TOTAL= 463.8 / 462 miles
The elves lit their lanterns and we began to walk in the starlight. And then... we made it to Lothlórien!!
I did it! From Hobbiton to Lothlórien in under a year! (Of course, the hobbits did it in under four months, including breaks, but I'm slightly less motivated than they were. Having the fate of the known world resting on your shoulders puts a little more pep in your step, surely!)
Now that I'm here, I'm not sure what the plan is for next year. I could continue on the path... The Fellowship breaks up into smaller groups, and I could follow along to either Isengard or Mt. Doom (484 or 470 miles).
I'm not sure how much value the Middle-Earth comparison adds, at this point. I've pretty much just walked when I felt like it. I haven't really pushed myself consistently-- but "mapping" the miles does give some type of goal, and in theory, that can be helpful to keep you moving. On the one hand, maybe I ought to set slightly more demanding "mini-goals" for myself; on the other, if I make it too taxing, I'll be more tempted to stop.
I'll probably set Isengard as my next goal and just keep doing what I've been doing, for now.