Monday, 29 December 2014

#136 Reason to Think Aloud

2014 - My year in review

I could probably sum up the past year in a few short words, most fittingly: Not Running Sucks! But a more complete and detailed analysis is perhaps warranted. Here then, is my (mostly running-related) year in review.

The Good.

Because my life isn't 100% running, I am extremely excited to be engaged to my amazing fiance Melinda. This happened in mid-August and just a few days later, we embarked on what turned out to be an incredible trip to British Columbia and two weeks of sensational scenery, crazy-awesome amounts of craft beer and fun-filled times with friends and family. Not running is perfectly fine (sometimes) and there are plenty of other amazing things in my life that matter so much more than training and racing. This was the year I finally realized that!

That said, I do happen to enjoy running on occasion and the first half of 2014 was not too bad in that regard. I had some memorable races early in the season including small PBs at Robbie Burns 8K and the Chilly Half. My racing streak at Around the Bay 30K, my unofficial favourite event on the calender, stretched to five years and was another amazing experience even though I fell about a minute short of my goal. Then, just a short time later, the 2014 Boston Marathon would forever become a race to remember, especially given what happened the year before. Despite some reservations, I think most would agree that we were simply amazed and impressed by the overwhelming amount of support and celebration of and for the Boston community, the running community and the event itself. And although I once again fell short of my time goal (sub 2:34), I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to run this edition of the race and show my own support and appreciation of the event. 

My only other notable race experience of 2014 was another trip to Cape Breton in May to run the Cabot Trail Relay Race with the Black Lungs. Our team finished second overall (no surprises there) for the third straight year which is all the more impressive given the circumstances (we only had 9 runners). I ran two legs including the infamous Leg 4 (Cape Smokey) and was very pleased with my performance (second place) given an unstable and unpredictable hip flexor, which would pretty much be destroyed by the end of my second leg and signal my ultimate downfall.

The Bad.

I ran much less than I wanted to this year and I didn't come close to meeting most of my racing goals, which a year ago seemed very reasonable and attainable. I also end the year in a very precarious position. After a satisfying result at the Tannenbaum 10K (my first race in 5+ months) in early December, I was again afflicted with more hip and groin issues/pain which has put a stop to all running for the last few weeks of 2014. With no way of knowing whether I am indeed any better off than I was before, I begin 2015 with little confidence in my fitness or even my ability to run strong and healthy again in the short and long term. Having also taken steps to get healthy and work on my weaknesses, yet seeing little to no improvement, I now lack the motivation to want to train and race again. Needless to say, an uphill battles awaits.
The Ugly.

For the first time in almost three years, I finally took my turn on the injury-go-round when a suspected stress fracture to my pelvis forced me to miss two full months of running. This unfortunately took place during prime fall training time and after missing all of August and September and only slowing building back in October, I was in no shape to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and no where near where I had hoped to be in attempting to run a sub 2:30 marathon. And despite taking time off and coming back in a smart and sensible way, I am still in no place to run and train at my best and left wondering where to go from here.

The Awesome.

Running has provided me the tremendous opportunity to become a better person and to live the life I want for myself and to share it with others. It has afforded me many incredible and memorable experiences and made me so many treasured friends and connections along the way. It is certainly an important part of my life, but again, is only one part of it. I have much to look forward to in 2015 and many amazing people with whom to share it. As we tend to do this time of year, a new year brings the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and successes of the past, while considering and implementing the changes we want to make for ourselves, for others and for our world in the present and for the future. With the importance of persistence, perseverance and patience on my mind more so than ever, I leave you with some simple but powerful words of wisdom: If you can, when you can, how you can, just keep running (i.e. moving forward)! 

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