People, Places, and Things of 2016

When I think back on this year I just see fragments, like the thousand pieces of a partially-completed puzzle all strewn across a table. I feel like every year for the past few years has been like that, but I especially feel it this year. This year I felt like I was always a step behind and couldn't catch up no matter how hard I tried. I look back on this year and see how nearly all of my actions were reactive, not proactive. Through really no fault of my own, nothing I did was totally intentional. I constantly tried to correct and to adjust - to getting a job in a new field, to moving to a city I had never really planned to live in, to getting injured  and figuring out how or even if my big race plans would proceed, to training for an Ironman and how it flipped my already-chaotic world upside-down, to losing a grandparent for the first and then second time and a pet for the I-don't-want-to-count-th time. With every turn I felt like I was living in a new reality and just when I started to get used to it, something else would change or throw me for a loop. 

And I don't mean to make it sound so depressing, because so many things of those things were just as good as they were difficult. I got a job in a new field! I moved to a new city! I trained for an Ironman! So many big things that I've wanted and have been working toward for years came to fruition this year, and though they brought a lot of challenges on the way, I am so grateful for that. 

2016 Running & Triathlon in Review

Going into this year, I knew it would be big. I signed up for my first Ironman just 11 days before the year began, but even with that on my mind as the calendar turned, I still never could have predicted the year I'd have.

My two big races of 2016 were to be the Big Sur Marathon in April and Ironman North Carolina in October. I spent the winter preparing for Big Surr and all was going well - I even PRed in the half marathon by almost a minute - until, almost literally overnight, I developed a foot injury that left me unable to walk for a couple weeks and unable to run for a couple months. I canceled my Big Sur plans and as the weeks of no running went on, I started to wonder how, or if at all, I was going to be able to make it through the 26.2 run of an Ironman. 

While I wasn't running I was swimming, biking, and supplementing my run miles on the elliptical. After almost two months and a couple of unsuccessful short run attempts, my physical therapist gave me her blessing to try to ease back into running. I actually just recently found the note from that appointment, with my prescription to try a 15-minute run 10 days after my appointment, and I laughed out loud to myself when I read it. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but I remember how anxious I was in those ten days and how nervous I was lacing up my shoes when the day finally came. FIFTEEN whole minutes. Was it even possible?! That first run back, I could tell that something was still definitely off. Not painful per se,, and it felt off for more runs than not for a while. But as long as I wasn't in pain, I kept running.