Why I Deleted my Daily Mile Account
I was accepted into an honors program my freshman year of college. It was a four year program, partially modeled after Oxford’s tutorial system. This means that through rigorous reading, discussion and writing guided by faculty, we focused our attention on wrestling with big questions found in the great books of the Western and Christian traditions. That first year, I read Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Augustine, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, etc…
It was an intense undergraduate honors program, where the discussions were Socratic in nature. There were no multiple-choice exams. The answers we sought – and often the questions we asked – were never black and white.
It was an incredible opportunity for learning…but I dropped out the end of the first year (of the honors program, not college). I just couldn’t rise to what was expected of me.
Looking back, I think my brain wasn’t wired then for the type of learning this program advanced. Instead, I thrived in memorizing the right answers and then being graded on what was appropriately cataloged in my recollection.
Fast forward to today, where my mind has been expanded by life experiences, not just in the knowledge of facts, but in the understanding of how I think. My potential for thinking ‘outside-the-box’ is vast. The boundaries of thought I once had are less fixed. In so many ways, I think bigger, deeper, and grander.
At 33 years of age, I’d love to once again be accepted into that college honors program. In fact, I think I’d be a star student.
Intellectual stagnation is scary, and I’m glad to recognize the evolution of my mind. What I find bizarre, however, is how closely I can relate what happened my first year of college to how I have matured as a life-runner.
I once plotted out my marathon and half marathon training schedules. With great precision, I tracked every mile and researched the drills needed in order to grow faster and stronger. Similar to how I began college, I liked the exactness of training. I liked the black and white approach. Do [insert drill or training plan] so many times a week and see improvement.
Fast forward to today, where my understanding of why I run has matured and developed in amazing ways. This is so, partly because instead of valuing myself as a runner based on the number of miles and calculated intensity of workouts, I now grasp how the parts of running and yoga and God and personal growth create within me a very happy, healthy whole. I even deactivated my Daily Mile account this week (seriously, even though I was doing a great deal of yoga, the weekly miles of *ZERO* were bugging me and messing with my “am-I-still-a-runner” thought process).
Yes, I still run. But these days – this year anyway – I see racing, not as the desired end result, but running as complementary to my overarching desire to be at peace within my soul.
I wonder if there is a running honors program…