1,000 Miles

1,000 Miles

The new year always comes with its slew of resolutions, intentions, goals and other optimistic planning for the coming cycle around the sun. With the clamor comes the loud chatter by those who despise the idea of the whole concept, alternatively espousing the idea that every day is an opportunity to begin anew, or that there is no need to give in to the capitalist aesthetic that is constantly bettering oneself. 

I don’t know where I fall on this spectrum and can be inspired by each point depending on the day, hour or state of mind. This time around I found that the nonexistent interim between this year and last provided time for reflection. The calendar year always seems to end in a hectic rush. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve, the preparation for and carrying-out-of countless parties and get-togethers, no matter how casual, create a relentless, anticipatory, nervous energy. 

After the rush settled, slow moments filled the void and reflection bubbled to the surface. 

On the last morning of 2022, a dreary, rainy affair, I had found myself parked at Lake Junaluska. The clouds lay heavy on the cool, bare mountains that surround the icy lake, all of it melding into a soft blue gray. Soon enough two cars full of my favorite people pulled in and departed from their vehicles with the quiet energy of early morning. Three other runners and two bikers. Together we were about to embark on an easy 8 miles that would carry us to a big milestone — our first time running 1000 miles during one calendar year. 

That is to say, at mile 8 I would reach 1000 miles; Liz and Megan would reach over 1,300. (If you are a human who was alive in 2002 and you’re wondering… the answer is yes, yes we did sing “1,000 Miles” by Vanessa Carlton as we finished our run.)

Our biking companions talked to us and played music. We ran slowly and enjoyed the rain when it began to fall with more insistence. It was the perfect celebration for a year well spent. A year that, like the clouds above us that morning, was heavy, dripping with big moments and wild adventures. Many of those adventures were fueled by running itself, others by the bliss of existing in a world that had slowed its pace and accessibility for two years prior. The big moments were those that come and go no matter what the rest of the world is doing — marriages, births, deaths, pregnancies, new beginnings of all sorts. 

Related Items

Now, after an imperceptible transition into this new year, our family is preparing for one of the most important things that will ever happen to any of us. And while it seems impossible to really be ready for what’s coming, we are leaning in with all the love and energy we have — the type of energy that is hard to contain, liable to slip out in bouts of laughter or tears or shouts of reckless abandon. 

Everyone has their own designs for the new year, wishes and ambitions. I understand how lucky I am to say that I’m hoping for more of the same. More time with the people I love. More miles and more good food. More adventure, slow moments, firsts, lasts when they are needed. More highs and more courage to face the lows, more investigation into what really matters.

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.