M1les To Go: Have To, Need To, Want To

shoes miles.2016.03Whether it is a success or not, a resolution is designed to inspire growth. Ideally, once you’ve succeeded, you’re a better person. Or, if nothing else, the process changes you. What do they say? “It’s the journey, not the destination.” For me, running is a lot like a resolution. Ideally, I’ll be a healthier, stronger person after accomplishing a goal – or a single run – but it’s the journey that moves me. So, for 2016, I decided to accept a challenge presented by ilovetorun.org and run 1,000 miles this year. This article will serve as a pedometer, of sorts, for you to follow me on my journey as well as a place for us to share the thoughts and ideas inspired by each mile.

I’m not a big fan of nouns as verbs. For instance, “adulting.” This is a big thing among Millennials. Adulting is when you do something adult-like. You paid a bill on time. You got your oil changed. You bought a wedding gift for a shower. You folded your laundry. Basically, “adulting” is being an adult. Doing the things you are supposed to do as a contributing member of society. My generation likes to look at tasks like these as major accomplishments. They are unenjoyable, yes, but they are necessary to living. That’s life. It’s doing a lot of unenjoyable things so that you can bask in the finer things.

Running used to be one of the finer things that I enjoyed. Since the challenge, though, it’s come to be a little bit more like “adulting.” If you follow my blog, you’ll have noticed that the last few weeks of the challenge have been a real struggle for me. I hit a wall. A large part of that, I’ve discovered, was due to the fact that running wasn’t for me anymore, but for the challenge.

There’s a fine line between the things you have to do, need to do and want to do. Running was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be a distance runner. Over time, it became something I needed to do, for my soul and spirit, for my fitness, for myself. Now, because of the challenge, it’s become something I have to do. I’ve really backed myself into a corner with this thing. I’ve told the world – I mean, people in Germany and South Korea have read the blog, so literally, the world – that I’m going to run 1,000 miles this year. So now, I have to run. I can’t skip a five-mile run, because then, I’m five miles behind. I don’t get to “not feel like it” today. And, I mean, that’s “adulting,” isn’t it? That’s living.

I’ve found that it’s never a bad thing, though. It always proves to be well worth the effort. By the end of my obligatory run, I feel great having accomplished something for the day. Being closer to my end goal. Closer to the person I’ve imagined I’d become through running. It’s like with any chore, you just have to buckle down and put in the work. Chip away at the overall goal just a little bit at a time. Then suddenly, you have a clean room and freshly folded laundry. Eventually, I’ll have 1,000 miles and as many blog followers – in my dream world for the latter.

Once the item is checked off of a to do list, it becomes less of a burden. The have to’s, and need to’s, and the “grand accomplishments,” of the every day become feel good things that yield less stress when doing the want to’s. Having acknowledged this, I’m back to enjoying my runs. As I train for my second half marathon of the year with the knowledge that I’d get my “want to” back, I’m finding myself stronger again with every run.

I understand why we pride ourselves on “adulting;” it’s a step closer to figuring this whole Life thing out. A step closer to being the kind of people we’d imagined we’d be when we were children. It’s easy to put off the have to’s and need to’s because the want to’s are so much more exciting. Enjoying the want to’s, though, is far more thrilling when we don’t have the other things breathing down our necks. Remembering that I’m not running because I have to but because I wanted to do this challenge brought the joy back into it. Realizing that, in the end, all of the obligations and checklists are necessary to our ultimate success and happiness is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through these last 388 miles. It was a necessary lesson. Something I had to learn.

Goal for 2016: 1,000 miles

Year to date: 388 miles

Miles to go: 612 miles

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