Home > The Challenge > The 2,000 Mile Challenge

The 2,000 Mile Challenge

I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions.  Besides seeming trite, history has proven them so invariably doomed to failure that they’ve become cliché.  I typically avoid the whole thing by simply resolving not to make a New Year’s resolution.  Curiously, or perhaps, not so curiously, I’ve always succeeded in keeping that resolution.  But this year is different.  It’s different because this year I’ve finally come to realize that running is more than just something I do.  It’s a significant part of who I am.  I’m not a great runner.  As of the date of this post, my long runs are in the 6 mile range.  I’m not a fast runner.  A 9 minute mile feels fast to me.  I’m not even a marginally competitive runner.  I’ve never entered a formal race in my life.  But I am a runner.  In fact, running has been an enormously transformative force in my life. 

When I was in elementary school, I was so awful at virtually every sport that doing poorly seemed appealing to me simply because it meant at least getting off the bench long enough to actually play.  Sensing that my desire outweighed my athletic abilities, a friend (spelled j-o-c-k) encouraged me to try out for the track team.  Unbeknownst to me, this was viewed by the cool kids as the athletic consolation prize for kids who couldn’t play any other sport (spelled m-e).  I consented, and relegated to the non-sport of track, I contented myself with what would certainly at least offer me the chance to participate (I had been told there was no bench for third string runners).  Then, suddenly and when no one seemed to be paying any attention, I began winning my heats.  All of them.  Within a single season of parochial track and field, running had transformed me into a school star, as I turned out to be one of the fastest 220 meter runners for my age group in the state.  That is, until I snapped my shin bone in half playing 8th grade football, and ended my scholastic running career as quickly and unpredictably as it had begun. 

After high school, running would again transform me.  This time, however, it was from civilian into soldier, as my Drill Sargent mercilessly and repeatedly forced our whole platoon to run, and run, and run what seemed like innumerable miles in full combat gear, in all weather, in all hours of the day and night.  I often wondered whether I had enlisted in the Army or the Olympic trials.  I was pretty sure Olympians weren’t so heavily armed, so the Army it must have been.  Later still, after returning from the Gulf War, running helped ease me back into civilian life, as I took to the streets before the sun rose to gather my thoughts during early morning runs through quiet, fog-shrouded neighborhoods. 

Finally, after  college and law school, and all the extra pounds that came with having spent the better part of a decade holed up in libraries surviving on sugary sodas and mcburgers while studying for the next big test, I began running again to lose weight and discipline myself for the Bar Exam.  As a result, running helped transform me from an overweight, non-traditional, thirty-something law student into a focussed, self-disciplined, super lawyer (notice the increased self-confidence).  

Running has, in fact, been a part of my life longer than anything else, and has therefore been that part which most clearly reflects not only who I aspire to be, but who, at any given time in my life, I am.  So this year, unlike years before, I’ve resolved to challenge myself to be more myself (as runner, that is) than I’ve ever dared to be.  Two thousand miles more, to be precise.  I have resolved to run 2000 miles in 2012.  To get there, I’ll average around 40 miles per week all year.  I’ll include regular posts about my progress, training cycles, gear, races (did I mention I’m planning to enter and finish not only my first race, but a 10K, two half marathons, a 15K, and two full marathons), and much more.  I’m reasonably confident that I won’t be upsetting the elites at any of the races I plan to enter this year, but I do intend on setting lots of personal records, including breaking the tape on a 2000 mile running year.  Gotta run.

  1. February 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Run, Forrest (Paul) Run!

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