Happy New Year! Expecting great things this year, and wishing the same for anyone bored enough to stop by and read my humble blog…
This week marks the end of two streaks. First, the Runner’s World RunStreak, which I blogged about just before Thanksgiving, ended Monday and was a rousing success. I managed to run/hike all 40 days, and was grateful to be in Virginia to attempt it, as the weather in Maine has been record-settingly brutal.
The other streak, sadly/joyously, is this one. Today marks my 104th consecutive Thursday with a blog post. That’s two years of diligence to generate some sort of content for this space. But given the volume of other things I need to accomplish in ’18, I’m dropping back to posting only when I have something specific about which to write. Hikes. New gear. Interesting stories. That sort of thing.
Many blogs fail because the writer roars out of the gate, then fades away over time, leaving their once-cherished site essentially abandoned. This writer won’t be doing that. I’ve invested two years into this little online journal, and will continue to post at LEAST monthly, likely more.
So I’m giving up quantity for quality. And looking forward to getting out into the woods many, many times this year. And blogging about it, of course.
Boy, was it hard to type that number. That’s my expected total running and hiking mileage for the year, combined. 64 miles hiking, and 800 miles running (might end up with 801 or 2, but I’ll use the round number for now).
Back in the marathoning days, double that number in running miles was an average to below-average year. But wanting to cut back to save my body and simply stay in shape for hiking, I figured a minimum of 1000 miles per year running/hiking would be a good baseline.
I didn’t even hit that.
Of course, moving had something to do with it. And living the first three months of the year in Maine and struggling to want to get outside in the winter months (seasonal affective disorder is REAL, people!) didn’t help. But living in Virginia means that I’ll have NO excuse to NOT hit that easy-peasy 1000-mile minimum, given both the milder winters and my proximity to so many great hiking trails, including the AT, of course.
2018 is the year I’ll find my stride again.
Back in the marathon training days, I would sit myself down near the end of December to estimate the number of miles I would need to run in order to cruise through an easy spring and slightly faster fall marathon in the coming year. I usually exceeded my stated mileage goal, and suffered zero to minimal consequences during the races.
But running to stay in shape for hiking, and the number of hiking miles don’t lend themselves to the sort of X + Y = Z thinking inherent in planning miles for race training. Technically, I could hike and backpack without doing any running, so the number of miles I choose can be completely arbitrary. And the hiking miles could, theoretically at least, be whatever I ended up with at the end of the year.
That doesn’t work for me.
I’m too goal-oriented to willy-nilly my way through a year and be satisfied with whatever I get. Those years will come at some point, I’m sure, when the body breaks down and I can’t maintain any sort of strict schedule. But as long as I’m in good health and can push myself to achieve modest goals, I’m going to set them. This past year was a new frontier for me, as I tried to dial back the running from racing level to fitness level mileage and add hiking miles. Sadly, I failed to hit even the modest goals I set for both. I can conveniently blame moving to a new state for that. I guess.
Next year? I’ll hit the goal of combined running and hiking miles I’m using as a minimum benchmark. And I will do some actual, overnight backpacking. And when I’m sitting here doing this next year, I’ll be plotting and planning 2019 while congratulating myself on a job well done…
Streak Update: A month ago I posted about tackling the Runner’s World RunStreak. Well, so far, so good. I just wrapped up day 29 out of 40. I’ve only done one hike as a substitute for a run, a bit of a disappointment as I had hoped to hike three or four times. But it is, after all, a running streak, so I can’t be too discouraged with it. Looking forward to January 1st and the end!
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ― John Muir