The importance of keeping goals
We’re on our second trip back out east to visit family and friends, I wrote about the first trip, during my birthday, earlier this year. I also wrote about the importance of trying to stay active while on a vacation or a trip, and today I wanted to write a story about maintaining that routine.
I was never a runner, as a matter of fact most of my life I hated running — it was just something one had to do when you wanted to get somewhere quicker and didn’t care about looking like a fool, or something I had to do while playing tennis. In highschool my most dreaded activity was running the required 1 mile once or twice a year. Then somewhere in my early twenties I read a statistic that XX% of highschool age children can’t run a mile in under 10 minutes, and being 23 or 24, thinking my life was peaking and it was only downhill from there, I decided I should get into running and beat all those highschoolers.
I had no routine or discipline, I had no dedicated running gear (up until about 2 month ago I still ran in my basketball shorts — yes, I’m that guy — I told you running looks stupid 😉 ). I moved back in with my parents for the summer and I was really bored in the suburbia, so one of the only methods of getting out of a house and not actually driving anywhere was to run somewhere. I ran to a bridge over the highway once, it was a mile there and I probably walked a portion back home. I kept running every evening I could after I got home from work, and I discovered a longer route, it was a path leading into the woods — a new development was being built. It was cool because the road was a dirt one, they were blowing rocks away to make the access road and I was running in the woods, with dear, turkeys and an occasional fox around — it was way before I knew what trail running was. As days turned into months and then years I got a little bit better (only in terms that I could run longer, not necessarily faster), the development actually materialized into something real, houses starting going up, I moved away, etc. I would still visit my parents and would go on my “big loop” run, I always thought it was closer to 4 miles because I would time myself and it would always be in the high 30 mins for me to do this loop, always with a walking break. This was in the time before I had a GPS watch, before Google Maps even existed, so I never knew or bothered to know the distance.
It’s 13 years later, and I haven’t run the loop in probably 10, I don’t even live in the state anymore. But, I have a GPS watch now that I’ve been getting back into running (doing 3+ mile runs on average every single day of the month, since about November). And, my GPS watch allows me to plan out routes, so a while ago out of curiosity I mapped out my old run, and was surprised that it only came out to be 3.4 miles, I guess I wasn’t as good of a runner back then as I recall. Anywho, the route was programmed into my watch and ready to go, that one day when I would come back.
Fast forward to two days ago – we packed up with our 21mo old boy and came to visit my parents. Plan was to go to the beach, meet up with friends, go to NYC and just in general enjoy free babysitting and relax. I also packed up my new running gear because I wanted to get some excercise in, and what better way to do that than go on my old loop run. I planned to do the run a few days into the vacation. On the flight over we hit up the lounge, they had pour your own Cutty — so I had a big glass, I also had some tequila and since we were sitting in Economy Comfort and drinks are free I just had to have 2 Miller Lites. Baby took a nap on my lap and I couldn’t really sleep, so I drank a lot of coffee to stay awake, definitely not enough water. So after 3 hr flight, another 1.5 hr in the car when we got to my parents I had very restless legs, I just had to get out, perfect reason to go for a run.
And so I went, on my old loop, with one goal in mind: run the loop like I last did 13 years ago, just to prove to myself that I’m still in relatively good shape and I can do now what I did 13 years ago. And I ran… it was an odd experience, I missed the woods, but the roads seemed so narrow and tiny, getting to my dvelopment turn-off took a lot quicker than I remember, running through the development it was a start difference — the neighborhood is now established, most houses are build, the trees are all grown up. And still I ran and still it all seemed kinda small. I ran up the hill that would get me completely winded and I kept running, I got to the first bridge at which point I would either walk or take a walking break and I still kept running, I got to the last turn home, all up hill, that I don’t think I ever fully ran back in the day — this time I kept running, giving a nod to the mailbox which was my cut-off point at which I would start running, now I went past it… and finally I got to my parents house, still running and I press the Stop button on my watch.
It was only 3.2 miles! Even though the distance wasn’t near what I thought it was, it felt great to complete my old “ultimate” run, in much better time. So I encourage you to keep your goals, even if they’re years old, they’re incredibly motivating and will give you the drive that you need to achieve better things in the future!