June was a month of intensive inconsistency for me. I started a new job, had my first ultramarathon DNF, ran a 100-mile race, traveled by car from the East Coast to the West Coast and back, celebrated the high-school graduation of my youngest son, and relocated our entire household from Arkansas to Pennsylvania. Needless to say, it was not a time for consistency. Yet, in the midst of all that, consistency was what I longed for, and so, after the July 4 holiday, that is exactly what I endeavored to find.
Knowing that it is within a structured running schedule that I tend to find my best equilibrium, I began by setting a simple goal: run at least 50 miles per week, climbing at least 6,000 feet per week, for at least three weeks. This was a structure the rest of my life could absorb. Beginning on July 5, I ran methodically, and slowly found comfort in consistency. By last Sunday evening, I had accomplished the following:
- July 5-11 – 52.4 miles, 6,788 feet
- July 12-18 – 51.1 miles, 6,276 feet
- July 19-25 – 51.4 miles, 7,457 feet
None of these statistics are particularly notable, or even close to what I used to be able to log. But they are numbers, clear, consistent, and progressive numbers that provide me not only comfort, but hope, and hope always helps.
We runners are a fickle lot, and from time to time we are gripped by uncertainty and crises of confidence. When those crises become most acute, those times when we begin to doubt what we can do, even to question why we do this, the thing that stabilizes us is just getting out there – day after day, week after week, putting in the work. When I realized that I needed the comfort of consistency, it was as if I had a cuddly teddy bear placed at the foot of my bed, and all I needed to do to cuddle that bear was to get in my daily run. To enjoy the process as much as the product.
For those who do not consider this sport a lifestyle, this may sound bizarre at best, and downright misguided at worst. But for those of us who know that my run today is going to make me a better version of myself tomorrow, we get it. As a result, I take comfort and security in this grind. Not only in what it gives me now, but what it will give me tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, until I can no longer lace up my shoes and crunch out the miles that make me more of who I am than I was when I started. Here’s to another 50-mile, 6,000-foot week this week!
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes, appropriately enough, from one of America’s oldest brewers, Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In continuous operation since 1857, Stevens Point’s flagship brew is their Point Special Lager. Brewed in the classic style of typical European lagers, the Point Special Lager is a crisp, refreshing summer beer that makes it clear why this beer has stood the test of time.
Call for Comments
- What do you do to maintain consistency in your running life?
- Are there benchmarks you try to hit when the inevitable “crisis of confidence” occurs?