My father in law accomplished something incredible last week.
He ran around the world.
Google states that the distance around the world is 24,901 miles around the Equator. If you consider that there are many, many marathoners and extreme runners out there, you might realize that lots of people have probably, in fact, run around the world.
This fact though does nothing to diminish Frank’s accomplishment. His feat is amazing because of both how it began and the fact that he knows it. To say that this man kept meticulous records would be an understatement.
Frank began running in 1973. He had just quit smoking and was motivated to get in shape. He would drive to the high school track, run around it once and drive back home. Not exactly the stuff of elite running.
But he did begin logging his runs from the start. For this reason, he knows that for the first six years, he only averaged 60 miles. Had he maintained his pace, it would have taken him 400 years to make it around the world.
Over time, though, Frank began running not driving to the track and in time he left the track all together. Eventually, he was averaging 600 miles per year. Now, when we go to the beach as a family, Frank, who originally ran 60 miles in a year, strives to run 30 miles during that one week. Not a bad improvement.
Frank’s 259 pages of records include the following for each run: temperature, time of day, final heart beat, distance, total time and my personal favorite, amount of change found on the street during that run.
The picture above, for example, was taken at the Ridgewood Memorial Day 10K Run in 1985, the first time Frank “ran his age”. He ran the race in 43 minutes at the age of 43.
While the records are clearly complete, for a long time, Frank only added the monthly totals once a year. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he realized he had the chance to run around the globe before his 80th birthday.
And then he became a man with a goal. Why 80 when there was another big birthday fast approaching? This past January, Frank realized he only had 270 miles to go. So he ran and he ran and he ran.
And on my birthday, Frank made his way around the globe. One month before his 70th birthday.
I love this story. It is the story of determination and goal setting.
It is also the story of writing things down. I find myself wondering how many amazing accomplishments and milestones go unnoticed simply because we fail to document them.
So take this story and run or read or write. But pay attention to what you are doing. And keep a record of it. Who knows what we could all do with a little more attention.