Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Back in high school, I used to write these epically long, detailed year in review emails that I’d send to my friends around New Years. If I still remembered my Yahoo! passwords, I’d try to track them down for you, but they were really esoteric and might have only served to purpose of showing I was happy and fun and worth hanging out with. I might have been trying to convince myself. High school wasn’t a particularly charmed time for this girl.

But, I’ve always been a recorder, a writer, a to-do-lister and those turbo emails might have just been my precursor to blog writing before it was really a thing (did anyone have a LiveJournal back in the day?). Because 2013 is wrapping up really quickly and I’m taking it easy from working out this week, cautious to return to yoga from my hand “injury” and limping from a very uncomfortable hip flexor post half marathon, I thought I’d tie up loose ends with a year in review.

I found these questions over on Losing Weight in the City and thought they’d cover the basics.

Best Race Experience: Ooooh. Vermont City Marathon is an obvious choice, but it might be tied with or edged out by the Cranberry Olympic Trifest. I was sorely underprepared for the tri, but it was SO much fun and I got to cross the finish line with my sister, Cait. Just surviving the swim at all, or the moment during the bike portion where I literally thought to myself, Gosh, I wish this wouldn’t end! despite having usually been terrified of cycling, might have made it the best experience. Strangely, I think I have to go with the tri on this one!

Best Run: It’s a tie! I mean, I kind of have to include the run from the post I called “Best. Run. Ever.” right?! Truly, though. One of my best training runs of the year was a five-miler in the dark where I ran a sub-8 average. I pushed hard, got uncomfortable, and caught a glimpse of what I’m capable of.

My other best run of the year was an 8-miler that I ran around the Charles with my old friend, Kaitlyn. It was so much fun to catch up on the go and it was a beautiful, beautiful night on the river. We stopped to take a bunch of pictures along the way – every angle just looked so gorgeous – and it was like cheap therapy.

Best New Piece of Gear: Hands down, no question, the best gear I acquired this year were my limited edition Boston Saucony Kinvaras. In the beginning I debated whether I’d wear them or just admire them on a book shelf, but they were such fun to wear and a constant conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many people asked about them in stores or on street corners, waiting for cross. Plus, in the wake of everything else, they made me Boston Strong. 

Best Piece of Advice: The best new advice I got this year was to RUN THE MILE YOU’RE IN. It’s proven valuable time and time again and is incredibly helpful when you’re feeling crummy in the early miles of a longer race or training run.

Most Inspirational Runner: This year’s most inspirational runner is my friend, Dr. Larry. I’ve told you guys about Dr. Larry before – he was on the Boston Marathon team I managed during my tenure at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and we’ve kept in touch. Dr. Larry ran very nearly all of the marathon last April and hopes to return in 2014 with an okay from his own docs. You see, Dr. Larry has the blood diseases CLL/SLL and spent a good part of 2013 in chemotherapy. As it stands right now, there is no cure for CLL/SLL, so he will receive chemo off and on to manage the cancer, with the hopes that new therapies are being developed in real time to extend his life and provide breakthroughs that are more effective in treating and curing his disease. As of a recent update, his levels are back to normal, lower than they’ve been in years, and Dr. Larry will finish chemo this month. What else inspired me? The fact that he continued running 6 days a week throughout treatment this year, running half marathons faster than little-old-completely-healthy me. I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in 2014 and hope to call him my most inspirational runner for years to come. 

Sum Up Your Year in a Few Words: This year was really interesting, challenging, enlightening, and hard. As I’ve mentioned before, Nik lost a best friend very unexpectedly in June, an “otherwise healthy” 36-year old, and it was a serious blow. In some ways, we’ve been coping with it every day since. We’ve learned so much about one another, about family, about deep friendships, disappointment, compassion, grieving, and healing. I prayed, meditated, and ran a lot this year and spent hours upon hours on the mat and on the road thinking about all of those things I listed up above. I can say this, I cannot imagine how the process would have been without running or (especially) without yoga. Going to Wanderlust in the weeks after was absolutely perfect, too. A year in review wouldn’t be complete without that.

To sum the year up in a word, I’d have to say grateful.