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Setting a New Goal.

23 August 2013

The month of August was not a great one for me running. Nor was July. My consolation is that I am unfathomably further ahead of where I was this time last year. For 2012, I set a goal of averaging 2 miles a day, walking plus running. I hit it, almost perfectly: 736.3 miles, 457.1 of it running. Not too shabby. That goal was semi-subordinate to my overall long-term goal which was to run 10 kilometers in under an hour. That requires me to run six consecutive 9:38 miles. And I did it this spring. Twice. My record is 59:08. I am really very, very proud of reaching that goal. I worked very hard for more than a year to get there.

I’ve always been a goal-driven person. I think it’s because I like to collect experiences. I am generally uninterested in collecting things. At least, not things that I don’t use. I’m not especially interested in owning art, for example. I like having a few nice pieces that I enjoy looking at, but owning art for its own sake doesn’t really appeal to me. Seeing art, on the other hand, I’m very interested in. I like to collect the experiences of seeing great pieces, famous pieces; visiting the museums where they’re housed and feeling the awe of the presence of genius. But I’ve never wanted to take the piece home with me.

This year, walking and running, I’m up to 690.6 miles already. My running total is 213.9. I walk a lot in ECC, now that I don’t have a car. And for all that, I still haven’t lost an ounce of weight. When I look at myself in the mirror, I feel like I’ve gained weight. I don’t own a scale. But I don’t think I’ve gained any weight because my clothes all fit exactly the same. Just goes to show how the mind plays tricks.

But I’m operating without a goal. I can’t run that 10K in under an hour anymore. After taking essentially six weeks off, my 5K times are up around 32 minutes again, and I haven’t even tried to do 10K. I could make a goal to get back to that fitness, but here’s the problem with my style of experience collection: I’ve already done it. It feels kind of hollow to say, “I’m going to set a goal to do something I’ve already done.” This is why I often find it difficult to return to places I’ve already traveled to. It doesn’t feel new. Though I am excited to maybe return to some places I’ve been and see them again through the new eyes of my girlfriend, who will be traveling abroad for the first time with me soon.

I should say, I’m not operating entirely without a goal. My first and most important fitness goal remains unchanged: don’t get diabetes. And I’m on track for that still, I’m sure. I haven’t been to a doctor in 18 months, but I did have the basic blood tests for my work physical, and I wasn’t diabetic in April. Considering the exercise I’ve gotten since then, I’m pretty confident I’m still in the clear 4 months later. It’s depressing that I can’t seem to drop below 190ish pounds, but this is where my body seems to want to be, given the amount of effort I can bring to bear.

And it’s always worthwhile to look at where I am versus where I was. Even in sobriety, back in the summer of 2009, I was 225 pounds, smoking a pack a day (I quit August 18th, 2009. Four years!). I was, according to my blood numbers, teetering at the edge of diabetes. But I’ve come back from the ledge, and now I’m in pretty decent shape for a guy who would still be pretty fat if magically transported back 40 years ago.

It would be great to be thinner. But I’ll settle for fitter. And that’s why I’m setting a new goal. An ambitious, but achievable goal. I am 39 years old. Between now and 1 Jan 2015 (that’s 16 months, more or less), I will, at some point, run half a marathon without stopping to walk. 13.1 miles. It doesn’t have to be a race. I don’t have a goal for the time it will take me (though I hope it’s less than 2.5 hours). That’s my new goal. It’ll take some doing. Right now, the longest I’ve run without stopping to walk is 8.2 miles. So, I just have to extend it by 60%. I can do that.

Because, why shouldn’t I have that experience? I should be able to say, “Yeah, I’ve run half a marathon. It sucked. I loved it.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 August 2013 07:07

    Please, if you are going to run 13.1 miles, sign up for a race and get support, a cool new shirt, and a medal for your efforts. It really is so much fun. If you can run 8.2, you can run 13.1. Registering for a race and then training for it is very satisfying to a goal driven person like you (and me).

    You have made tremendous changes in the years I have been reading you. Congrats!

  2. Syd permalink
    26 August 2013 11:55

    Good luck with the half marathon. And good for you to keep working out.

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