I was intrigued when I read about Mark Zuckerberg’s “A Year of Running” plan, calling for people to run one mile a day in 2016. Some people – judging by the comments on social media – found it to be silly, asking what one mile could really do to get someone in shape. Yet others felt it could be inspiring and serve to motivate the masses into action, or in this case, activity.
I tend to agree with them.
When I moved home to the Bay Area from New York in February 2015, leaving behind my job to be near ailing relatives, I dealt with the massive life change in a way that seemingly made the most sense to me: I went hiking.
The trails offered me a chance to absorb the change in a less shocking way. I’d escape into the woods for a day, hitting the trails hard – almost running up to the summits – to help me take it all in (the views and the change). As I saw my times get faster on one of my iPhone apps (MapMyHike), I decided to turn my one-mile walks to the local subway (BART) to and from work into supplemental training for my hikes, hoping that each quick stride would help bring my times down.
Obsessed? Yes. Did it help? Indeed.
As the summer turned into fall, I clocked more and more miles via my ‘commute’ walks in addition to all of my ‘weekend warrior’ hikes. Even 0.8 of a mile was for me an opportunity to train.
As I plotted hike after hike (and ones that were increasingly difficult) in places like Sam McDonald County Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, McNee Ranch State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, it slowly dawned on me that I was losing weight. My two pairs of identical jeans – each in a different size – were too big.
I didn’t have a weight loss goal. But two days ago, I weighed in at 9.4 pounds lighter than when I arrived back to the Bay Area, and I am grateful to have shed some extra weight.
Did one mile make a difference? Did it help me to believe that I could climb higher mountains and hike for longer distances? It sure did. On Monday, as I was updating my weight log on MapMyHike with my new number, I saw these totals from when I started to register my training:
- 445 miles clocked over 137 hours, and
- 76,600 calories burned
One mile may seem short, but it sure can take you a long way.
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