As the start of a new year approaches I’ve been thinking back on where my running has taken me over the past one. Where did I start last January and what were my goals? Did I achieve them?
I ran less in 2013 than any year before it since 2005. I only hung four new race medals on the wall in the office above the bookshelf where we keep them. I lost fifteen pounds and gained most of it back. I didn’t set any personal records.
Do you think that sounds depressing? Me too, when I put it like that, which leads me down the thought train of what I did accomplish in my running.
I put the GARMIN aside for most of the year, and instead ran based on how it felt. I left the headphones home more often and instead listened to my breathing and my thoughts. I made peace with the fact that there will be times in my life where running simply has to take a temporary back seat. I planned two new running events with my co-race director husband, and most important of all…welcomed grandchild number two into the world.
I gained a new appreciation on what it means to be sans aches, pains or nagging tight spots. I remembered what it’s like to walk down a flight of stairs without at least a half-hearted protest from my knees. I kept my long run base at ten miles. I realized that I miss training for marathons and that I appreciate the role running plays in my life even more now than ever.
Maybe 2013 was my year to spend some time re-evaluating. I did that and what I found out was that while running is an integral part of who I am, it’s in no way my sole connection to my identity. I renewed my vows to run as long and as far as my legs will take me until they simply won’t anymore. I found out I don’t lose my abilities when I run less and realized it’s even harder to keep off weight when I don’t run “enough.”
At the beginning of last year the only concrete goal I set for my running was to train for the August overnight relay I have the pleasure of running with a team of my high school alumni. I accomplished that and made invaluable memories in the process.
I’ve learned that setting smaller goals sometimes isn’t a bad thing.
In 2014 I plan to come back with a vengeance. Let the preparation for the Avenue of the Giants marathon in May commence January 1st. It’s time to put the training back in running, and also time to get reacquainted with my ice packs and Icy Hot.
Sometimes it takes a step back to reevaluate what is most important in life. While I did learn this last year that running is not the end all be all (all the time anyway) I also reaffirmed that I never want to live without it in my life.
Here’s to making, and accomplishing, your running goals in 2014. Whether they are lofty or relaxed, just try to make them attainable then try your best to reach them. If that means not setting any running goals for next year except maintaining a base, I’m here to say been there done that, and survived.