I finished 2012 with just over 1,400 miles run. I was hoping for somewhat more (and had planned to kick in a bunch of miles this week), but flu and cold weather conspired against me. So, this past week, instead of the 40-50 that had been planned, I got in 4. That's right, 4 miles. And I didn't do anything else. I was sick as hell, with cold and hot spells, muscle and joint aches, a cough, headache, and lots of clammy sweat. Thankfully I had no stomach issues. But I couldn't even get my swim or biking on. For a few days I found it to be psychically distressing. Yet as the week progressed, I became much more philosophical about the issue of mileage and workouts.
During my days off, I realized that I sometimes treat my annual mileage like I used to treat races (before I stopped doing most races). That is, I put too much emphasis on a specific number. Whether it is a number that represents a time, or a number that represents a distance, I have a tendency to care a bit too much about digits. So I stopped. Sort of. I'll always keep track of what I run. But I'm not going to go out with a target in mind, or having to beat the previous year's total. I am happy just running. In fact, I love it - maybe too much. For example: minutes before I was wheeled into surgery last year for some work on my knee, I told my friend, Marisa, that if the surgery didn't go well, that I didn't want to wake up. I couldn't bear the thought of a world without running. Kinda pathetic? Maybe. But it is the way I felt (and feel, maybe).
Running connects me to myself intellectually and physically, yet also on some kind of instinctual level as well that is neither of the mind or body. There are times during a run where the mind is apparently unaware of anything that is going on, and the body just keeps moving in an effortless manner. Is that being in the zone, running on autopilot, or going on some basic instict that keeps putting on foot in front of the other without troubling the mind or body with the process? I don't know, but I really like it when it happens. And it happens pretty often.
I think I'll leave this line of thinking right where it is and move on to thoughts for the New Year. For the year 2013 I hope to do the following:
1) Give a lot more of my things and money away to people, groups, causes and charities that can use help.
2) Buy less, consume less, desire less, and need less.
3) Continue to eschew organized racing in favor of solitary running (there may be a few exceptions).
4) Travel more
5) Be more present in my relationships with friends and family
6) Dump cable TV (that may be difficult as well, to be honest).
7) Find a way each week to help someone out.
8) Finish major writing project (it has now been just under a year)
9) Spend a lot less time on Facebook and other time sucks.
10) Be less self-critical (something many of us could benefit from).
Finally, if you want to know a good read for runners, go get 'Running with the Buffaloes.' It is a fantastic book about the 1998 CU Buff's CC team's season. It is an amazing inside look at how top teams train, work together, race, and deal with injury and loss. It is available in hard copy or Kindle through Amazon. And remember, if you do go to Amazon, access the site through links on pages of charities like cockadoodlemoo.org - a farm animal sanctuary that can use the help. It doesn't cost you anything, but by linking to Amazon through their site, the charity gets a tiny percentage of your purchase as a donation.
Have a great new year.