Christmas Thoughts from a Runner

It’s always this time of year that I try and reflect on the things from thru-out the year, for which I’ve been grateful. The yearly list of grateful for me still includes a few big ones like my family and friends, my physical health, and having the ability to be able to do the things I love which include of course running. As I was specifically thinking about being grateful, it occurred to me that having a gratefulness perspective to running has largely been in part to preventing my own burn out with it. And that even after times of disappointment say after a race not going like I had hoped and planned, or a workout seeming to get the best of me, I’ve still been able to find some way to bring my mental perspective back around. It takes some effort sometimes but usually, I’m able to realize that the sun is still going to come up tomorrow and that I have the ability to have another opportunity at keeping running as the best friend I’ve always honored and cherished. Here are a few candid highs and lows that I’ve discovered this year in running. These are my “Christmas Thoughts from a Runner”.

My Lows

It’s hard for me to even come back to rehash these mentally, as I had made peace with them and moved on. But I will for the sake of acknowledging my growth from the experiences probably more mentally and spiritually, than physically.

  • Training my a$$ off to try and qualify (for a 2nd time) with a time qualifying standard for the New York City Marathon. New York City Marathon time qualifying standards are almost 15 minutes faster than Boston, however you can qualify with a half or a full marathon time. I ran a 1:32:06 half marathon at the Sturgis Falls 1/2 Marathon, and after crossing the finish line came to find out that the course was only 12.25 miles and had to be un certified due to flooding in the area and course changes the night before.
  • Running and training for the Chicago Marathon with my old friend and running bestie, who had to run an unofficial race (only popping in and out for segments of the marathon) due to an extremely herniated disc, which ended up resulting in surgery shortly after the race. Running a marathon together was on our friends bucket list but ended up evolving a little differently than we had planned.
  • Experiencing an older 40 year old runner’s body and having to work even harder to go after the paces that used to seem much easier. Not to mention, recovery that seems to now take twice as long.
  • Being intimidated with starting this running blog and podcast. Going thru thoughts of self-doubt, legitimacy of feeling just in sharing my experiences and opinions, and the trepidation in finding my own truth thru sharing candid experiences and high and lows just like today’s post.

The Highs

  • Not gonna lie, I had experienced initial mourning after putting in all the hard work prior to my 2nd attempt at trying to qualify for NYC and having something so completely out of my control, get in the way of my goal. I had to do a serious self-check and bring myself back to some perspective. I had to figure out how to be grateful for the experience so that I could make peace with it, learn from it, and move on. What I came up with was an immense appreciation at having the physical ability to be able to even have the opportunity to go thru the process and journey of training. My appreciation made me realize that had I not had the physical ability to run, then perhaps I would not have an outlet that I can get lost in, find myself thru, and dream towards the future with. I was able to have being grateful for my physical ability to run completely humble me and help set me straight again on what truly matters in the world. Things like being physically healthy.
  • The Chicago Marathon – my friend and I’s first aim was to run a marathon together. The second goal which kinda came about secondarily was that we picked the Girls on the Run charity as a way to be able to run the Chicago Marathon last fall. As we progressed in the training and mileage, so too did her excruciating back pain and symptoms from a herniated disc. One thing snowballed into the next and we were confronted with a less than ideal race morning of trying to decide how to at least start and finish the first few miles of the marathon together. We were lucky to get in a few extra smaller stints in between too. The silver lining of all of it was that we each raised $1500 for the Girls on the Run charity and again were reminded that the gift of running can start at such a young age. At an age where girls need positive influences of character building coaches and lessons learned thru the metaphor of running and training for a 5k goal. Girls even in Chicago, that may really need the after-school program or are scholarship granted their registration costs to participate. We also, are so lucky to have even found that needle in a haystack running partner and opportunity to be able to experience the dream together. Again, self-check!
  • I turned 40 this year. I would say that my body has been showing me signs of needing more attention in terms of how to remain a healthy distance runner for the last couple of years, but this year seemed so poignant with the message of choosing intentions wisely with this next running chapter. The numbers 4-0 in my mind and matching with what my bodies been whispering to me, has forced me to research more information on how to combat inflammation with diet choices, the importance of stretching and yoga, how to appreciate cross training days when I’m not actively training for a race. Which brings me to the last bullet point high…blogging and podcasting.
  • As many of you know already, you tend to really get to know yourself and ask yourself some deeper philosophical questions when you’re logging lots of miles and spending lots of solitary time while running. I had spent some soul searching days, weeks, months after my experience with the Boston Marathon asking myself what running really means to me. And more importantly in what ways will I live myself as examples that I refuse not to take running for granted. What I came up with, albeit a little scary and intimidating for me, was to share what I could with others. I’ve been coaching young girls cross country for seven years now and have enjoyed giving back that way, but just as I learn so much from listening, learning about and observing other’s running relationships and journeys, I hope that by sharing my own others can find motivation, inspiration, and positive karma and meaning for their own experience. *(read “How to Be a Zen Runner”)
Coaches Corner Friday – How to Be a Zen Runner

What does this mean for 2019?

I will continue going after new and old goals! I will continue trying to find ways to pay it forward, give back, inspire others, share motivation, and just be grateful for running! And lastly, I will try to keep this old body chuggin’ along to find new experiences, continue learning thru the sport, and taking on new challenges. Cheers to 2018 and the hopes for what 2019 may be!!

I Want to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback!

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