Friday, January 4, 2013

Reflections and Resolutions

 "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, I'm a bit behind the Resolution curve in the blogosphere, but I've been away, chewing on things...ruminating...fermenting...And as it turns out, finding some true resolution (shall I say 'healing') in New Jersey following the NYCM/Hurricane Sandy episode.

2012 was a year of some pretty extreme ups and downs, and I suppose I enjoy a roller coaster ride, but unlike on a roller coaster, where you can see what's coming and where it's going, life is not so apparent. 

Some stats on 2013: bear with me here...I'm doing this mostly for my own purpose: that of remembering.

Miles: In 2012 I ran around 2,493 miles. I say "around" because I always round down on my logging. If, for instance, my Garmin says I ran '5.15', I will log '5'. Only when it hits 5.2 do I log 5.2. Sometimes I run a little extra to tack on the extra .5 or .2, or whatever is necessary to reach that threshold and sometimes I don't.

Marathons: I ran six marathons in 2012. This was a bit of a fluke, and completely unplanned, but it worked for me. As I've said in the past I tend to favor quality over quantity, but at the end of it all I managed to pull off at least one decent effort (Tucson) and one mediocre effort (Fox Valley) - both of which turned out to be major learning experiences for different reason in my continuing education as a marathoner. Along the way I also became a Marathon Maniac, and managed salvaging a very disappointing and difficult late winter/spring. I learned a whole hell of a lot this year, and the learning did not come easy and was not always welcomed.

Shoes: I have absolutely no idea how many shoes I've run through this year. I want to estimate about 12-15, but that is because I had shoe/foot issues (still have, but they are being managed) throughout the year that caused me to experiment, a lot. The guys at Road Runner Sports hide when they see me walk through the door. Thank goodness for their return policy, though I have expected to see a "Wanted: For Return Policy Abuse" poster with my mug on it.

Races: 13 (14, unofficial). Some I raced, some were training runs, all of them taught me something I needed to learn.

Injuries: 3. I began the year (really started on Thanksgiving 2011) with Posterior Tibial Tendinitis/Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, and enjoyed very painful, weekly needling sessions (in the soles of my feet) to get me to the starting line of Boston (Thank you, Heather North, at In Motion Rehab).

In February I suffered a concussion which, while not a 'running' injury, proved to be the scariest and most challenging injury I've had to deal with. This hit me right smack during peak Boston training, and I really did not feel that I was myself again until probably October or November. Now the constant threat of getting hit in the head again, and it's possible dire consequences (instant death, even for a seemingly harmless hit) keeps me ever aware of my surroundings in ways I've never had to be before. If I think about it, it scares me. So I try not to think about it.

Nebulous foot pain/numbness. This has and has not been resolved. It hit me hard at Brookings and Fox Valley, both around miles 15-16 and made for excruciating finishes. Sometimes it hits me and sometimes it doesn't. Still working to resolve that one...

Friends: The absolute highlight of my year has been the new and dear friends I've made thanks to running and the prudent use of the interwebs. I've had the opportunity to travel and run with new friends all over the country. They have come out to support me (BQ Number Two: With A Little Help From My Friends) and I have come out to support them  ( This year allowed me to connect, intimately, with a much bigger and broader running community.

So that's where I've been...Now where shall I go...

The whole New York City Marathon fiasco initially cast a bit of a pall over the year for me. NYC meant more to me than any other marathon because of my history with that race, and the experience in NY/NJ was devastating. I know I tend to go overboard, emotionally, at times, and perhaps this was one of those times, but I was, honestly, crushed but that experience. I know it's just a stupid marathon, but for me it symbolized much more.  

A few weeks ago the NYRR/NYCM announced their "resolution" (much more on that in my next post) which, in my view, falls far short of what is right and fair. In so doing, they presented me with my challenge, my resolution if you will, for this year (perhaps next, depending on how things go).

But first a few thoughts about a recent trip back to New Jersey.

I didn't return to New Jersey on December 28th looking for healing or closure, or any such silliness. I went to see my family, and quite honestly, I was not at all happy to go. In some important ways my experience in November, in a place I once called home, left more than a bad taste in my mouth. I really wanted nothing to do with that place any more. I was done with it. Period. Good riddance. But I got on the plane and set off to do my duty.

And this is where running and friends make all the difference, for me...

I had the opportunity to hangout with my friend Esther, to swim and run a race in her town, and with her running club, the North Jersey Masters (they even let me run as a member for the day as part of a competition they have with another running club - We won ;) At that race I got to meet other runners, fb friends, people I had met in May at another race in NJ, and I felt at home. I felt that I was among my people...runners. Something happened while I was running that race. My bitterness over NY seemed to evaporate. I accepted, again, the place from which I came. 

 ~North Jersey Masters~

...After Athens sentences Socrates to death, he tells his students, who beg him to escape, that he must accept (though not agree with) the decisions of his city. He credits his city for making him the person he is, that he would not be 'Socrates' without Athens. As such he owes Athens something, for he would not be who he was without them...

I realized during this visit that I needed to make peace with my feeling about this place. I wanted to just put it aside, make it the past, turn my back, and never cast my eyes upon it again. But that's NOT actually what I needed.

And so, now I have my resolutions for 2013: 

I want to qualify, again, for the New York City Marathon. I do still want to run this marathon, but on my own terms.

I aim to surround myself, as much as possible, with the people who are uplifting, supportive, and life affirming, and to return that to others.
"Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great" ~ Mark Twain


  1. Good for you! I wish you lots of luck. I love your quotes by the way.

  2. Welcome back! After RRS puts you on a poster, they may come after me. That's a lotta miles and races for 2012, especially under the circumstances - congratulations!

  3. I think you had a huge year, and I'm glad you've come back to wanting to do NYC. You will love it, and what happened last year will be a distant memory.

  4. As always, I love your writings! What an incredible journey you've had this year! I know 2013 will be an amazing year for you! I feel honored to call you my friend....and now coach! I look forward to following your crazy training and running together a little more this year! :)

    1. Thanks Cecilia - and I am so fortunate to have you as a friend ("The absolute highlight of my year has been the new and dear friends I've made thanks to running and the prudent use of the interwebs." :)
      Hopefully this year will be just a tad less crazy, but who knows...


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