I don't think that this year would've included so many firsts if it weren't for the inspiration I received from the folks participating in Run the Year 2017. I've mentioned Run the Year before, but I never actually wrote a post about it. I figured that now is as good a time as any, since the year is over.
I started running in 2016, and it all pretty much began with my first race. Although, it wasn't until my second race that I really fell in love with it. That year, I set a personal goal to run five 5ks. I trained semi-regularly, because I wanted to avoid injury and make running a regular part of my life.
That same year, one of my friends was posting pictures from races she had run. She had made a personal commitment to run 33 miles, since she celebrated her 33rd birthday that year. To the best of my knowledge, she didn't really train for the races, she just went out and ran them. At some point during the year, I commented on her goal and she mentioned to me that there were people in the world who actually "run the year." I hadn't heard of that concept before and the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became.
At the end of 2016, I found myself on the Run the Year 2017 website. I knew that I'd never be able to run 2,017 miles in a year—having three kids and Minnesota's harsh winters would prevent me from meeting that goal. However, the website mentioned that one could count their daily steps. Run the Year had an online tracker that would sync automatically with Fitbit data. Suddenly, the idea of averaging roughly 5.5 miles a day didn't seem so impossible. I'm usually fairly active in the warmer months, but I did a lot of sitting in 2016, especially in the winter. Some days, I was lucky to hit 5,000 steps. It frustrated me because I was gaining weight. I decided to give myself some motivation to keep active, and I signed up for Run the Year on New Year's Eve.
The Run the Year challenge encouraged me to use Wii Fit to freestep while I was watching TV. The challenge helped motivate me to run a half-marathon. The Run the Year challenge helped me go 500 miles farther in 2017 than I did in 2016.
Some Run the Year participants only count dedicated exercise miles. Maybe I'll be able to do that someday. But, for me, counting my daily steps isn't cheating. Walking to my basement to get more paper towels might not be "exercise," but the Run the Year challenge helped encourage me to do things like that more often, instead of convincing my kids to do them for me. I worked for every mile of my 2,017 miles, whether I was completing a race, pacing around my kitchen, or even just putting laundry away. I am proud of my 2,017 miles.
I will be participating in Run the Year 2018. My goal is to complete the challenge before December 31. In fact, I'd love to get 2,100 miles. I'm hoping for a minimum of 300 running miles. Injuries prevented me from hitting 300 running miles this year. Thankfully, 2017 has taught me so much, and I'm looking forward to what 2018 has in store.