17 Days – Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the tops of the mountains, but to improve the man.

This morning my blankets felt much more comfortable than usual. I think that the cold winter air outside tends to magnify their effects. But I knew that sleeping in was not an option. Only 55 miles away from my 1,000 mile goal by the end of the year, I forced myself out of bed. As I hit the streets, I was glad that I had put on my hooded sweatshirt and gloves. Even around Christmas, L.A. usually isn’t this cold. The theme of Rocky started to play in my head. This entertained me enough to slip into a moderate pace and warm my legs so that the cold would be less bone-chilling.

Today when I got to work, as slow as it was, I began to play around on the Runner’s World website. I found a calculator that I had not seen on that site before. Simply put in your weight and the distance of your last run and it would calculate the amount of calories I burnt. ‘Cool!’ I thought. I had always wanted to know a number amount of what my long runs were actually doing. So I typed in 118 lbs, 33 miles. Moments later, large red lettering appeared on the screen ‘Please enter a valid distance.’ ‘No, REALLY!’ I pleaded at the screen. It is bad enough that most of my friends don’t believe me, but now Runner’s World too? My coworkers were unaffected by my mild outburst, happily shopping online and discussing their holiday plans. Why wasn’t I doing that? I ask myself this on a regular basis… why does so much of my life revolve around the need to conquer such large running feats?

Earlier in the week my boss was discussing running with me, telling me how he didn’t think that ultrarunning was healthy. ‘What is healthier?’ I asked him. ‘Running 50 miles, or sitting on a couch at home eating potato chips and getting fat.’ ‘How about running 5 miles a day?’ He said. I shook my head ‘But that’s not me.’ And then I realized… running is why I am a manager here. Running is why nothing else but that was good enough. Running is why I was able to walk away from unhealthy relationships, because it has taught me not to settle. Running makes me happy, it makes me who I am. And so, I keep running…

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