I’m not much of a “resoluter” as in, “It’s a brand New Year, go out and change your life, because this is your time…” Personally, dealing with a compromised immune system and multiple-health challenges doesn’t require much more motivation than simple memory recall. When you’re not feeling well, you learn to value the days you do.
However, a brand new year does help me consider what I want to accomplish, as I do my best to maintain my current health. 2018 was a great year despite some new health challenges. (Bakers cysts, chondromalcia and PRP treatment) Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Osteopena and Seasonal Depression didn’t go away in 2018, so I simply did my best to deal with their day-to-day annoyances.
My numbers however, tell a different story. In 2018, I ran over 1,400 miles and participated in 26 different events. I hit new milestones and mentally grew a lot.
I still believe everyday is a precious gift and each run or trail adventure into nature that doesn’t leave me searching for a bathroom is a true tender mercy. Below are my 2018 top 3 memories and subsequent reflections.
#3- Running is like the weather; full of good days, bad days and many forgettable days in between.
I run 6 days a week, or somewhere around 313 days a year. Not everyday is an amazing memorable experience. Honestly, most training runs are pretty typical (and planned) unless I join some friends or get to run somewhere new. Every now and again, a race comes along and I get to measure my progress.
In October 2018 I raced the Provo Haunted Halloween Half Marathon (a personal favorite race) and ran a new PR for the course. One year earlier in 2017, I had barely missed the the podium (3rd place) by less than a minute. In 2018, I ended up placing 1st out of my entire age group. Same race, same course, same runner- yet a completely different event and outcome. Because you only race against whomever shows up, you just don’t know what might happen over 13.1 miles. Finishing as the fastest runner out of 136 women my age was pretty cool.
#2- Your grandma was right; try new things because you just might like them.
My family and I have been hiking for a long time; many, many years, ever since my kids were little.
Somewhere along the way, I had never really figured out that trail running is a lot like hiking, only faster. We love the memories of bagging peaks together but I had never even considered trail running until this past year. I’ve completed over 96 races but leaving the road for the wilderness truly felt scary at first.
I have a horrible sense of direction (no false modesty here, just ask my family) and not knowing where I’ve been or where I’m going actually gives me a lot of anxiety. When some local friends mentioned they were putting together a simple trail run race, I decided to go for it. Not knowing what to expect, I signed up and had to figure it out. The rest is history.
Not only did I have a blast, I even found something new, exciting and beautiful to challenge me. Thankfully, I live in a state where there’s no shortage of gorgeous vistas and trails. 2019 will be a big year for me with peaks and trails. I’m already signed up for my very first 50-mile trail race.
#1- Dream big and make it happen.
There’s something powerful about setting big goals and working hard to make them a reality. I first set my sights on the Boston Marathon in late 2016 and looking back now, I realize what a lofty goal that really was. I had only run one marathon and I was expecting myself to not only qualify for the oldest marathon in the world, but also shave one hour off my previous marathon time to even earn the opportunity to attend. I was definitely naive.
I ended up with some serious diarrhea a few days before The Phoenix Marathon in February 2017 so my race didn’t exactly pan out as I hoped. I did manage to shave 35 minutes off my previous time, setting a new PR which according to Coach Paul was no small feat considering my digestive issues. I didn’t want an “A for effort” though, I wanted to hit my goal and run the Boston Marathon. So I decided to take another shot at Boston in 2018.
Once again, I signed up for The Phoenix Marathon and began my winter training. Coach Paul joined me on race day and instead of running hard and seeing what my body could do, I took Coach Paul’s advice and held my pace back and hit my goal with a 4:59 second time buffer!! I learned a lot about myself through that experience (you can read about that race here The 2018 Phoenix Marathon)
Someone once said, “Shoot for the moon, because no matter what happens, you’ll land in the stars…” Dreams and goals give us something to look to and some where to go to get there. I am living proof that you do not have to be naturally talented to succeed, you simply must be willing to work hard and be consistently patient.
Thank you 2018, it’s been a wonderful year.