I recently passed a milestone with running: 15,000 miles. I should clarify. That’s not an exact figure. I literally don’t know how far I ran yesterday, much less last week, or in 2003. I’m not what you would call a fitness tracker. Also, with respect to the verb itself – I used to run. Then, for a few years, I was jogging. Now, charitably, you would probably call it slogging. My slog is probably unmistakable from my walk except for the fashion. When I run, I wear Nike running pants, an Under Armour top and Hoka 1s. When I walk, it’s more casual.
Nevertheless, having just done a loose calculation of the miles logged since I was 17, it’s an impressive number. The longest drivable distance in these contiguous United States is from Cape Flattery, WA to Key West, FL – a distance of 3689 miles. If my calculations are correct, I have run there and back, twice. Which really does seem like a long way. Very Forrest Gump.
I wonder what I thought about during all that time. It’s over 2000 hours of running. How did I pass the time? Did I have big thoughts and just forget to write them down later? What I chiefly remember is a persistent argument with myself. On the one side was me fantasizing about how amazingly good it would feel to stop and walk right now. On the other side was the nagging P.E. coach in dirty grey sweats telling me in a disappointed tone that “quitters never win.” Win what? What am I winning? Still, I kept going, usually. And over the years, the miles just kind of piled up.
As I ponder this continental crisscross now, I am thinking this should be a thing (and please let me know if it’s already a thing because I’m not exactly someone you would describe as dope snatched on fleek). Let’s lose the “26.2” bumper stickers and do 3689, or maybe the round trip of 7378! I’m seeing hashtags, instas, branded running gear, non-fungible tokens, the works. LFG people.
Please Venmo the royalties to: @guywhocreatedtheCapeFlatterytoKeyWestrunningthing