Running Forward

I didn’t write a 2013 recap. I’m working hard on looking forward. However, I can’t look forward and write this post as it is meant to be written without acknowledging something from 2013.

802 Miles!

When I entered my last five-mile-run of 2013 yesterday and pulled up my numbers for the year, my jaw dropped. 802.2 miles? Me? I mean, I knew I ran every step of those miles. I was present and accounted for, minus those times — especially during races — when I looked at the mile marker sign and said, “Wait, what? Where did the last two miles go?” I ran 160.4 miles in 2012. That’s a significant increase. Not one ounce of me thought when I started 2013 that I would run over 800 miles. Eight. Hundred. Miles.

But it’s a new year. And now my running stats for the year look like this.

0 Miles!

Wide open. What am I going to do with all that space?

First and foremost, I’m going for a three-mile-run this afternoon to finish off my participation in the Runner’s World RunStreak. Depending on my leftover tenths of a mile, that will bring my total for the Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day running streak to 61.61 miles. As I said, I ran a lot of one milers due to travel and work and life in general, but I ran everyday for 35 days. Everyday. It just blows my mind.

I feel grateful for what running brought to me in 2013. I found myself somewhere out there on the endless stretch of road, somewhere in the middle of a grueling hill, a long run, a hot day, a frigid wind, an early morning, a dusk run, a thunderstorm, a dance of snow flurries. I saw myself for who I was, who I am, who I might become. Running didn’t just change my physical body: Running changed everything about me. For the first time ever, I caught a glimpse of what my raw determination really looks like, what it can accomplish if put to the test. I’ve known about my determination, my stubbornness, for years — but what has it ever done for me? With real, tangible evidence as to my persistence and grit, I took a long, hard look at myself. And smiled.

Some aspects of 2013 were hard. I struggled to make sense of things that don’t make much sense. I fought for words, for clarity, for understanding, for friendships. I lost some of the battles. But with a greater understanding of who I might very well be am, I came through the thick of it with some semblance of joy and a deep desire to do so much more for others. Running centers me, physically and forcefully reminds me to breathe slow and deep. I like who I am better in the dawning days of 2014 than I probably ever have; I’m not perfect, and some days I still think, “What the heck am I doing? I’ll never get this thing called life right. I’m not worth it.” But then I go for a run, breathe, and remember who I am, who I have been, who I might yet become. I am worth it, whatever it means.

In 2014, I will run my first full marathon: The Pittsburgh Marathon on May 4, 2014. Training started on Monday, and I feel giddy and excited and ready to tackle the hills and valleys — both literal and mental — as I work toward this goal. I chose Pittsburgh for several reasons. Mainly, if I only run one full marathon ever, I want it to be my hometown. I fully acknowledge that the course is challenging, but I can’t imagine marking that achievement anywhere else. I also hope to run the Columbus (Half) Marathon again in October as that particular race just rocked my socks off in 2013. I already think I prefer the 13-mile distance, but I would venture to guess everyone says that before running a full marathon. We’ll see what happens.

Do I have other goals for the year? Of course I do. I’m still shaking out what some of them mean, what they will look like, what I even care to really accomplish personally and professionally. But as I look forward to this blank canvas of a new year, I feel stronger for what I accomplished and endured last year. I can only hope to feel this optimistic at this time next year.

Happy New Year!

 

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16 Comments

  1. That’s enough miles to have run to my house and start back. That’s crazypants.

    Reply
    • IMMA RUN TO YOUR HOUSE.

      No. I’m not. BUT STILL.

      Reply
  2. A Marathon!!! I cannot wait to see you do that!

    Now that my foot is *mostly* healed, I may be able to do *some* impact soon so my plan is to start some power walking to test it out. My goal is just a simple 5K by the end of the year and healthy feet ;) Thank you for inspiring me to get back up after an injury, Jenna. Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • OH YAY! I’m so happy/excited/YAY for you! I look forward to watching your progress this year. Let me know if you need anything!

      Reply
  3. I’ve loved “watching” your runs on RK – and so glad Dresden mentioned your blog to me. You are gonna love (and hate, but mostly love) the marathon.

    You’ve inspired me to blog my runs more this year :)

    Reply
    • Aww, thanks!

      And I’m looking forward to you blogging more runs! YAY BLOGGING! YAY RUNNING!

      Reply
  4. Way to go! I’m proud of you and want to follow in your footsteps!

    Reply
    • Thank you, friend. And come along for the run/ride!

      Reply
  5. Congratulations on all your running accomplishments this year – I’ve loved following along with your RW Streak on Instagram. You rocked and you helped inspire me to run on the days I didn’t feel like it. So thanks!

    I am doing the flip of your plans – the half in Pittsburgh in May and (my first) full in Columbus. Glad to hear that’s a great race too! Can’t wait to get some more hours of daylight around here so I can get back out on the trails here in Pittsburgh!

    Reply
    • Awesome. I’ll never run a fall full though. I nearly had heat stroke training for the Columbus half. Learned a few hard lessons about me and heat. (Meaning: They don’t mix.)

      Reply
    • I tried to “like” this comment. I should go to bed. LOL

      Reply
  6. Yay, marathon! And the training is the best. Very little feels as powerful as the feeling you get after a 20-mile training run.

    Reply
    • I’m so nervous for that 20-mile run. But SO EXCITED too.

      Reply
  7. You have made such amazing strides this year! Congratulations on the strength and courage you have found within you. You are sparkling.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I will tell myself that I am sparking on my 8-mile run today.

      Reply

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