Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Face of Daily Mile

As seen on the daily mile community blog - Jan 18, 2011

When you look into the mirror what do you see?  The question is simple enough yet difficult to answer.

This question came to me as I discussed how to write this post with a friend today.  The subject of our chat was Daily Mile and why we “love” it so dearly.  We all have different reasons for using this website as evidenced by today’s #dailymission (Jan 12, 2011).  Some of the members use the site’s map feature.  Many of the members use the workout log to track all sorts of data including miles traveled and donuts “burned”.  While countless others, like me, use Daily Mile as a social network.  The connections created with other members and posts shared unrelated to exercise amongst us DMers give Daily Mile a life and energy I have not found anywhere else.  The friends I have here may not be “real” in the flesh-and-blood sense of my immediate family or people I encounter daily around town, but the population of Daily Mile is as real and true and open as any people I have ever met.

Someone asked me about the “faces” of Daily Mile. As if a blue ribbon committee were to chisel out the Mt Rushmore of Daily Mile who would make the cut? How do you decide from the thousands of people who populate this site? There are so many stories to consider. There are so many personalities to sift through and so many achievements great and small to recognize.

Picking one person would prove fruitless and probably cause more than a few arguments. Yet I think here is where the beauty of Daily Mile can be found. It has something for everyone, from the seasoned marathoner to the first-time jogger. Even walkers, swimmers, bikers and triathletes have a place here. All you need is a goal you find worthwhile, even if your goal is merely to get off the couch for 30 minutes.

I love how Daily Mile gives a voice to the masses. Each posted workout, note, photo or video is a window into someone's mind. Each post has the potential to reveal a fragment of the person. And these fragments may be pieced together to reveal a truly personal portrait. We present opportunities to laugh, cry, cheer, console, empathize and sit in awe of the human spirit.

Daily Mile is not about exercise alone.  And it has little to do with athletic achievement.  Whether Ben or Kelly realizes it, the mission of Daily Mile is to allow its members to discover themselves and to love themselves.  It enables each of us to see us as we are and to reveal the potential locked within.

After I wrote about my “Prediction Run” on New Year’s Day a reader commented on my blog.  She said that while I often remark on my old self-image as a turtle she sees her “future self”.  She sees in me someone full of confidence and enthusiasm and desire.  She wants to “be” that person.  Her comment reminded me that perspective is powerful.  How we want to see ourselves often sets our course.

The acknowledgement is that life is not always rosy or perfect. Not every run is the planned length or projected pace. Not every workout is pain free or effortless. “Real life” often creeps in and slows us down. Even I wonder at times if that next run means anything. Shouldn't I be doing something more productive with my time and energy? Running does not pay bills. Running does not cook dinner or sort the laundry or get the kids ready for school in the morning. What running does give me is a glimpse into my soul. It provides me with peace of mind no drug can replicate. It is more therapeutic than any session in counseling. Running is my safety valve.

You can succumb to the pressure and give up on your dreams or you can be epic in your goals and ambitions.

What my time on this site has revealed is there is no “face” of Daily Mile.  When I look in the mirror I see myself of course.  I see what I have become through my sweat and toil and efforts in the heat of summer and dead of winter.  I also see what I once was (and maybe still am in some recesses of my mind) and understand that this process is not a solitary one.  Daily Mile is not just about logging workouts or socializing with like-minded people from various points on a map.  It is about unlocking your potential and learning to love yourself. 

There is no single “voice” of Daily Mile.

The common thread of Daily Mile is HEART.

Heart cannot be measured in miles or pace times or race victories. Heart is measured by how much is given in setting and reaching otherwise impossible goals. Heart is measured by the ferocity of the fighter. And after this week there is no underestimating the fight within the Daily Miler.

We fall so that we learn to get up. We struggle so that we learn to overcome. We fail so that we learn to succeed.

I asked one of my dearest friends this afternoon what she sees when she looks in the mirror.  I wanted her to consider what part of her enables her to love herself.  There was no prodding or direction given on my part.  Her answer was that she loves how she does not give up pursuing what she wants; what she deems worthwhile. 

So when you look in the mirror do you see something worthwhile?  I ask because when I consider the face of Daily Mile, I see you.

At the end of the day my mama told me don't let no one break me.
At the end of the day nobody ever could stop me.
At the end of the day you can't regret it if you were trying.
At the end of the day I'm walking with the heart of a lion.
     -Kid Cudi, Heart of a Lion


  1. I love this article. It's a great tribute to Daily Mile and the feeling it gives of every individual makes an impact.