There’s No Better Time to Take on a New Challenge

By Jenna Schifferle

Fall sets the stage for perfect running conditions. The humidity dissipates and the leaves turn bold colors that are a delight to see. For some reason, the air feels lighter, easier to breathe. The possibilities seem endless. Coupled with pumpkin-spiced everything, this time of year always seems to put a little extra spring in my step.

With fall also comes the realization that 2021 is winding down. If you’re anything like me, you started the year a little shell-shocked from 2020 but remained hopeful for a better year. Perhaps you even set a few goals. With just a couple months left to go, we can now fully see the December deadline lingering in front of us before it passes by.

As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, my primary fitness goals for 2020 were to, firstly, run 30 miles for my 30th birthday and, secondly, run 2,021 miles in 2021. The first one I achieved. My second goal, however, is off track. I’ve hit the halfway point of my 2,021-miles journey, but with just a couple months to spare, there’s a chance I may not meet the mileage.

What I’ve come to learn over time is that sometimes goals and priorities shift. Right now, I’m more focused on building muscle in addition to the growing list of priorities in other areas of my life. And maybe that’s OK. I won’t abandon my mission to keep moving forward, but I may just adjust my sails and expectations. For the rest of the year, my new hope is to keep hitting the pavement each day. If I meet my goal, great. If not, then I’ll learn what I can and set a more reasonable goal next year.

As for making the most of the season, I’ll still be participating in some of my favorite races like the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and the Winter Warrior in January. There are a ton of great events that showcase the changing seasons, many of which involve getting dressed up in costumes or drinking copious amounts of hot cider. With in-person events occurring more often, there’s no better time to take on a new challenge. If you’re more comfortable, most races are also offering virtual options that come with the same great swag for you to enjoy.

For a complete calendar of race events in the Buffalo area, check out

Jenna Schifferle is a writer from Tonawanda. She’s running toward her goal of 2,021 miles this year, with a mission to do 30 miles for her 30th birthday.