For those of you who are wondering where I’ve been, I’m right here, toeing the line, ready to take on 2015. Like training for a race or a marathon, life is a journey; everything that you have done in the past prepares you for the next step but, sometimes, things take you by surprise.
Last year took me by surprise. In the spring, I watched the health of both parents change, resulting in selling the house and moving both of them into a retirement home. In the summer, my brothers and I got them settled and closed the family house, which meant countless hours of sorting, purging, distributing and donating over 50 years of their possessions. In the fall, I went back to school feeling as tired as I was at the end of June, but now I faced my 5 year evaluation – again, hours of prep work and oodles of stress. The circumstances of the year helped me to see the fortitude of my family – my brothers, their wives, my husband and sons. We worked together, we got along, we complained about each other and laughed about our quirks.
During 2014, I also re-discovered how important my running is to me. I was at the end of my marathon training cycle when my year started to turn. With less than a month to go, I recognized that I needed to be available to help my parents. How could I do that with my own children to care for, while working and training for a marathon? I thought about quitting the race before I even started, but I didn’t. I knew how much I needed it, to keep that regiment of training – something I could control – in place. I ended up finishing the marathon in 3:33, but with an unexplained ache in my foot and hip and the disappointment of missing my goal time. In the next few months, I continued to face unexplained aches and pains through my hips, legs and feet to the point when I seriously contemplated hanging up my shoes. By the end of August, though, I decided to challenge the complaints I was feeling and do “whatever it takes” to keep me on the trails and roads. I turned back to physiotherapy, went back to regular yoga and started a slow build-up of distance. And I – gulp – ordered orthotics. By the end of November, I raced 4 times, with a Masters win in a 10K, and a second and 2-third place overall finishes in the 5K races; times were consistent with previous years so, maybe, just maybe, things weren’t all that bad.
By mid-December, the challenges of 2014 had been put to rest. Over the last two weeks, I have done nothing – absolutely nothing – but rest and play. I’ve spent time with my family and I’ve run. Physically, I am still healing but I am feeling ready to throw myself into some higher mileage and faster times.
Goals are set; I’m ready to chase them down.