During 2008 I ran 300 miles. My first full year of running and I ran 300 miles!
As I think about 2008, to get a little philosophical here, the 300 miles seems like a really good symbol of 2008 for me, it represents so many things.
I started running after volunteering for a race that several of my friends were running in. I had started biking regularly during the divorce- it served one purpose and one purpose only- to fill my time. It had other side benefits like accomplishing something I never thought I would do (biking 180 miles in 3 days), physical fitness and a new activity for Sunshine and me to do together.
But I never really enjoyed biking it felt much more like a chore, I had made a commitment to ride and I knew mentally I needed to do something like that to get through the divorce.
Running on the other hand has somehow become part of me. It is, at times, a compulsion. Other times a drive or a need. It helps me to process my thoughts, to work through issues and to just spend some quality time by myself.
Beyond that, it is hard. It is about me and no one else, me getting up and going outside or into the basement. Me climbing that hill, me pushing through the pain of not enough oxygen, me picking that person in front of me in the race and saying, you know what I can pass her/him. It is also about conquering fears and taking risks. And ultimately about better health and fitness.
I remember standing at the start of my first race in December 2007. I was scared. Could I finish? Will I be the last person to cross the finish line? I walked probably half of the 5k and I did finish and I wasn't the last person to cross the finish line.
Running is a symbol of my life in 2008 in many ways. I have taken more risks. I have had difficult conversations with people at work and in my life. I have stood up for myself and I have said "no", even when I thought that me saying "no" could adversely affect my relationship with that person (friend, coworker, romantic interest). I have traveled with people I didn't know and had a great time. I have held myself accountable for mistakes I've made, but also become much better at forgiving myself for these mistakes. I have played more and in general taken better care of myself.
As I think back over the last 300 miles and 365 days there have been high moments and low moments, frankly some low moments that lasted for weeks. But in the end, I pushed through and made it up the hill, caught the person in front of me and crossed the finish line.
And I am thankful for all those experiences- good, bad or ugly. I look forward to the highs and lows that 2009 will bring, to the 500 miles I will run and to all the new experiences that await me.
May 2009 be filled with all that you hope for, need and want.