By the Numbers

4 days until the Patagonia Marathon.

342. That’s how many miles I’ve logged in preparation for Saturday’s race. Honestly, that doesn’t feel like enough.

160. That’s how many dollars I paid for my overpriced (?) backpack. I wanted to roll into Chile towing a traditional suitcase, but there seems to be an unspoken rule that if you’re traveling overseas, you must cart all your belongings around on your back. I don’t think it matters whether you’re summiting Everest or picking out trinkets in Prague. You gotta strap yourself in and suck it up like every other passport-carrying tourist bound for exotic lands. Fanny packs and Birkenstocks optional.

As far as an “I-only-used-it-one-time” purchase goes, I’m pretty pleased with the pack. Its attractive color scheme allows me to exude just the right degree of outdoorsy adventurer without betraying the fact that I’m a total poser. And there’s absolutely no pressure to utilize any of its fancy features because I can barely make out where my arms are supposed to be.

10. Those are the additional miles I’d like to run before boarding the plane tomorrow night. It’ll boost my confidence and make me feel like a teeny-tiny bit of a bad ass.

Which is peanuts compared to …

2,190. That’s the entire distance of the Appalachian Trail, a feat Karl the “Speedgoat” Meltzer covered just two days ago when he broke the record with a time of 45 days, 22 hours, 38 minutes. He’s been an ultra-marathoner since 1996, so he’s been chasing his dream for 20 years—fueled by Red Bull, candy bars, and bacon. Seriously.

Day in, day out, bit by bit. That’s something I’m going to remember as I thread my way through the majestic mountains of South America, slugging out my own 26.2 and chipping away at my goals.

Twenty years from today, which dreams do you plan to be crushing?

5 thoughts on “By the Numbers

    1. Kristy

      You are amazing!! I hope you have a fantastic time and that you find you love the new backpack! Happy trails and your a bad ass with or without the last 10 miles!


  1. Richard Anderson

    Janel, I am loving reading your posts. You are quite the writer. You are either on your way, or have arrived in Chile. Send emails when you can. We are both wishing you the best. Have a great time.


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