The end of a year rolling into the beginning of a new one is always a funny, anxiety-driven time for me.
I love fresh starts, new pages, white walls, early mornings — I mean, I’m a runner and a Virgo, after all. But, I tend to struggle with the feeling of having “it all pass by too quickly” and “gone in the blink of an eye” and don’t get me started on “time flies when you’re having fun”. I’m the girl that cried the week before the New York City Marathon because I was already sad it was going to be over.
This year was brutal on new levels. I’d go into a quick list, but there is no such thing. On a macro-level, we as humans, have a lot to figure out. On the micro, I think I figured some stuff out — some that has to do with this hobby of mine, some doesn’t. I’ll do my best to seamlessly weave them, though.
Working hard isn’t a punishment
The training cycle for the New York City Marathon was a real game changer for me. I had a real training plan, with real people on the other side of the work-outs. I had accountability and a fire under my (broken) butt to get to start line and finish line healthy and happy.
My training called for a lot of long runs in mental and physical terrority I had always avoided. There were early mornings at the track, there was tempo paces I had never hit. Insert heavy sigh here. And, a year ago, insert every valid and invalid excuse, too. But the biggest excuse – and the most honest – was that I truly felt I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t run a mile that fast, and then do it again.
Call me corny, but after the year I had, I was sick of being my own underdog. I was going to do it, and I was going to suck if I had to.
I began running races as “races” not “fun runs”
I had goals, and actually, come to think of, I don’t think I hit a single one. But I came damn close, and I worked hard.
This year, I realized that working hard, whether on the track, or at 5:30AM on Saturday, or behind a desk, or in the depths of your brain — isn’t some kind of evil torture. It’s kinda awesome.
Competition is a dance with the devil
We’re all here chasing down numbers, and racing the clock. But whether it’s beating the woman behind me in my age group, or refreshing my Instagram to see how many likes I got, or actually truly competing with Yesterday’s Me vs Today’s Me – that shit can just be the ultimate fun sucker.
I’ve caught myself in the comparison trap way more than I’ll admit, and I’d love to say it was strictly to the hobby jogging part of my life. Somewhere between checking someone’s race times online and comparing my shade of blonde to another girl’s vs the control variable of perfection on the Jennifer Aniston blonde scale I realized, shit – this is not fun at all. And I stopped, kinda.
I still want to be “better than yesterday” and I still want to have enough disposable income to go to see Hamilton and I still want to be sponsored by Brooks, but – I have it pretty good. And that feels pretty good.
Loss is permanent
As I mentioned somewhere on here, last year I lost my grandfather. He was my dearest friend and the love of my life. In many ways I’m very lucky. I experienced my first real loss at 26, and my grandfather was able to see me grow up, have a great job, a loving home and he even met (and approved of/adored) Bennett. All those things don’t erase that loss is really hard. Loss and grief are impossible to figure out, no matter how many tears you cry, how many hours you therapy it out, how many miles you run. That void is unavoidable.
This year I realized that that pit is permanent. I don’t cry every week anymore, but when I do, I cry hard. And then I pick myself up, knowing that it’ll happen again. Sometime.
It’s also really, really good to be happy in those moments in between. Whatever loss you’re grieving, it’s okay to smile, laugh, run, travel, explore, change, and, dare I say it, forget. Because that last one doesn’t last long, anyway.
I like Ed Sheeran (and I don’t care who knows it!!!!!)
- He is the man that ran me into the New York City Marathon finish line with Castle on the Hill, and this lil ginger snap has stolen my heart. “I’m on my wayyyyyyyyy” all the way up that last hill. FULL BODY CHILLS.
Here’s to having this face all the way through 2018