One of the big successes I had last year was in my running. I managed to shatter my mileage from previous years and topped out at 1600 miles. One of the weakest areas of my 2018 though was my early training. It took me quite a while, last winter, to get back up to speed, and I hoped that this year I’d be able to reverse that trend.
However, what I’ve discovered is that isn’t really realistic for me. Coming off a big December means I need a bit of a rest before jumping right back in. I realize a lot of people might be able to go strong 12 months out of the year, but I’ve found that it just doesn’t work for me. Between the cold, the dark, and the general feeling of needing a break, the year usually starts off pretty weak for me.
I’ve also discovered, now that I’m heavily involved in the winter ultra scene, I just don’t have as much time as I thought I did in January. Tuscobia is at the end of December, the St Croix 40 is the second week of January, and then Arrowhead 135 finishes out the month. Toss in a potential trip to Vegas, and I feel like I need to change jobs to something where I can just take the entire month off.
It’s not all bad news though. I went back and looked at where I’m at this year, compared to last year. As of today I’m only about 13 miles shy of my 2018 running totals on this date. What that tells me is that I’m on the same trajectory that I was last year. With how good last year turned out, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. From a long term maintenance outlook, 1200-1600 miles per year is just fine with me. Maybe some years it’ll go higher, but I really don’t need to keep pushing for a new goal every. single. year.
There’s a phenomena that hits most trail runners. We accomplish something, and then we need to move on to the next big thing, and then the next EVEN BIGGER thing, and so on. Eventually, you reach a point where you come to realize that every year doesn’t have to be bigger than the last. You can run for the joy of running and go with whatever sounds interesting. Maybe there’s a year where you just do some shorter races, or perhaps it’s a big multi-ultra year. What matters is realizing that whatever you do, it should be done with joy.
I’m on the right track this year. I’m running happy and ready for whatever adventures await. Go out and experience life, and run with joy.