Archive for January, 2014

More Than A Number

Posted: January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

It seems like an annual tradition this time of year, all of the runners, triathletes, and swimmers post their yearly miles on social media, seeming to a lot of people to be bragging about their accomplishments, and their dedication to their respective sports, but there is so much more to those numbers than I think many people realize.  To the casual onlooker, who is not as into an endurance sport, it can feel like maybe the purpose is to “fit-shame” (a term I really can’t stand and is honestly somewhat ridiculous) or make ourselves feel better about ourselves or glorify what we have done.  However, that could not be farther from the truth.  Each one of those miles represents something different, and for nearly every athlete I know, each mile represents something they learned about themselves and something that made them feel like they were growing as a person.  So those miles in those simple little posts are actually telling a story about that person that is completely unique in every way.

When I conservatively add in treadmill miles, I ran 2005 miles this year, a little over a hundred miles less than the year before, but I can honestly say that every one of those miles made me a better person, and taught or reminded me of an important lesson about myself.  My miles this year were hard, and I had to fight through a lot of mental and physical barriers for many of them, so I have been even more diligent than usual to take those things I learned into my life off the trail in an effort to use those lessons to make me a better person.  So, rather than just give a number this year, I am going to break those numbers into the most important lessons I learned as a result of the miles I had run up that point. 

  • 200 miles to learn that finishing what we set out to do, and not giving in no matter how long it takes fills your soul in a way that nothing else can.  Moreover, the most difficult journeys are often the ones we learn the most from as long as we leave our minds open to the full experience. 
  • 1,052 miles and I remember what it’s like to run free, what it feels like to be able to let go of the things I had historically been running from in my head and in my past, and know that I was running with the sole purpose of connecting with myself, the world around me, and my friends around me.
  • 1,164 miles and I remember where it gets us when we let self-doubt, and excuses build up in our minds as well as the toxic effect it can have on our experiences and abilities. But I also found that when you let the people who care about you know how you feel, they can and almost always will help you shake it off and when that happens, no matter how low you sink, you can rise up higher than ever.
  • 1,300 miles to remember that no matter how hard we work, and no matter how hard we try, sometimes everyone fails and that the failures are less important than the knowledge that we never lost our souls, or our integrity when looking the possibility of not reaching a goal in the face.  After all, its not about the destination, it’s how we get there that really matters.
  • 1,550 miles and I realize that everything we do truly connects us with our world.  The walls of every canyon and the spires of every mountain, the fish in every stream, and the animals in every forest and desert are our brothers and our sisters and if we listen hard enough, we can reconnect with them.  We are not separate from the Earth, or its other inhabitants, nor are we better than them, we are just different and the world is just waiting for us to open our eyes and see that truth again.
  • 2,005 miles, and I feel like I have come full circle.  As I ran the last miles of 2013 through the City of Aurora, Colorado I find myself on the other side of the pain I felt when I tried to run for times, and for external rewards.  As this year wraps up, the miles I have run taught me that if we listen to our hearts, and our bodies, we can set aside all of the negativity we encounter in the world and do unbelievable things. 

So, here’s to 2014, and another amazing year of miles and lessons learned!  Cheers, and Happy New Years!