Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My 12th and final check-in on the Rock River 1000 Mile Challenge

One running challenge down, one still left to go. (I haven't gotten my final holiday running streak effort in yet, but I will after I post this!)

I wrapped up my 2012 running season with two very cold and shockingly, nauseatingly fast miles on New Year's Eve. That put me at 931 for the entire year, running and walking.

The night before that — New Year's Eve Eve — I went ice skating at Brenton Plaza with two good friends, one of whom is a natural athlete and the other of whom is, well, more like me. (However she can swim laps around the two of us, so it evens out.)

As natural athlete friend outpaced the two of us who were clinging desperately to the handrail, I found myself thinking: "This was an ill-advised decision for a runner who's just days from completing two challenges she's worked fairly diligently on ... "

But as I found my stride and completed a loop or two, I tried desperately not to jinx myself with thoughts of "wow, I haven't wiped out yet!" but rather "I wonder how far each loop is" and "Does this count toward my run streak?"

It was facetious, sort of; I'd argue that skating is more worthy of being counted than biking, which I definitely saw people doing and definitely am not bitter about.

Thinking back on it post-challenge, however, makes me vaguely nostalgic, because it's emblematic of 2012 for me: I spent the year focusing on mileage, asking my companions "How far do you think we walked around [insert outdoor event or city]?",  re-creating the hike from Ogilvie Transportation Center to Chicago tourist attractions on MapMyRun, live-tracking a midparty liquor quest. 

Can I quit measuring any move of significance, cold turkey? Can I stop demanding that someone else uncork wine because, after all, I walked 1.7 miles to get that wine to share with her?

I should probably say yes to the latter and no to the former. The race against the calendar lit a fire under me to keep active this year, but the takeaway — for a nonwinner — was ultimately a helpful reminder that the walking miles add up in an important way for fitness purposes.

But first comes a well-deserved and much-needed period of inactivity. That will be the true judge of how deeply the fitness-tracking bug bit me.

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