Friday, January 17, 2014


As much as I love running, I definitely have a running "season."  In 2011 I started running around the block in April, huffing and puffing, so incredibly proud of myself the first time I ran a mile without stopping.  I joined a running group and ran with them from August-December, making it up to a 20 mile week, and a 12 mile long run.  When I found out I was pregnant, I stopped running almost right away.  Partially because it didn't feel right, partially because I was too new to the sport and didn't have the confidence I needed to run through pregnancy, and in many ways life just got in the way.

2012 - I had my daughter on July 29, and went for my first run a week and a half later (by run, I mean I alternated slow jogging with walking until I reached a mile.  And yes, it felt terrible).  I went on my first group run when she was 4 weeks old, and ran a half marathon in early December.  It was slow, I wasn't in the greatest shape, but I did it.  After that, again, life got in the way - my daughter was up 4-6x per night to nurse, my in-laws were visiting us, I started back to work after maternity leave and was figuring out how to juggle everything.

2013 -  I skipped most of my midweek runs in January and only did 5-8 miles with the group on Sundays.  When Amaliya started going to daycare in February, the whole family got sick, and I stopped running altogether.  I told myself, when I get better, I'll start running again.  Little did I know how daycare germs would linger.  I didn't start to feel healthy again until mid-May, and was so out of shape and sleep deprived at that point, I was discouraged from even trying to run again.

I got my act together in July and started running around 10 miles per week, in preparation for the Lopers season to start.  Again, I joined the group, ran hard for a few months, completed two half marathons this time, and struggled through the holidays when the mornings got darker and colder and sugar became a significant component of my diet.  My tentative goal of running a marathon in the spring slipped away, when I realized I could not possibly commit the necessary time or energy.

It's January again.  2014.  The Christmas decorations are packed away, spring is on the horizon, my baking supplies are once again relegated to the back of the pantry, a new semester has started.... but this year, I am still running.  Having a baby, or perhaps just life and getting older, has taught me a thing or two about mental toughness.  I've run through colds and stomach bugs.  I've run after a dinner consisting of cookies.  I've run on 4 hours of sleep more times than I can count.  I don't want running to be a seasonal thing for me anymore.  This is my sport of choice, I love doing it, and I want to keep it up all year long, for better or worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part.

I love you, running.  I'm excited to see how our relationship blossoms in the spring.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A new year.

After much deliberation, I've decided on my keyword for 2014 - a word representing the theme I choose for the coming year, that embodies the spirit with which I will approach my circumstances and decisions.

That word, friends, is humility.

One of the many lessons I took away from last year (and not only last year) is that in order to learn, you have to be open to knowledge, and you cannot be open to knowledge until you admit that you don't know.  I've spent a lot of time focused on what I know, what experiences I've had, why I am good enough to do this or be that.  That's not a bad way to be, for sure.  No one will ever accuse me of lacking confidence.

But this year, I'm focusing on where I can do better.  That includes making more of an effort to learn about things that interest me, listening to and valuing the opinions of others, and seeking out advice when I have problems (not something I ever do, at the moment).  It involves not only acknowledging but accepting the limits on my time, money and mental resources and rolling with that, instead of always trying to make every minute/nickel/shred of sanity count for way more than it should.

It also means that, instead of a long and extensive list of S.M.A.R.T. goals for the new year, I humbly propose the following new objectives for 2014:

1. Finish my MBA.  It's about damn time.
2. Achieve my Competent Communicator certification in Toastmasters.
3. Two blog posts per month.
4. Run two half marathons.  I really hope one of those is the Run Through Redlands.
5. PR in one distance - either the half marathon, 10K or 5K.  My 5K PR is 36:09 and was set way back when I first started running, so if all else fails, I can beat that in my sleep (.... not the most humble of statements, but true nonetheless).

And that's it.  No "I'm going to read 'x' number of books," or "I will visit 'x' number of new places."  I'm shooting for a few things that really matter to me, and the rest of the time, I will just be doing my best as a wife, mother, employee, and friend.  I have a great many things I want to do in this life, and if some of those happen this year, that would be fantastic.  If not, that's okay too.  The humility to embrace life as it comes is a gift I am giving myself this year.  I, too,  am worthy of grace.