So Long, 2014, and Good Riddance.

The year started out so strong– there were some bumps along the way, a few bad races, my health mysteriously started to decline in March (although I didn’t realize what was going on at the time), but I was on a high from completing my first marathon. I started trail running seriously, I completed SO MANY races, most of which were either a half marathon or farther (Scenic City Half, Tick Ridge Trek, and the XTERRA 15k) , and I grew so much as a runner. I completed things I never thought I would be able to do– including things like the Delano 12 hour race, the McKay Hollow Madness 25k, and the season ended with a grand finale at the Grand Viduta Stage races. It was a weekend filled trail running, good friends, and tons of fun. You can read my write ups on them here. I placed first in my age group at the stage races, and with that accomplishment under my belt, I began to entertain the thought of training for my first 50k in the fall.

(Me and some of my trail-crew on a particularly muddy, rainy, FUN run)

Then summer came along, and the days where I didn’t feel good seemed to be happening more and more. I started to wonder if something was wrong with me, but since the sickness came and went, so I brushed it off. I participated in one of our city’s biggest running events, the Cotton Row 10k, placed first in my age group at another local 10k, and continued to run hard while my strange and painful digestive issues got worse. Eventually I wasn’t running, I was barely eating, I lost a lot of weight (in a bad way) I didn’t do or have energy for much other than ging to work and sleeping. I was seeing tons of doctors and not getting any answers, and I had so many tests done they all began to run together. This lasted for days and then weeks and then MONTHS, and I also ended up having to have my wisdom teeth removed during this time. Things were not going according to plan, I was frustrated and upset. Finally in October I ended up having surgery and after healing from that, felt the best I had felt in a LONG TIME. But too many months of low activity and poor nutrition had taken its toll, there was no way I would be able to accomplish my goals. I said goodbye to the 50k, I was going to come no where close to the mileage goal I set at the beginning of the year, I missed out on many shorter races I had registered for, and I had to skip the local marathon that I was so excited to return to.

(Hashtag hospital life)

(My name, among many of my friends names, crossed off the roster at the 50k I registered for and hoped to run – kind of a perfect illustration for how I felt about this year as a whole. I didn’t even remember registering for it, so seeing my name on the list was a sad surprise when I showed up to volunteer.)

As much as my memory would have me believe, it wasn’t truly all bad. There was so much good in 2014 for me. I watched my littlest sister graduate high school and spoke at her ceremony, I helped her move into her dorm at college, I celebrated the second anniversary of being married to my perfect partner, I received the news that my middle sister is pregnant and I will be an aunt for the second time in early 2015, I witnessed my mom’s marriage to a wonderful man who I am proud to call my step father, watched my husband graduate with his degree in computer engineering and begin his master’s degree program, we began construction on our very first house, I got to see my niece, Kate, grow more and more and celebrate her first birthday, I sucked up my negativity and volunteered at the very races I had hoped to run and instead got to enjoy seeing my friends succeed, I stood in as maid of honor at my step sister’s elopement,  I placed in my age group at several races, despite my turtle running tendencies, I got to participate in my local half marathon and realized that I CAN come back from all this…

I am thankful for everything that happened to me in 2014. Was it the best year of my life? HECK NO. To be honest, it was probably one of the worst. But no year is all good or all bad, there is balance, ying and yang, ebb and flow… and as with all trials, I learned a lot; and isn’t that what’s most important at the end of another revolution around the sun? Instead of all the goals I had set out at the beginning of the year, I accomplished other things. I recovered from surgery and took pleasure in the simpleness of just being pain free and able. I took a vacation from serious tracking and reveled in the feeling of running just because I loved to. I stepped back and remembered why I love all of this in the first place. 2014 has been a great exercise in patience and gratitude for me, and now I’m ready to dive back into things more appreciative of it all than before.

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