Life is like running, and running is like life. There are good days – good runs – when I’m not so much moving as flowing along with my breath. Every stride is easy, and I just want to run forever towards the mountains in the horizon. There are bad days – hard runs – where my legs are heavy, my breath is ragged. On those days, on those runs, I just tell myself: just do this run, just do this kilometer, just do this breath. I tell myself, it’s not easy, but it will be easy again. And I tell myself, this is where the strength comes, the keep-going.
The last month was like this, in both running and life. I struggled. I went quiet for a bit. Days and runs were tough. It wasn't about fast, it wasn't about winning, it was all about the keeping-going. The thing with running – and life – is that I learn more when things go wrong than when things go right. It took me three tries to run an ultra where I didn't get lost or get injured badly enough to take a month off – and when it finally worked, it was wonderful. And felt earned.
Like running (well, at least ultra-running), life isn't done alone, even if it can feel like it at times. When things got hard, I had people along the way cheering, and helping. When things got better, I had people to laugh with and plan adventures.
This past weekend, Thanksgiving, I realized how much I had to be thankful for.
I was thankful for the strength in my bones when I got out and had two lovely trail runs. The weather was hands-numb-at-the-start cold, and warmed to a wan autumn warmth by the end. The uphills were hard, but I found my trail legs on the downhills. I was thankful for my wipe-out Sunday on the upper Lynne loop, where I managed to almost-face-plant, and stop my fall with my left quad (on a tree trunk) and my right knee. I am grateful for getting up, walking it off, and finishing the run.
I am grateful for my friend and FITS teammate Barry’s race at the Sump Jump 50k a couple weekends ago. Barry overcame 35C heat, multiple ankle rolls, vicious stinging insects, and what sounds like some bruised ribs to finish the 50k race from hell. I am also thankful (I hope I’m not giving too much away) that Barry is tough, and positive, and wants to take on the San Diego 100miler next year, and I get the opportunity to pace him and GET IT DONE LIKE WE DO J this time around.
I am thankful for a Thanksgiving potluck with black bean soup, wine, many many animals all very upset we have taken their spot on the couch, and a half-hearted Settlers of Catan game. I am thankful that even when I’m not balls-out running, I am still a member of the running community.
I am grateful for my wonderful, quirky group of friends. I had a wonderful, wet “stagette’ weekend hosted by Meghan on the sunshine coast. There were no penis necklaces, but we had a rain-soaked run on fallen leaves, through winding trails, then warmed up over Lucy’s homemade chili.
|Me and Lucy (thanks for the photo Brooke!)|
|we were doing thumbs-up on the inside|
|this is what it looks like when your dog bonks on a long run|
I am thankful for getting married in – holyshit – a week. (Despite missing a toenail, having now-bruised legs I am confident in the abilities of concealer and fake nails). I am so excited to celebrate with all my friends – those who are making a car ride, or taking a plane over.
I am thankful for second chances and for getting up when I wipe out. Like life, like running, the bruises fade (hopefully before my wedding...goddamn it...) but the strength remains. I'm not exactly sure what the rest of 2013 will bring for running - right now, I'm grateful for a healthy body and the ability to get muddy on trails, cruise around the seawall to the lights of the north shore, and fall over in crow position during yoga. I might not be as fast as I'd like, or as flexible as I'd like, but I can get up in the morning, every morning, and love what I do.