After a year of sorely neglecting this space, I snuck in at the last minute and have already recapped this year twice, but as the hours left in it dwindle down, with not even a full one left, I just can't let it go without saying some things.
I thought that I didn't have many good memories from this year, but the more I think back on it, I think that it's less that I don't have good memories and more that this year was just such a crazy rollercoaster and that now that it's coming to an end I am just tired. I'm tired because there were so many bad things, so many things that just didn't make sense, so many things that I just couldn't get to add up, and so many times that I was scared or anxious or sad, but there were also so many good things and so many good times.
There was the last day of February, the extra day that only comes four times a year, and the Universe must have known that I really needed an extra day this year. It was a gray morning when I ran through the streets of downtown D.C. and I wondered to myself, "Could this be home?"
There was the interview I went on that afternoon and the quiet hope that I didn't dare breathe a word of on the drive home.
There was the unseasonably warm and sunny first day of March an and email in my inbox.
There, in that offer, was the fulfilment of my dreams and the validation that my resignation from teaching and all of those Post-its strewn across my kitchen table two years earlier hadn't all been for naught.
There was the realization that the Universe doesn't owe me anything, and the unexpected peace that came from accepting that I will just never know some of the answers.
There was the new apartment in the city, in a neighborhood and on a street corner that ended up being the most perfect one in all the city, and the only place I could imagine living.
There was the most crowded but the happiest Prius that has ever driven out of an Ikea parking lot.
There was exploring so many pockets of the city, all on foot, and the solitude of the early hours that made me forget just how busy the streets can get.
There was the village that helped me keep it all together, or at least to be there to help me pick up the pieces when things fell apart.
There were the races that made me feel like me, that reminded me who I am and who I'm not and who I want to be.
There were milestones celebrated, successful years of our lives and of our marriage, and the wish for a million more.
There was Mike Reilly high-fiving me on the Riverwalk in Wilmington under one of the brightest, bluest October skies.
There were too-quick but much-needed visits with friends and family, filled with love and laughter.
There were plenty of things that I'd rather soon forget, but before I turn my back on them completely, let me acknowledge them, learn from them, embrace them, and move on from them.
With greater understanding, hope, and acceptance than ever,
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.
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, just...off, and it felt off for more runs than not for a while. But as long as I wasn't in pain, I kept running.
I thought it had been two months since the last time I linked up with Kristen and Gretchen, but then I realized that now it's December and September was actually 3 months ago, so that's a little indicative of what life has been like lately! Since the last time I wrote one of these my Ironman(ish) has come and gone, and I'm finally getting to experience what post-Ironman life is like!
My first post-Ironman weekend I had absolutely nothing planned - no workouts, no travel, no social plans, absolutely nothing - for the first time in months and it was glorious! It was gorgeous out so I ended up going out for a short run through my neighborhood, going wherever I pleased, and then I met up with Christy and Holly for drinks! The next day was the Marine Corps Marathon and we had some friends running, so Ben and I went out to spectate for a bit. I don't think I have ever spectated a race I didn't participate in in any capacity (except Cherry Blossom this year, but that was different because I had planned to run and got injured), and it was SO FUN! Seriously, it was a dream of mine to stand on the sidelines with a cup of coffee in my hand and cheer as runners went by. I should really try it more often.
Labels: Linkup: What's New With You?