Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Thank you, 2012.

poetry section
"It's a fingertip on a cliffside - you can hold on, or let go." - Margaret Atwood

This is one of my favourite quotes. To me, it says: "I'm sort of fucked, so I might as well take charge, and embrace the mess." It means that things are difficult, uncertain, and go wrong, and at some point, I will get tired of fighting the inevitable. So why not let go already, and enjoy the view on the way down (until you hit the ground, anyways)?

How does this somewhat bleak quote tie in with 2012 and all the running (and falling) I did? The whole year was a see-saw around what I wanted to do and what I was scared to do. It was a give and take between my mind and my body, and figuring out what my limits were.

I started out 2012 so much in my head: I was worried that I couldn't go fast enough, and didn't want to try in case I burnt out. I was worried about too much mileage, too much speed. I was worried that, if I started to go fast, it would be a fluke that I couldn't maintain.

Then I just started doing it. I stopped looking at my Garmin, and started feeling my breath. I stopped worrying about volume, and just started getting up, showing up, and putting in miles. I still got scared - I just did everything I wanted to do, anyways.

sorry, coach John
Did this mean I had a smooth season, a season with controlled build-ups, carefully planned tapers, and well-executed A-races? Pretty much the opposite - and it was the season of my life.

I pushed hard, and ran scared. I found out my limits by going past them, fucking up, and then picking up the pieces to come back stronger and perhaps smarter. There is a reason that my physio's phone number is in my favourites, and that my main google searches involve injuries. There is a reason I ran the last month of marathon training in some sort of pain. There is a reason I had to take a week off in the middle of North Face 50 training because I was injured and just so damn tired. But I also trained to a level I never thought I was capable of.

This run season (and the year in general) had more highs and lows than I thought possible. It had runs where I felt like I was floating along the seawall, accompanied by an icy clear sunrise. It had days where everything felt too loud and too close and at 7pm I would curl up into bed.

By pushing too hard, I grew to have faith in myself, and my ability to recover. I'll mess up - get injured, get tired. And I know I'll be able to come back from whatever happens.

As I write this, I am rehabbing a recently acquired cuboid injury....caused entirely by not taking enough rest early enough after my race. This was the price I paid for having an amazing week trail running in Maui - and it was totally worth it. (plus, now I know that when coach John says active rest, he sure as hell means it.)

what is left
For me, the best things about the year aren't summed up in race results, times, or rankings. I ran a lot, and I was happy with how my body performed when I pushed it. I went places inside myself that were new. But the best parts happened in the in-between: the texts we all exchanged after Tuesday tempos, the discussions on long training runs, the after-brunches, the long weekend trips and adventures (Olympic Penninsula, Whistler, Portland, Howe Sound Crest, Victoria, Sunshine Coast), the after practice drinks and the hundreds of small happy memories.

I am so grateful to the past year for making me tough, and making me happy. I resolve to be okay with letting go: to worry less, and do more, and trust that even if things aren't okay, and don't work out - it doesn't matter. I'll be okay - and have a couple stories to tell afterwards. I want to be brave this year.

the difference a year makes
January 1, 2012 saw me put on my toque and running gear and do an easy seawall run. January 1, 2013 has me put on the same toque and get outside again. I think that the way you spend January 1 shows how the rest of the year will go.

I woke up today slightly hungover, with sunlight coming through the blinds. I had a gorgeous seawall run, and got to see my friends at the end of their 50k. I had brunch with my running friends, and dinner with my non-running friends. My apartment is still a bit of a mess from New Year's Eve, and I never did get around to the laundry and chores I told myself I would do. It's going to be a great year.

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