The theme for the last 20 days has been centered around the fact that we are almost to Coney Island. “Only” 1,000 miles to go! “Only” 750 miles to go! “Only” 500 miles to go!
I guess the good news is that mathematically speaking, we are almost done. Or as a friend phrased it in an email, “600 miles is a heck of a lot shorter than you have already run.” The other positive is that each day’s progress is more tangible. The difference between 68 days to go and 67 days to go is not noticeable. But the difference between 11 days to go and 10 days to go is significant.
Racing the mile in high school, I would hear, “C’mon Kyle, you’re almost done,” and know that I had about 75 seconds of running left. But with this journey, “almost done” means something completely different. Below is a list of some of the ways those two words have been used and a brief statement putting the phrase into perspective.
1,000 miles to go: “Kyle, you’re almost done!” (Almost done= 25 days of waking up and running 40 miles.)
750 miles to go: “Kyle, you’re almost done!” (In a normal training schedule, it would take me six months or more to cover that distance. Almost done means covering that in 2.5 weeks.)
5:00 pm: “Kyle, you’re almost done for the day!” (Almost done= taking another 20,000 steps.)
11:45 am: “Kyle, finish your food. You’re almost done.” (Almost done= a can of beef stew, bread, chips, an apple, Mike n Ikes, and milk. Most of this goes uneaten.)
500 miles to go: “Kyle, you’re almost done!” (Almost done= I have to run across the state of Pennsylvania.)
5:14 am: “Kyle, you’re almost done sleeping.” Okay, no one really says that. (Almost done= 60 seconds until my mom yells at me to get up.)
It has been easy for me to get ahead of myself this summer, and relying on the second wind that comes from anticipating the finish is not enough to carry me through another week or even another afternoon of running. The only day that matters is the current day. The only mile that matters is the current mile. The only step that matters is the step in front of you. Or as a friend that I ran with last week put it, “Enjoy the milestone, and then put your head down and keep going.”
So that’s what I’m trying to do these last few days— just put my head down and take it one mile at a time. I usually fail, but I keep trying. And even though I get upset that the skyline of New York isn’t visible every time I feel like we are almost done, I know that each Eastward step is one step closer to removing “almost” from that two-word phrase.