It’s All About Embracing the Grind
Celebrating a milestone, finishing a big project, or taking part in a significant event are all worthy of celebration. Life is set up that way. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. We recognise and reward people for a project well done. When someone runs their first Comrades marathon or their tenth, we honour them for their achievement. The detail in between is taken for granted. That daily grind is where all the magic is.
I’m reflecting on my experience of counting days. Saying it like that sounds strange. Today is day 1,141 since I started counting. Today is not a milestone or a special day. There is nothing about it that feels like a big achievement. It is just another day. It’s Friday. I ran 12km with Bruce.
We had a conversation about how I like to cook chicken stir-fry wraps. We decided not to walk at the top of the hills and run non-stop. We ran slower than yesterday. We had coffee afterwards. It was just another day in the grind of wanting to be better.
Being better is about getting stronger, faster, fitter, leaner, healthier, and somehow trying to hold back the ever-rising tide of ageing. What I took for granted in my twenties is now front of my mind every day and is part of my motivation for #runeveryday. Recording a run in my spreadsheet is how I count the days. It is how I see each one for what it is — another day, stacked up on top of yesterday and ready to take the load of tomorrow.
Counting the days is like seeing each one and not allowing it to pass without being noticed. This morning, at the start of our run, I noticed that the days are already getting shorter. There is less light on the horizon at half-past five. The march towards running with a headlamp on a cold winter’s morning flashed through my mind, and I felt a twinge of sadness. That flash was fleeting because today is bright and warm. As we set off, the joy of counting another day returned.
Counting days and “seeing” each one acts as a placeholder. A placeholder that anchors the day in what might normally be a string for forgettable days, buried in a series of weeks that by next month will be inaccessible to my random-access memory. Even finding it in the hard drive might prove difficult, especially when they all look the same. The placeholder of counting a run acts as a memory tag.
Looking back on the days is like visiting an old friend. “Remember on that day we ran in the rain. And that one, we got lost on that new trail route. Oh, wow, that day I ran a mile with a sprained ankle.”
The cliché of “making each day count” seems so trite, yet having the experience of counting days, where each day counts towards something bigger than itself, is oddly rewarding. It feels like a contribution towards something more significant than I can understand.
Today was another day in the grind, and I am embracing it as being as important as any other day. Without today, tomorrow can’t happen, and I want tomorrow to happen.