300 Days of Run

For the year 2016, I am going to run 300 out of 365 days.

More than two months off out of the year, you say?! That’s a less-than-lofty goal/New Year’s resolution… But think of it this way: One mandatory rest day off per week and you’re already up to 52 days. That leaves just 13 more days of not running. Just 13 days out of the whole year for being sick, getting stuck at work, nights out, being too hungover, powder days, traveling, injuries, tapering, recovering, it’s dark and cold and rainy and a million other unforeseen circumstances and excuses we come up with when searching for a reason not to get off the couch, put on the shoes and just go for a run. I’ll have to choose wisely.

Why the name? Well, it’s a play on Colorado’s supposed famous 300 Days of Sun tagline tourism marketing professionals like to use. Plus it rhymes with fun. Just like the sun claim, my project has some dubiousness about just what qualifies as “running.”

The guidelines: There’s a lot of winter in Telluride. So I’m going to count skate skiing as running. It’s aerobic, (Christ, it’s as if I’ve never exercised a day in my life every time I strap those skis on) it uses the legs (and arms) and it’s basically as good as running in my book. Hiking counts, obviously. Ski touring counts. However, lifting weights, downhill skiing/snowboarding, swimming, yoga: do not count. This is 300 Days of Run, not 300 Days of Some Kind Of Physical Activity. Except I would probably count biking — mountain, road or otherwise. I do it so infrequently that just the fact that I attempted to get back in the saddle would be so novel it should count for something. I envision 0-2 bike rides over the next year. The runs must be at least three miles or 30 minutes to count. Most of my runs are substantially more than this, but 3 or 30 is the minimum. 300 days is the maximum I feel I can do without injuring myself or sacrificing my sanity, other hobbies or social life.

Then there’s the why. After an athletic career in collegiate swimming, and after, triathlon, I moved on to long-distance trail running. I’ve completed the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k, San Juan Solstice 50-mile, 38-mile Telluride Mountain Run and the Squamish 50 mile. And I’ve finished each one. But it wasn’t pretty. I suffered. I showed up to the start line under-trained yet over-confident, in some cases sort-of injured and with the secret, shameful knowledge that I hadn’t trained my hardest. I didn’t give it my all. I wasn’t living up to my potential. And it showed. I limped across each finish line in pain, disappointed with myself, swearing off ultras FOREVER. But as much as I cursed each race, blaming my performance on the weather, the difficult course, the altitude, my nagging IT band pain, I KNEW in my heart I could have done better if only I had trained better.

So that’s what 2016 is about. No excuses. Just training. Committed. Every day. For 300 days.

I will chronicle the journey here. To keep it from devolving into a solipsistic, egomaniacal exercise for me and sheer eye-gauging boredom for the reader, I will only post about the most thought-provoking, interesting, amazing, revelatory, relatable tales and truths I learn over the next year. There may or may not be 300 of them 🙂