Recaps and Reflections
I began this year with an ambitious race schedule and a severe injury. Despite my early injury, which relegated me to an elliptical, a boot, and weekly physical therapy for nearly two months, I still managed to toe the start line of 13 races and see the finish line of 10 of those races. There were weekends this summer when, between travel and actual race time, I felt like I was literally living out of a car. While it was a hectic year, both in training and racing, I would not change any of it. I had the privilege of running in some breathtaking places, I met many new people, I solidified priceless friendships, and I learned a lot about myself.
1) I learned that, regardless of running companions or atmosphere, I do not like running road for any substantial distance. I learned that my heart belongs to the trail
2) I learned that there is, in fact, such a thing as too much racing. Racing takes its toll on a person, both physically and mentally. I ended my year with two injuries, which resulted in a DNF, and breaking into tears mid race at two marathons because I couldn't handle the thought of racing any further.
3) I learned that, if I just give my body a chance, I am capable of surpassing any of my expectations. I learned that sleep and rest are just as important as box jumps, squats, intervals, and PT.
4) I learned to run in the dark and to be comfortable running long distances alone.
5) I learned that I can navigate trail and that I am not helpless. I learned that I can get myself to the finish line.
6) I learned that a road paved with crap mileage does not lead to a finish line.
7) I learned that, no matter how hard you train and no matter how much you want something, sometimes it isn't enough.
8) I learned to to try again.
9) I learned that you should never be afraid to start over or to learn.
10) I learned to focus on the things I can control and to let go of those I can't. I learned to adapt.
11) I learned what it feels like to race with purpose and what it feels like to race without it. I learned the pain of not caring.
12) I experienced the heartbreak and disappointment of defeat.
13) I experienced the indescribable feeling of accomplishment.
14) I learned what it means to truly dig deep, to take one more step and breathe one more breath when you don't think you have one more step or one more breath left.
15) I learned that, alone or with a group, I always have friends running with me. I cannot count the number of texts, tweets, Facebook posts, and phone calls that I have received during training runs and races this year.
To those who drove me to physical therapy and gave me chocolate, who supported me during races and dried my tears after them, to those who climbed mountains with me and held my hand when I couldn't climb any longer, to those who encouraged me to try again: thank you.