This is me, charting and mapping my virtual run adventures, from the corner near my house and across the vastness of my own beautiful country and towards my grandfather’s first step in Canada — a Heritage Race before I hit 40 — these are the klicks I might have run had they been strung end-to-end from my 37th birthday until the day I hit 40. Brought to you by the magic of obsessive personal metrics, a fancy GPS watch, and the number 21. Stay tuned.
There is a lackluster spark of something vague and ineffable that comes from the long, dark inbetweens of a patient expanse defining the gaps of some ill-defined purpose. Accounting for clever goals leaves me in wont of better account skills. I’m behind. Oh, so far behind it seems almost the definition of futility from this vantage to attempt a catchup.
But I will: You know I will at the very least attempt it. Success is one part managed failure and another part re-adjusted perspective.
I thought I’d be clever all those months ago and set myself a magnificent and mischievous goal: to run across Canada in a virtual race of the kind that I had never fully understood how to explain to the uninitiated. You track klicks. You track more klicks. You plod along, day after day, on the same trails, through the same routes, and then you string those klicks end-to-end in an imaginary line of loops and wiggles and whorls and blips, pondering the unreality of something bigger than another five up the local street when projected on some distant highway half-way across the country. Yes, it’s abstract. That’s the point.
I used to define my life by other abstractions. The school year, particularly those post-secondary ones, spun the magic of time tracking into four month intervals. The first week of September was always the reset button. Four months of inter-semester summer was over and a new round of learning, growing, changing, study, and plodding through the hurdles of those strangest days of our lives began anew. It is less so now. September means re-adjusting to the impending winter, but it’s just another month of work albeit with a slightly busier schedule and a busier, longer commute.
My sad summer of running distance, injury-laden and vacation-broken, pulled me into a five hundred klick deficit. Where I’ve clocked in what seems to be a whopping 2,450km on this virtual race to the east coast, meandering through western Ontario, I should be closer to three-thousand, closer to my destination than I imaginarily am.
So I plan a rethink: I plan in the frustrations of my numbers to treat September in that manner of something closer to how I may have treated it at half my age. In the slow plodding race to forty, I act more like my twenty-something self and yank the abstractions of that September refresh into my heart: further, stronger, longer. It’s optimistic, but then that’s the point, no?