Sometimes we all need a good motivator, a reason every day to get out, an excuse that actualizes our habits. I usually need a mountain, a big one somewhere far flung, and something I can obssess about for months and then go and set foot on. As such a goal usually demands, there is an inherent discipline that goes with it, including daily exercise, weekly planning and monthly milestones. Recently however, as I have been preparing to do not one, but 14 continuous 14,000′ mountains in one 60 hour push, I joined a website that allowed me to hold myself accountable, communicate my daily training with some modesty and to participate in a contest to win a treadmill. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: why the hell would I need a treadmill living in Telluride, Co.? Read on…
When I began this #nevermiss contest, I thought I would win. It was titled #nevermiss and inspired by Mark Covert, the current record holder for the longest running streak at over 44 years of at least a mile every day. I’m an endurance athlete and have a lifestyle that facilitated the daily minimum — to walk or run one mile a day each day and build the longest streak of doing so between 11/1/13 and 12/31/13. I hoped to win the treadmill for my wife, who with our recently born premature child, has not been able to get out much but is a very cardio-motivated person as well. I started on 11/2, the day after a man named John Di Rienzo (a Hawaiin resident). Although most of his mileage would stay localized in the beauty of Hawaii, I would hit multiple locations in Colorado and Utah as my quest to get outside battled mother nature’s quest to force winter!
Sure, it sounds like a decent idea, but this was no bare minimum contest for either myself or Mr. Di Rienzo. There would be some 25 mile days, 50 mile days and over 340 miles and 52,000′ of elevation gain during this time, as I attempted to stay committed through a race and a rest period afterwards. I checked in daily and stayed in the game with Mr Di Rienzo’s daily posts. He was getting it done every day and so was I. It’s funny how this motivated me and how it challenged me to execute every day. I found excuses to climb some of the coolest peaks I had seen for years just right off interstate-I-70 in Colorado; I finally got out of the car near Crested Butte, Co. and hiked to the Dillon Pinnacles on a 7 hour drive; I took much-needed breaks from work to just stroll a mile around my hometown and remember why I live here and almost every day take a picture. #nevermiss became an actualizer of opportunity for me so much more than just a contest to win, it became a fundamental excuse to be conscious of how awesome my life is and how fortunate I am to meet this criteria, of being able to walk or run a mile everyday and share a photo of where.
Although Mr. Di Rienzo won the contest having started one day before me and because he honestly stuck to the ethos a little better — running a mile everyday rather than hiking some like I did, I did not feel bitter that I could not win the treadmill for my wife. Instead, I felt thankful that I had a new habit and had opened my eyes to things that otherwise I may have ignored on my quest to do the lower mileage hiking days. Now that I am nearing almost 100 days and 500 miles since 11/2/13, I can look back and say that this streak has been a good thing in my life and that I hope other people take on challenges like these, not necessarily for the fitness but for the chance to take a break, get outside and do something you love every day!