I do not like the treadmill, Sam I Am. The treadmill, aka dreadmill, aka Devil’s Sidewalk (my personal favorite) serves a purpose, to be sure. Living with the Midwestern weather extremes, the ability to just go downstairs and get some work in is awfully handy. Still, it’s not something I like doing.

First off, I’m always concerned that I will stride off the back end and I will end up like a cartoon character.

Second, I feel like I’m not getting anywhere on the mill. When I’m on the road, the trails (which I don’t do nearly often enough), or even the short track at my gym, there’s a feeling of progress, of accomplishment. Even if I’m running the same course every day, there are the landmarks along the way.

On the mill, I’ve tried watching TV, movies, listening to music (this is a must-have!)… The distraction helps for a bit but I quickly fall back to just grinding in place. Like most of this fitness journey, of course, this is a mental game, an internal battle.

I spent a good part of December locked into three simultaneous challenges. I over-committed myself to the Holiday Streakers (intentional exercise every day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day), a Spartan burpee challenge (150/day was my pledge), and 100 intentional miles/month (24th month in a row!). While this locked me into logging burpees and miles most days, the mill made this workable. I would do a couple minutes, then a round of burpees, rinse and repeat.

Here’s the thing – all the while I “wasn’t getting anywhere”? That wasn’t really true.

Where Have I Been?

2018 was a pretty amazing year for me; I will be the first to tell you how lucky I am. I got to run along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as running in 10 states and 4 time zones. I ran in the middle of the night (hello, Ragnar!) and the middle of the day, and in just about any type of weather. I hung out with harbor seals, bison, and of course with so many wonderful sharks.

I met some amazing new friends, and finally got to meet some “old friends” in person for the first time. Our 1DOS Foundation took flight, and in December we selected our first fitness scholarship recipient. This Tiburon Titan is the first of (hopefully) many who we will help on their fitness journeys.

Financial constraints can make this a tough row to hoe; there are plenty of people out there who are looking to make a living off the wellness issues of others. Even the legit providers and options cost money, and if you have to choose between rent and the gym – it’s a pretty easy call.

Where Will We Go Next?

2019 will be an exciting year, personally and for the Foundation. The terrific sharks taking on the Dopey Challenge in January will set the tone for the year. Our mighty Tiburon is joining us for her introductory challenge, as well. There are races on the calendar, and more to come!

It won’t always be easy, of course. We will face days when we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere. It’s the same old grind, no progress or landmarks in sight. When you find yourself tired, not wanting to do the work, please remember my words:

Be patient, Grasshopper. Know that the payoff is not just about numbers on the scale. It may take some time, and your journey will be different from mine or anyone else’s.

You may lose inches but gain pounds (truth – muscle IS heavier than fat).

You may find people you thought of as friends who back away (truth – their issue is with themselves, not with you).

Remember that every day is about progress, not perfection – and you will never swim alone! Keep plugging away. In a week, or a month, or a year, you will look up and be amazed at all the places you have gone.

*Oh, The Places You’ll Go is copyrighted. I do not own any of the rights to this image or title.