Friday, December 16, 2011

Tell Me Again Why I Made THAT Commitment...

So somewhere in the course of my life I developed this half-baked belief that if you really want to accomplish somethings, you have to set goals.  And for a goal to be "real," you have to write it down.  The day after Thanksgiving I came up with this crazy goal, and I vocalized it to several people, including my lovely wife, to help keep me on track, but I'm finally getting around to putting the goal into print for all to see.  My goal is:

I will run 100 miles between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

That's 100 cumulative miles, not 100 miles in one single run.  Because while the first is only slightly nutty, the latter would be just plain crazy.

In my own defense, this goal didn't just pop up out of the blue.  See, I'm a geek.  A geek who runs.  Because of that I keep a record of all my runs in an Excel workbook that shows the distances for my runs, broken down by segments, and calculates my pace for each section as well as the average for the entire run.  I started doing this in 2008, so I have almost three years of data to review and track my progress--or lack thereof.

Because of my geekness (geekdom? geekhood?) I have a record of all my runs while living in Thailand, and at the end of our time there I added the distance for all my runs.  In the course of two years I ran 967 kilometers.  While the American in me says, "Hey, that's 601 miles, pretty good there, sport!" there's the other part of me--the part of me that lives and breathes metric--that said it was 33 kilometers short of 1,000 kilometers for our time in Southeast Asia.  Thirty-three kilometers--that's just 20.5 miles.  If I had decided to run on just five more days out of the 730 we lived in Thailand, I would have had one thousand kilometers.  Five lousy days!

As if that weren't enough, after we'd been back in the States for two months I added up my mileage since leaving Thailand and saw that it was a rather pathetic 44 miles.  Two months and not even 50 miles?  Pathetic.  So pathetic that I sat down on the couch and consoled myself with a large bowl of ice cream, drowned in delicious caramel topping.

Fast-forward to Thanksgiving weekend, and I checked my Excel workbook and saw that my cumulative mileage had reached 108 miles.  And that's when the crazy notion hit me--I could set a goal to run 200 cumulative miles between leaving Bangkok and 2012.  And then I thought, what's another measly eight miles, and bumped my goal to an even 100 miles between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Ever the diligent geek, I looked at a calendar, added up the days I would probably run, leaving out days I was confident that I wouldn't run (Tuesdays and Saturdays, because that's when I play basketball, and Sundays, of course) and calculated that if I ran four miles each of those days, I'd hit my goal spot-on.

Naturally, events can and will conspire to keep me from my goal.  Work gets busy and somedays I can't do a mid-day run.  Early mornings are out because of seminary.  I got sucked into *Born to Run.  Some days it rains--I have a really hard time motivating myself to run in the rain in America (running while it's raining in Thailand's a totally different story).  And I really don't like running in the dark, especially in the evenings (I should blog on that some night--maybe I'll go for another nighttime run and then blog about it).  Long story short (too late, as always), my latest calculation indicates that I have to fun five miles each day that I run between now and New Year's Day.  I'll probably have to do a couple of longer ones, because I can guarantee that I'll miss a day or two in there somewhere.

And for the record, that part of me that lives and breathes metric, is my spleen.

*Inspired by my fitness goal, I picked up Born to Run on a trip to the library with my son.  Several of my friends who know of my particular running preferences had recommended this book, and I was totally inspired.  The book was so engrossing, the story so well formulated and interesting that I finished it in four days.  I was so sucked in that I neglected to prepare a lesson for my early-morning seminary class (they probably didn't notice).  Oh, and I was so into it that I actually didn't run for a couple of days--I believe that would be a textbook definition of "ironic."