched the city lights of Portland reflected in the river when I ran before sunrise one October morning, saw the sun rise over the San Diego skyline from Spanish Landing Park, smelled the roses in Ault Park in Cincinnati, and gave lots of dogs in my Phoenix neighborhood somebody to bark at.
I ran the morning I found out about my mother’s cancer, the day she died, and the day of her funeral. Running enabled me to deliver the eulogy I had written for her without crying.
My husband and I ran together the morning of our tenth wedding anniversary. We met at the start of a 10K race in Tucson. Running remains part of the fabric of our marriage: one of many sports we share a passion for.
Christmas morning, I did my annual ten-mile trail run in Cactus Forest National Monument, just outside of Tucson. I happen to think that the trails in the monument are some of the prettiest in the country. Running them seems an appropriate way to begin a holiday that celebrates birth, hope and redemption.
I plan to begin 2010 with a run. My goal, once again, is modest: to run often, stay healthy, and take the occasional break to look at my surroundings with the unique perspective running brings to them.
December 31, 2009
2 responses to “My Three Thousand Mile Year”
Mary Dier January 1st, 2010 at 06:54
Thank you for the article, sent to me by a friend. I am heading out the door in 1/2 hour to run in the rain. The best way I know to begin 2010, new year, new beginnings. While I don’t think I’ll get to 2970 miles this year, I will accumulate mileage. Two days ago I went over 200 miles in just over 2 months. Something I’ve never done before. Best wishes in 2010 and happy running Nina!
I am going to start training for a local marathon and I am using a program developed by Marrius Bakken. It’s a really good system, I am just throwing it out there for those who are interested in a good system.
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