At the beginning of 2016 I played with "what if I set the goal to run 2016 miles in 2016"... I calculated this required an average of 5.51 miles a day. Jan 1 I decided to see if I could do 5.5 miles. I loved reaching the goal of "today I've run what I'd need as a daily quota to achieve 2016 miles this year". I was inspired to set the goal to run 5.5 miles every day for a week. My 7 day achievement spurred me to go for a month. New challenges (like travel, Nia training days, and the need to take a day off!) required more organizing, calculating and scheduling. I'd play with investing in a couple of longer runs to allow me to have a day off!
I soon realized when I missed ONE DAY, if I wanted to keep up I had to do 11+ miles the next day! I found a route at home that was 6 miles and another that was 8.5. miles. 6 mile daily run became my "usual" routine, I began to learn how "saving" a little each day helped build up my total (for example when I did 6.5 miles for 6 days, I had banked 5 extra miles and could then peacefully take a day off without the dread of "oh my! now I have to do 11 to keep up").
During the summer I travelled, taught and trained in Sweden, Hungary and Finland, I missed a day with travel, caught up great with some long early morning runs in Budapest (before long white belt days), only to experience "the great fall of 2016" at the end of a run. I missed running for 3 days in a row (deficit of 16.5 miles). Arriving late in Finland the next day I had a bus to catch at 1pm to take me to Kuoppio to begin another Nia white belt at 7:30pm that evening. The only time I had to run was in the morning, I chose to not set my alarm, to wake up naturally and if it was meant to be I would do a 9 mile run, (realizing I'd have to run 9 miles everyday for weeks to catch up on my deficit!) I woke up the next morning and EVERYTHING was working, I felt refreshed, with crisp, sunny yet cool weather, the air was clean and fresh, barely anyone out. I ran around a lake, all the way into the local town, loving the scenery. Everything was working well, before I knew it I was at 9 miles, hmmm... how about I go a little further, then at 10, I realized a half marathon was "only" 13.1 miles.... inspired I pushed through and completed 14+ miles.
And so it was, for the rest of the year I'd get up each day, plan as best I could, have things happen, like guests changing/postponing/delaying at the ranch, unexpected weather, feeling unwell even injuring my toe by dropping mug on it! There were a couple of times when I thought I'd lost, the deficit of miles seemed so vast I couldn't see how I'd catch up.
I found tracking my runs on MapMyRun, posting them publicly, made me more accountable. Along the way some friends began giving me shout outs, encouraging notes, posts on Facebook. I was amazed at how this encouraged me to keep on keeping on. A lot of days I'd laugh when folks would share "you've got this Helen", as I'd think, they seem to have a lot more faith/belief in me than myself! In November, while sharing a Nia Week in Budapest with my parents, my "Amazing Math Wiz" Mum helped me create a spreadsheet with functions and "auto calculating" columns to summarize each of the remaining days: the total miles accrued, how many days left, and the required daily average to finish successfully by December 31.
Around this time a very dear friend (Bill Baun) died and I felt him spurring me on. Through my grief, I discovered how the long runs gave me relief. I also encountered strange moments where I could hear Bill's scratchy voice saying "look up Helen, you got this" - I'd look up and see an eagle, sunshine through the trees or some other "all inspiring nature" image. In December 2 friends from the Dallas/FortWorth area (Dee and Kathy) shared they drive down to see the finish line! I was (and still am) amazed they'd travel so far, taking time out of their precious lives, simply to see me cross the finish line.
So here I am, tapping away to share my story, while watching the clock, fully aware I need to get a run in before the sun goes down and a 5pm phone appointment "running on the edge" as usual. Today I need to do 6, to then bring my annual total to 2010 miles. Tomorrow I'm hoping for sunshine and perfect weather, and no matter what, I'm planning a 6 mile run, crossing the finish line at Soma Ranch. I'll share more later about what I've learned from setting such a far reaching goal that took me on a crazy journey of self discovery.
Summary: set goals, plan, be flexible and firm, be accountable, ask for help, share the need for and receive encouragement, small steps contribute to big things, believe in yourself and reach for your dreams, don't give up. I'm taking Dec 31 off and then yes.... I'm setting the goal to run 2017 in 2017. Would you like to be included in a motivational group? You could run/walk/ride 2017 solo, or "run the edge 2017" has a program that invites up to 4 folks run/walk 2017 miles as a team. I'd love you to be part of this. You won't be alone, we'll have fun, support each other, learn much and achieve greatness - how about it! Leave a comment below and I'll get back with you about details.