Thursday, January 16, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

So here I am, on the eve of another race trip. I'm headed out tomorrow to drive down to Baton Rouge with my friend Mary, to meet our friends Liz and Tim, to run The Louisiana Marathon on Sunday. I'm super excited, and looking forward to a fun weekend with friends doing one of my favorite things in the world.

What a difference a year makes.

The second weekend of January last year, I was a bundle of nerves, headed down to Houston with my husband and kids to run the Houston Marathon. I had a specific time goal, I had trained my patootie off, and I was one lean, mean, running machine. I had my best race ever, despite less than perfect weather, and left every bit of me on that course that I had. When I finished, running a Boston Qualifying time, I knew that even if it wasn't good enough, it was all I could've done that day. I had given it all, and I was proud of the work I'd done, the effort I've given, and the result I'd achieved.

Fast forward to today, January 16th, 2014, and I'm simply happy to be looking at another 26.2 start line. My somewhat-serious injury last summer really put my running in perspective for me. I'm not going to lie and say it hasn't been disappointing to have gained a pound here and there and lost a step in the same heres and theres. It took a serious commitment and countless hours of work, often painful, to get better, to run faster. I hope to get back to something approaching that level of fitness again in the coming years, despite now knowing exactly how much work it is to do that.

Even with all of that work, with all of that commitment, it wasn't all unqualified success. Sometimes doing our best truly isn't good enough. That's when we learn just a little bit more about ourselves, and realize just a little bit more clearly that sometimes, achievements aren't about garnering recognition from others. The BAA told me my Houston marathon time just wasn't quite fast enough to come run their race in 2014. I was disappointed, for sure. There was a bit of a funk for a few days. Then I snapped out of it, and continued the work to rehab my ankle and just enjoy the freedom of lacing up and hitting the pavement.

So here I am - a year later, a little more than 365 days after a cold, windy, personal best marathon, and I'm thrilled to just get to the start line. I may run a sub-4:00, I may run a 4:30, I may have an unexpected, unforeseen, and inexplicable day and run another 3:38 (but don't count on it). Unlike last year, though, I really don't care what the clock says when I cross that finish line. I know I'm blessed just to be there, laced up and ready.

Ready to run.

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