While I've been aware that this milestone was going to happen soon, it went completely unnoticed until today. Fortunately, as soon as I started running years ago, I started logging my runs. Looking back at my running log through the years is like reading a journal. It's amazing to be able to know that my first run ever was on January 18, 2006 and that I ran/walked three-quarters of a mile in eleven minutes. It's funny to go back and read some of those early comments on my runs. And to realize that some things never change... no matter how many miles I run, most of my running commentary is bitching about something or another.
I don't often get serious on here or talk about my past, but it's hard not to think about what my life would be like today if it weren't for those 10,000 miles. I've said before that running saved my life. Maybe it didn't save my life literally (although it has certainly made me about a zillion times healthier), but it's saved me from a life of chronic malaise and despair. And what kind of life would that have been?
The difference between a non-suicide and an ex-suicide leaving the house for work at 8 o'clock on an ordinary morning:
The non-suicide is a little traveling suck of care, sucking care with him from the past and being sucked toward care in the future. His breath is high in his chest.
The ex-suicide opens his front door, sits down on the steps, and laughs. Since he has the option of being dead, he has nothing to lose by being alive. It is good to be alive. He goes to work because he doesn't have to.
-- Walker PercyIn some ways, 10,000 miles seems like nothing. Running has become such a part of me and my identity and my life that putting a number on it doesn't really seem to mean anything. But collectively, those 10,000 miles represent everything. It may sound like I put too much value in running. Maybe it sounds like my priorities are whack. But through running my life has completely changed. I've met people that already have and will no doubt continue to enrich my life. I've gained confidence and self-respect. I've learned that though I like to bitch and moan and pussyfoot around, I'm actually pretty fucking tough when I have to be. I've learned how to deal with success and failure. And the most important thing I've learned is that no matter what's in front of you... all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. The scenery will change... sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But the hardest thing you have to do, is really the simplest: keep going.
Sometimes I hate running. Sometimes it feels awful. Sometimes it breaks my heart. But goddammit, it's always there when I need it.
Happy 10,000 miles to me! I think there's a bottle of champagne in my future...