Okay, so unlike previous years, this year’s recap will be relatively short…
For as long as I’ve been a runner, I’ve always been proud of myself for being a good runner. As someone who was never athletic growing up and picked up the sport way late, I am constantly amazed by what I’m able to do on the race course. Every year I start never quite believing in my own goals and every year I end up for the most part completing or exceeding the majority of them. It’s one of the things that brings me great pride and joy in this otherwise mundane sport (One of my friends notoriously commented once that watching runners is as fascinating to him as watching cactus grow…)
But what happens when I can no long run? What happens when I’m no longer performing up to my own relative standards? What happens when I can no longer sustain my progress year after year or train like I would want because of injury or work or my active social life? Will I quit? Will I hate running? Will I hate myself?
These were some of questions I had to answer for myself this past year as I battled through a slew of injuries that kept me away from running my spring and fall marathons and many other races that I had registered for. Other than one 5K PR in the beginning of the year and a third place finish at a NYRR 4 miler in September, there has not been a whole lot for me to hang my hat on in the running front. I haven’t done anything epic, I haven’t made any progress with my speed. I didn’t even get to add any states to my 50 by 50 initiative (that’s a marathon in every U.S. state by age 50 for those uninitiated). Yes, it’s been quite a disappointing year in the running front. There’s just no escaping the fact that being injured sucks big time.
But despite the many losses I’ve suffered this year in my running and physical fitness, I’ve developed and made gains in other areas of my life that would not have happened had I remained as healthy and as fanatical about running as I was in 2011. I became much better at my job, much better socially and much better at pursuing interests and developing skills outside of running and endurance sports. I also had more time to coach my family and friends who needed help to become better runners. It’s such a wonderful feeling to watch people you love achieve their athletic goals and dreams that it almost makes you glad you didn’t run just so you could be there to witness it all firsthand (the key word being almost…)
So it’s because of all these reasons that I do not look back at 2012 with deep regret or disappointment. Even though I was injured many times and achieved none of the running goals I set out for myself at beginning of the year, I realize that the knowledge, experience and wisdom I gained going through that and all the things I accomplished outside of running will prove invaluable to me in the future. I can comfortably say that although running is and remains my passion, I no longer need it to define me.
Yet if you think I’m content to spend another year sitting on the sidelines being injured and watching everyone else have all the fun I’m supposed to have while wallowing in a self-loathing pity party, you’ve got another thing coming!
It’s a brand new year folks and I intend to make the most of every single second of it!