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A few weeks ago I updated my mileage log and something pretty cool happened. I had to make the Total box a little bigger because now I’m at four digits. Hitting 1000 miles merits celebration, but how?

mochi bonbons? Yes!

wine? Yes!

treat myself to New Orleans style cold brew at Rook? If you insist.

Throw caution to the wind and put in new shoe inserts? Oh, okay.

And that’s probably gonna do it. Running 1000 miles in under 7 months doesn’t feel as satisfying as I expected. Not nearly as satisfying as a few years ago when I ran 500 miles in one year. That was a big deal because it marked the year I got back into running. To hit 500 I had to average about 42 miles each month and I was always way behind. It seemed impossible. I belonged to a gym then and did 100% of my running on the treadmill, which meant waiting 10-15 minutes for a treadmill to open and then simultaneously avoiding the nauseating flashing colors of Price is Right playing from 10 hanging TV screens and the glares of other 9-5ers also waiting for a treadmill because their small window for exercise opened at the exact same time as most other people.

Now I work from home and exercise outside almost whenever I want to. Where once running was a physical chore that fell below laundry on the list of things I wanted to do, now it’s the highlight of my day. It feels a little strange to pat myself on the back for doing something I enjoy doing, but we should celebrate along the way – hitting new longest-distance-evers, completing races and adding digits to the mileage log.

We have to celebrate because even when it becomes enjoyable running is still hard. My boyfriend wouldn’t high five me after a long run if it were easy. I still think with happy surprise I did it after a particularly hard one. And most of the time people aren’t cheering us on. Nobody really cares and we do it anyway. Maybe that’s why sometimes running feels like being inside of the best secret. It takes you places, improves you physically and mentally, eases the mind and puts silly worries in perspective.

When I think of all the time spent running this year I feel really lucky. Hours and hours dedicated to moving one foot forward at a time, watching birds, sun rises, sun sets, the thrill of running in rain and below zero temperatures, the pain of falling on ice. Wondering why my running buddy always spots happy things like baby chipmunks and blue butterflies while my eyes often lock in on dead things.

Oh what’s that lumped on the ground? Must be something lovely…nope. One of many things I’ve learned running: Messy lumps of still fur or feathers are not the signal of a happy ending. Look away.

I don’t know if I’ll ever add another digit to my yearly chart. I may try for 10,000 miles in a year someday should the universe decide to send buckets of money my way on the one condition that I become the first least winning, non-competitive full time professional runner ever. Dream job! But it’s not likely. And I don’t know if I physically could do 10,000 miles in a year or would want to, though it’d be fun to try. Anyway, I need to get better at celebrating my awesomeness as is.

Make that two mochi bonbons.