At the start of the year I created two goals.
One was a regimented goal to run 100kms per month, 1200kms over the year. It was a hopeful attempt to maintain a better level of fitness rather than getting into prime shape for a marathon now and again.
Last year I set a goal to run 1400kms in the year. It was a pretty random number except that it was the year 2014 – and I wondered if I could challenge myself each year to increase the figure accordingly.
Nope. I failed 1400, by quite a margin.
So this year, I was more realistic and wanted to be slightly less arbitrary. 100kms in a month isn’t too far for a runner, but covering this distance each month for a year is beyond anything I’ve done before. To put the overall distance into perspective, 1200kms is the distance between Brisbane and Canberra (a 13 hour drive).
Things began well, like each year’s goals generally do.
Though just before summer, without any warning, my job vanished before my eyes. I was seriously considering a return home to Australia.
Unsurprisingly my running was hugely impacted. I managed maybe just one bitter-filled run per week.
I added a median line to the total kilometres graph which my running app plots. Its trajectory showed the 100kms per month I should cover. In July, I think you can actually see my kilometre progress crying in depression as it failed to keep up with the plan.
The kilometres dropped so far that by the end of June I had run only about a quarter of my year long goal.
Fortunately the cliche did apply, ‘When one door closes, another one opens’. In two months I started with a new employer, and gave myself a month to settle before returning to my running goal with a vengeance.
I started a new routine, upping the kilometres in quite a big way. It wasn’t easy to keep up the momentum with everything that was happening in life. Though having gone through such a big challenge on the job front, there was enough new-found determination to keep me unwavering from making the time.
In fact, I only missed two sessions in the next four months of training.
Thanks to my @Runkeeper goal, I've been taking a different running route lately. It's called the Critical Path.
— Ryan B (@rbrink77) December 26, 2015
I did the math and planned the distances for each and every run. With two months to go, it still looked unclear whether I’d reach the goal or not.
As I ticked over the runs in the final few weeks I could definitely see the finish line. It was just a matter of continuing the focus. I clearly made it, after a monster 231kms logged in December. It was the longest I’ve ever run in a month, to make it the longest I have ever run in a year.
— Runkeeper Support (@RKSupport) December 30, 2015
The other goal I set for myself this year was to read 12 books in the year. Supposedly that’s one book per month.
With all the reading I do at work, I sadly don’t feel like reading for pleasure. Hence the attempt to bring back the habit.
Having these two goals could always make for an interesting finish, as it gets close to the final deadline. I can imagine frantically reading while running the last few kilometres in late December.
But this year I did have an old trick up my sleeve, given my new daily commute.
— Ryan B (@rbrink77) October 17, 2011
It could be argued listening to audio books is not reading. My thought is it definitely is. I listen and interpret the words, just as I would if I had read them. I plotted the progress against the goal also, but this trajectory was more easy to manage.
Goodreads, where I plotted my books kept a nice record of the books I read as part of the year’s challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/12648231-ryan-brinkworth. And all the books I’ve read with reviews are on the site as well, https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/12648231-ryan-brinkworth?shelf=read
2015 turned out to be a good year.
It’s one I can always reflect on as the first time I smashed my goals, despite a pretty major challenge along the way.