I didn’t write a 2013 recap. I’m working hard on looking forward. However, I can’t look forward and write this post as it is meant to be written without acknowledging something from 2013.
When I entered my last five-mile-run of 2013 yesterday and pulled up my numbers for the year, my jaw dropped. 802.2 miles? Me? I mean, I knew I ran every step of those miles. I was present and accounted for, minus those times — especially during races — when I looked at the mile marker sign and said, “Wait, what? Where did the last two miles go?” I ran 160.4 miles in 2012. That’s a significant increase. Not one ounce of me thought when I started 2013 that I would run over 800 miles. Eight. Hundred. Miles.
But it’s a new year. And now my running stats for the year look like this.
Wide open. What am I going to do with all that space?
First and foremost, I’m going for a three-mile-run this afternoon to finish off my participation in the Runner’s World RunStreak. Depending on my leftover tenths of a mile, that will bring my total for the Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day running streak to 61.61 miles. As I said, I ran a lot of one milers due to travel and work and life in general, but I ran everyday for 35 days. Everyday. It just blows my mind.
I feel grateful for what running brought to me in 2013. I found myself somewhere out there on the endless stretch of road, somewhere in the middle of a grueling hill, a long run, a hot day, a frigid wind, an early morning, a dusk run, a thunderstorm, a dance of snow flurries. I saw myself for who I was, who I am, who I might become. Running didn’t just change my physical body: Running changed everything about me. For the first time ever, I caught a glimpse of what my raw determination really looks like, what it can accomplish if put to the test. I’ve known about my determination, my stubbornness, for years — but what has it ever done for me? With real, tangible evidence as to my persistence and grit, I took a long, hard look at myself. And smiled.
Some aspects of 2013 were hard. I struggled to make sense of things that don’t make much sense. I fought for words, for clarity, for understanding, for friendships. I lost some of the battles. But with a greater understanding of who I
might very well be am, I came through the thick of it with some semblance of joy and a deep desire to do so much more for others. Running centers me, physically and forcefully reminds me to breathe slow and deep. I like who I am better in the dawning days of 2014 than I probably ever have; I’m not perfect, and some days I still think, “What the heck am I doing? I’ll never get this thing called life right. I’m not worth it.” But then I go for a run, breathe, and remember who I am, who I have been, who I might yet become. I am worth it, whatever it means.
In 2014, I will run my first full marathon: The Pittsburgh Marathon on May 4, 2014. Training started on Monday, and I feel giddy and excited and ready to tackle the hills and valleys — both literal and mental — as I work toward this goal. I chose Pittsburgh for several reasons. Mainly, if I only run one full marathon ever, I want it to be my hometown. I fully acknowledge that the course is challenging, but I can’t imagine marking that achievement anywhere else. I also hope to run the Columbus (Half) Marathon again in October as that particular race just rocked my socks off in 2013. I already think I prefer the 13-mile distance, but I would venture to guess everyone says that before running a full marathon. We’ll see what happens.
Do I have other goals for the year? Of course I do. I’m still shaking out what some of them mean, what they will look like, what I even care to really accomplish personally and professionally. But as I look forward to this blank canvas of a new year, I feel stronger for what I accomplished and endured last year. I can only hope to feel this optimistic at this time next year.
Happy New Year!