Full Steam Ahead

Happy New Year! How is it possibly the fourth day of the new year already?  I mean, seriously, where does the time go?!  2014 is officially off and running.  Pun intended.

I have done absolutely nothing this year and yet the days are flying by.  All I have to show for 2014 is that I’ve been to the movies twice and have removed the Christmas tree from the house.  Well, most of it anyway, with the exception of the pine needles I will still be finding until next December when I can at least pretend they are from the new tree.  In the middle of doing laundry today I decided it was time to get the dead tree out of the living room so I began dismantling it wearing only flip-flops, an oversized sweatshirt and a pink Under Armor hat.  I don’t recommend handling pokey evergreens in that get up.  I did have the common sense to throw on some sweatpants before dragging it out the front door.  Or maybe I should call that common decency and consideration for others since my neighbors were out and about on this beautiful day before we are expecting a high of 1 degree tomorrow.  But I digress. And I apologize for that visual.

This year I am training for an Ironman.  HAHAHAHA…Um, right.  So far I have swam absolutely nothing, I have looked at my bike sitting there in the corner mocking me and I have run a whopping 10 miles.  Now, in my defense, I have been fighting off the Christmas plague that everyone has been passing around this season.  My mom and Ally both had it over Christmas so I knew it was only a matter of time.

The other night I led the first social run of the year on a chilly, snowy night.  It was a small group that hovered inside the store as long as possible until we ventured out into the cold.  Steve and I had already decided to keep it short.  We managed 4 fairly well paced miles.  With about a half mile to go, Steve asked, “Did you pick it up or am I fading?”

“I think I picked it up,” I responded.

“Well, don’t let me hold you back.  Go if you feel it.” Spoken like a true running partner.  I’ve said the same to him before.

I had a pretty good kick at the end and got back to the store feeling strong.  Then we celebrated with hot cocoa and chocolate cupcakes.  Why else do you think we run?!

This morning I was up before the sun, on my way over to Castlewood to join up with the Fleet Feet trail group.  I was put in charge of being Sherpa to the “Reindeer”, which also included two “Rein-dudes” this week.  Andy had marked our 6 mile course with pink ribbons and we set off through the woods at a much more reasonable pace than what I had managed with Steve the other night.  One of my runners today was battling a knee issue, so I spent the first few miles going back and forth to check on him and then catching up with the rest of the group while grabbing the pink ribbons off the trees and stuffing them into the front of my jacket.

When we finished our group run today, I contemplated going back out for a few more miles, but seeing as I’m fighting off this stuffy-nose-hacky-cough-yuck, I decided better of it and went home to curl up under a blanket on my couch.  I turned on the TV and found the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower.  There is a line in the movie that goes, “Even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.”

I can’t choose anything that happened last year.  Or the year before.  Or the many years before that.  But I can choose where I go from where I’m standing now.

I am constantly learning things from running.  I have learned that it’s not about how fast or slow we go, it’s just about putting in the miles.  I have learned to stop and look around once in a while so I don’t miss anything.  I have learned that sometimes I have to be smart and listen to my body when it’s telling me it’s had enough.  I have learned to take what I can from the bad running days and appreciate the good ones. I have learned that sometimes when we really don’t want to keep going, we have to.  So we just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And eventually when we reach the finish line we realize how worth it the whole experience was.

1968 Boston Marathon winner, Amby Burfoot, was quoted in saying, “Running has taught me, perhaps more than anything else, that there is no reason to fear starting lines and new beginnings.”

It’s a new year.  There is a pretty big goal looming in November when I will take to the starting line of Ironman Arizona, but I’m ready to tackle this challenge head on. There are mistakes to be made, lessons to be learned, unknowns to be seen, adventures to be had, goals to be achieved, dreams to be fulfilled.  There will be disappointments and achievements, hurt and healing, frustration and celebration.

But I’ll never know where I can go if I choose to stand still.

2014, Full steam ahead.  Fearless.



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