As you may have read in an earlier post, I have stopped chasing personal bests, for a number of reasons. This has allowed me to search for new challenges and opportunities, instead of the usual “run as much as I can and try to run as fast as I can” in days of yore.
One of my challenges that I have taken up recently is to try to run every road and street in both the town I live, Williamson, and the town I work, Irondequoit. I am 95% done with Williamson, and only need a few more stretches of road on the outskirts of town, but Irondequoit is proving more difficult. I only have so much time on my lunch break or before work, and many of the roads I need to hit up now require me to cross Ridge Rd and Rte 104, which can be tricky. But the challenge continues!
My newest addiction, though, is collecting things called Explorer Tiles. I found a website called StatsHunters that syncs with Strava, and provides a bunch of really useful and interesting information. The feature I like the best is calculating how many of these tiles you have. An Explorer Tile is a square drawn on a map, approximately 1 mile by 1 mile, and anytime a run crosses into a tile, you are counted as having visited that tile. There is an entire cycling community dedicated to riding every tile and trying to create the largest square of visited tiles; I appreciate their nerdiness and dedication!
I currently have 869 total tiles, with a max square of 10×10 (in blue). My goal for 2020 is to expand that square to 20×20. This will require me to run in new areas down by Honeoye Falls, Manchester, Farmington, Walworth, and Ontario. Already this year I have picked up nine new tiles, with plans for another 10 on Sunday.
This is the perfect challenge for me. It doesn’t require me to be super fit, and it allows me to visit new areas and run where I’ve never gone before. I also found that Kraig Connor is as much of a nerd as I am when it comes to this, and we are now both obsessed with marking off new tiles. Who knows what we will see on our journeys through undiscovered (for us) regions this year?