So I haven’t updated this in over 6 months.
I’ll be honest. 2015 got away from me completely, running-wise.
Sure, I ran 6 half marathons this year. But all of them save for Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans were slower than any of my 2014 half marathons. I logged about 385 miles for the year. In 2014 I logged over 800. I did exactly two sprint workouts this year. I didn’t go hiking once. I went to yoga a couple times, tried barre and loved it but couldn’t find a studio closer than 2 hours away, tried a Boot Camp I liked but then my work schedule changed…
I’m trying to find an honest balance between not making excuses for myself but also not calling it a failure year. The year brought a lot of changes. I moved to a new state with a very different culture than where I’m from and started running. Gyms with instructors in the town I live in are very expensive. The Body Pump classes I used to go to that made so much of a difference in my fitness were included with my gym membership. I’m still learning the city and am having trouble finding continuous sidewalks long enough to both be safe and provide enough distance for long runs. Summer was three months of 100+ degree days so by the time it was cool enough out to run outside after work the clocks were set back and it was dark by the time I left work. And we all know I’m NOT a morning person.
But there were definitely workouts I skipped just out of lack of motivation. Being tired. Definitely times I planned to go to the gym and ended up laying around on my couch instead. I got an intro month to a nearby yoga studio for super cheap and only went twice that month – which equaled how much the same amount of money I paid for the intro month that two drop-in classes would have cost anyway.
So yeah. The odds were against me this year but I could have worked harder. I have a really hard time when I can’t set my own schedule and routines; I have a job where I don’t always know if I’ll have to work a Saturday or Sunday or a random evening. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful job doing wonderful work. But it’s been a very difficult adjustment.
Now, on the bright side, I didn’t stop totally. I still ran 385 miles more than I would have if I hadn’t tried at all. I still ran 6 more half marathons than most people can say they’ve run. And the best part, was running introduced me to one of the most wonderful friendships I’ve been blessed to have.
My friend Abbie and I met at a young professional networking night and immediately clicked over our common interest in running. We stayed in touch and ended up going up to north of Dallas to run the Wounded Warrior race in June (just after I stopped blogging). I ran the 10K and she placed in her age group for the half marathon. This girl is a beast. We started talking about what she wanted her first marathon to be and when I suggested Vegas being fun, before I knew it, we were registering. She ran the full and I ran the half and we had a blast that weekend, even though the conditions for the race were terrible. A week later we ran our local Turkey Trot together, where she won her age group and my time was solidly mediocre. If nothing else about my running in 2015 was spectacular, it introduced me to a spectacular friend.
Abbie is also responsible for the #1 highlight of my 2015 – meeting my other newest best friend, a little brown mutt named Gypsy Rose. In May Abbie was volunteering at an adoption event for adoptable pets and I stopped by to say hi and ended up meeting the happiest dog in the world. I adopted that dog, my Gypsy Rose, whom I no longer remember my life without. She wakes up every day happy to greet the day and see her friends and soak in the fresh air and find everything interesting and worth inspecting. She is indiscriminately loving and trusts everyone she meets, inspiring me every day to smile and say hi to strangers I normally would ignore. Because to her, everything about life, and particularly to her, life with me, is wonderful. She and my hilariously affectionate cat, Jessie, are my saving graces no matter how bad my day has been.
As for 2016.
I am not a pessimist nor a cynic about New Year’s Resolutions. In 2013 I resolved to start exercising more and by the end of the year I’d gone from a proud couch potato to running my first half marathon. In 2014 I resolved to break all my PR’s – 5K, 10K, 10-miler, and half marathon – from 2013 and I did, by August.
I honestly don’t remember what my 2015 resolutions were. I probably blogged about them and could look them up right now, but it doesn’t matter now. 2016 is upon us and while to some it may just be another day in the year, I love the feeling of starting fresh.
Of making goals.
Of writing them down.
Of crossing them off.
I’m not shy about telling people I deal with major depression and anxiety disorder. (I don’t like to say “suffer from.” Maybe “struggle with.” But I think “deal with” is more accurate. It’s a thing, a part of my life, and I deal with it the best I can.)
Anyway, part of how I cope with depression and anxiety is to-do lists. I probably have killed several trees all with daily to-do lists alone. When I’ve been at my lowest, I make to-do lists that say things as simple as “brush teeth,” “put empty bottles and cans in recycling,” “brush hair.” Setting daily achievable goals helps me crawl out from under the safe covers of my bed when all I want to do is spend the week hiding from the world. It’s what moves me to turn the shower on, wash the oil out of my hair, shave the forest off my legs.
So I make lists. Lists upon lists upon lists. Sometimes my lists say “make tomorrow’s to-do list.” When I get out of the habit of making lists is when I start to derail and get lost, in specific projects and in life in general.
So, too, I make resolutions.
And my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 come in a few categories.
And they are:
- Run 1,000 miles in 2016
- Run approximately 20 miles a week / 85 miles a month
- Run a sprint workout once a week
- Strength train at least once a week
- Stay injury-free
- Break my 10K PR before July
- Break my half marathon PR in the latter half of 2016
- Spend less money on race registrations; but train harder for the ones I do pay for
- Go hiking. Even if it’s just “walking around the lake” and it’s not really hiking because it’s flat and/or there are no mountains in East Texas. Just get outside and walk more and enjoy trees.
- Read 52 books in 2016
- Make at least 10 of them non-fiction
- Read at least one giant epic book like Infinite Jest or Don DeLillo’s Underworld
- Journal every day, even if it’s just to say “Today I got out of bed, and that is a victory” or “Today I didn’t get out of bed, but I’ll try again tomorrow.”
- Pick some current event and research it and write about it thoughtfully and insightfully. Even if it’s not to pitch or publish anywhere. Just practice writing.
Being a Good Person
- Go to church more. Like at least twice a month. I know I can’t say “every Sunday” because that will be setting myself up for failure. But somehow, twice a month.
- Pray every day.
- Start volunteering regularly somewhere – as a reading buddy, with the Sierra Club, something I care about outside my job.
- Don’t get discouraged about the state of the world. Stay informed. Stay optimistic. Keep working.
- Pay off at least half my credit card debt.
- Take my dog to the beach. She will love it.
So I have a cold right now, but I’m hoping to kick 2016 off with at least one celebratory New Year mile tomorrow. But for now I have a book to finish before midnight so I can start fresh with 52 tomorrow and my dog has to go outside so we’re going to enjoy some trees.
Happy New Year, friends.