Friday, 2 January 2015


I started 2014 at Lucy's kitchen table, very sad about a guy, very introspective, training for a marathon with an undiagnosed broken ankle. I am starting 2015 at my own kitchen table, a little sad about a guy, still introspective, with a healed metarsal stress fracture, dreaming about training for Transrockies (to be fair, if you consider my taste in music, it could be that semi-mopey and introspective is more or less a default setting for me).

So, to an objective observer, it wouldn't appear that this year has been entirely successul.

I broke my foot (twice). I moved into an apartment (with a broken foot, version 1.0) in the West End with unreliable appliances, suspect plumbing, and tempermental electrical wiring. I got separated and stayed separated. I worked a tough busy season. I lost friends, missed races, and had times where I felt disconnected with the running community. I gave up the trust I had in my body, the easy speed, the confidence in my breath.

I started thinking about rehab, about recovery, and stopped making so many plans for the future. The thing is: I'm a planner. I like to schedule, think ahead, and see my life stretching out in front of me. This year defied my best attempts at planning, and was all the better for it. 

All my running and outdoor adventures were last minute: Costa Rica on ten days's notice, San Diego on three days, Transrockies on less than three weeks. I look at pictures from those trips - the sunlight, the ocean and mountains, and how I'm smiling in each one, really smiling, double chin smiling at the gift of being somewhere beautiful, outdoors, doing what I love.

about to scrape the hell out of my leg "shortcutting" down the Black Tusk

off-trail on the BCMC

It turns out that I do things besides running - and getting injured. The year before, I looked for a new job. I had resumes and cover letters and interview prep. This year, after a long busy season where all I was thinking about was how to catch up on a month's worth of sleep, a new job found me. It was unplanned, out of left field - and I said yes. In a big way, and in so many little ways, I started to believe: things work out. Maybe not how I hoped, maybe not how I thought they were supposed to, but in their own quiet way.

Those are the big things - and they were amazing. For me, though, the year was made from all the small things. I had Canada Day in Tofino, playing cards and hiking to WWII bombers through mud and mosquitos. There was the August long weekend in Whistler, going out dancing and then spending a lazy day on a raft in the middle of the lake. On my 30th birthday, I was hugely lucky to have my friends plan a weekend in the Okanagan. We played power ballads on the drive up, biked to wineries in the late summer heat, had brunch overlooking the lake, and ran on trestles on the edge of the mountainside. Finally, in October, I had a housewarming party. People stayed until three, drinking and living room dancing and somehow not managing to get me evicted. On Thanksgiving, we hiked Elfin to low clouds and chilly rain in dresses. On a quiet day in late October, I kayaked down, way down, Indian Arm to a blue-grey sunset and clouds spilling down from the mountains. I learned to paddleboard in late November in West Vancouver, loong down at bottle-green barnacles in the wan sunlight. In December, I saw the sun rise light up Diamond Head in Squamish as I climbed towards Petgill Lake.

dreamy Kelowna
Squamish - worth getting changed in a wind-tunnel in the dark for

And the many even smaller moments. Waking up Wednesday to do the Grind in various degrees of rainfall warnings, pitch-black, ice and slipperly snow. Drinking coffee and fighting a hangover in Lucy's kitchen, with the light spilling in through the windows. Drinking tea on the couch in East Vancouver and talking about art and life and the last 8 years with old friends. Having drinks at Lolitas and listening to live music at the Olympic Village. Every damn sunset at English Bay. Hosting Man Night (red meat, fist-pumping, and attempting to read the $2.99 soft-core "romance" novel) in my apartment. Failing horribly at board games. Yoga and going to my first shooting range on ladies' night. All the runs I did, and all the runs I want to do.

I don't think this needs an explanation

The finest romance under $5 gets you

I wish I could post something big, something to end the year on a high note: a great recent race result, a really inspirational life thought, or even looking really good in a Christmas party dress. Instead, I ended the year quietly. Hiking around in the snow on the local mountains, seeing my friends for a drink in the evenings, organizing potluck dinners, walking down to English Bay for the early sunsets, reading in a coffee shop, trying a new recipe.

For the past 30 years, I've tried a lot of things to be happy. I tried running really fast. I tried to lose weight. I tried love and I tried self-help and I tried working really hard. And everything I tried - I took away something, I learned. In the end, though, it was a huge relief to stop trying so hard. And I stopped worrying as much about happy, anyways. The same way there was a muted, quiet beauty about the November days and early evenings, there is a lpeace in sadness, an empathy from loneliness. Happiness is a loud laugh, but there is also something also to be said for a soft, measured voice.

These days, this year, I've found myself smiling more often than not, crying a bit more than I've been used to - and grateful all the time.

2014 was an amazing year, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Thank you all, and see you on the Grind, in the gym...and soon on the trails! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment