Challenge Complete

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Early in the final full week of August, before the Travers and with light at the end of the tunnel that was the 2021 Saratoga meeting, my mileage meter clicked from the 400s to more than 500.

Specifically, it happened late in the final Stryders Camp Saratoga 5K Trail Run at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve, a “race” where Sean beat Joe and I finished a chasm back the day after we trekked up and down Mount Mansfield. At that moment there were about 500 miles remaining in a conquest we cooked up about seven months prior during the “virtual” ST Summit where plans are made for the year ahead.

Like Joe wrote about Monday in his blog post “A Thousand Miles,” the idea “took root in January when Tom Law and my brother Sean brought it up during our annual winter summit.”

Sean said we should set a goal to run 1,000 miles and write about it. A few days later I ventured to Broadway, met with Jamie Mastroianni at iRun Local and she and husband Anthony agreed to sponsor our quest. The 1,000-Mile Challenge presented by iRun Local was born.

Now all we had to do was complete the quest. Considering I’d hit the mark from 2006 to 2017, and again in 2019 and 2020 – what gives with only 988.2 in 2018? – it all seemed reasonable and within reach. Until hitting the finish that night at Camp Saratoga.

“It’s going to take a serious rally,” I might have said from the front seat of Joe’s Subaru heading back to Saratoga, or from the outside table at 9 Miles East sipping on a Common Roots Citra and waiting for our meal.

The Bourbon Chase loomed in about seven weeks and after averaging 23.5 miles a week for the next two months or so, the ledger hit 700 by Oct. 25. Progress yes, but still a long way to go. Three hundred miles in a shade more than two months would require, as Joe more or less put it, a Zenyatta-like closing move to reach 1,000.

The last week of October went well, with 42.4 miles logged, but that only offset the 14.5 put in during Breeders’ Cup Week in San Diego. An 8-mile run before a redeye flight home the Sunday after the Breeders’ Cup remotivated and from there the weekly mileage came in at 28.8, 45.2, 28.3 and 33.8 by early December. A double of 3.1 miles in the morning and 5.5 miles with the Stryders the night of Dec. 8 put the counter at 900. If you’re scoring at home – and who isn’t? – it went from 700 Oct. 25 to 800 Nov. 17 to 900 Dec. 8.

Exactly three weeks later and after an easy late morning 5K, the challenge was no longer a challenge but a reality. It took an average of more than 32 miles a week the last four weeks to get there but get there I did. Joe got there first, the day after Christmas, and he tacked on a few more miles Wednesday for good measure. I’m sure he’ll do some more before the year is through. We’re both excited for Sean to get back out there and get there in 2022.

After considering another late morning spin for 3 or 4 more Thursday, I decided against, and readied for a planned New Year’s Eve hike up Belvidere Mountain in Lowell, Vt. The day off and the hiking day will leave the ledger at 1,000.5, nearly identical to the 1,000.2 earned in 2020.

What’s next you ask?

Of course, you know the answer to that. T-minus 36 hours until the ledger resets and 1,000 more miles await. See you on the roads, trails, treadmills or tracks.

Happy New Year.


Tom’s Thousand Mile Notebook

States: New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, California.

Gear: On Cloudflow (three pairs), Altra Lone Peak trail shoes, Salomon Sense Pro 3 trail shoes, Nathan hydration backpack, Garmin Forerunner 35 watch.

Running Buddies: Saratoga Stryders Running Club, Old Batch Runamuck Bourbon Chase team, West Sixth Running Club, iRun Local Running Club, Cc Larner, Joe Clancy, Sean Clancy, Ryan Clancy, Nolan Clancy, Patrick Wilson, Dave Burns, Staci Snider, Stacy Rigano, Eric Kennedy, Rick Potts, Rick Jordan, Dean Marcum, Charlie O’Connell, Treyvon King, Rafael Zambrano, Mary Hill, Nathan Hill, Marnie Owen.

Longest Run: 15 miles, Red River Gorge Ultra Trail 25K (ish), Dec. 5.

Shortest Run: 1.1 miles, home to office to pick up car. Sept. 5.

Races: 7 (Burlington Half Marathon Unplugged, Big Turtle 10-Mile Trail, Black Fly In Your Eye 15K Trail, Groton Forest 10K Trail, Bourbon Chase, Jarred Williams Turkey Trot 10K, Red River Gorge Ultra 25K Trail).

High Mileage Month: December, 134.3.

Low Mileage Month: July, 29.8.

Best Run: Pre’s Trail, 4.4 miles. Eugene, Oregon, Sept. 20.

Longest Streak: 15 days, Nov. 13-27 (87.2 miles).

Longest Break: 11 days, July 8-18.

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