Some people I know hate when a new year rolls around. They hate the passing of the time, they hate getting older. I, however, love it. Each day that passes in my life brings better and better things. Sure, there are the standard ups and downs. And my past is not full of unicorns and butterflies. I've had my fair share of bad things happen in my life, but I've long since realized that attitude is everything in this life.
2014 was pretty darn good, ladies and gentlemen. I set out with a goal to run 1200 miles for the year. I beat that goal by a tidy sum, racking up an even 1300 miles. I logged my biggest month of mileage in December with 171 miles. I ran (well, walked, ran, and zombie shuffled) my first ultra marathon. I finally got myself off the pavement and onto some trails. And in doing so, I've met some of the most inspiring people.
2014 was a year where I feel like I've actually found myself. I've come to a place where I am more open than I've ever been. I'm more confident, more focused. I still have moments where I struggle. I wouldn't be human if I didn't. But I can't think of a time in my past where I've been so wholly happy with the direction I'm going.
You all may be wondering how all this super personal stuff about me relates to running. Or maybe you've figured it out (because the people who read my blog are no dummies). It all relates to running. All of it. The way that running has challenged me, rewarded me, and fulfilled me, has changed me and all for the better. And the best part is the people. Seriously, the runners that I have met are some of the kindest, most patient, generous people I've ever encountered. I spent far too long feeling like I didn't fit in with "runners" because of my slower pace. But when I think back, not once did any other runner make me feel like I didn't belong. That was all in my head.
I want to give a special thank you to my friend Jamie for sticking out a four hour training run with me a few weeks ago. It was cold and wet, and I wasn't moving fast. But she didn't seem to mind it at all. I had never done a training run with someone else before. I probably apologized to Jamie for my pace about a hundred times. But she just stayed positive and supportive the whole time. While I have been at races with other people, we hang out at the beginning and the end but not during, except for the Route 66 Half, where I ran the entire race with Geof. I have to say, having someone to keep you going when you don't want to keep going makes all the difference. I'm really grateful for the people who are willing to spend some miles with me and help me make my goals. And the longer I run, the more people I meet who want to spend those miles with me.
I still have some insecurities with running with others. And heaven help me if an attractive man wants to go running together. Especially if it's someone I really look up to as a runner. One of these days, I'll be able to put my ego aside and go out and run with anyone who offers. That's something I am going to focus on this year. Like I said, it's all in my head. No one I know would ever make me feel inadequate (because I kicked all of those types of people out of my life a long time ago).
2015 is going to be a blast. I've built up a solid base to do well with the running goals I've set for this year. I am aiming to run an ultra marathon distance once per month through the year. I even got a jump start on that by getting in two runs over 26.2 miles in the month of December. I registered for a 50 mile race today. That was a scary thing for me, but also really exciting. Hopefully, by the time that race rolls around, I will have run 50 miles twice before, by way of the two 12 hour events I'm doing before then. The 12 hour events don't seem as daunting, because there is no set mileage. I think they will do wonders for my confidence when it comes to these bigger distances.
So there you go. Y'all know more about me than you've ever wanted. Let's all have a wonderful 2015. Let's make the most out of every moment. We'll never be here again, so make sure it means something. Show your gratitude. Let people know how much they mean to you. Hug more. Laugh more. Don't take yourself too seriously. Go out and have adventures, get messy, get lost. That's how to live, and learn, and grow. Plus, it'll give us all some cool stories to tell when we get old. Until next time, happy running!