According to my Strava, I ran 583.5 miles this year. This is not a large number. Nor is it a particularly pretty, nice round number (I mean if I did not take this last week off, I could have at least made it to 600 miles). That is an average of a little over eleven miles a week. In a world where I am in constant admiration of women who call fifty mile weeks low mileage, I know it does not seem like much.
I started this blog with two big goals: run consistently and finish the Serious Series.* The past few years since my first and only marathon were filled with plenty of hopes and goals, but no finished races. Usually my hamstring and hip would act up and I would back off, give up, then start again.
I am not exactly sure what changed this year. My goals were humbler to be sure. I never had a single time goal for any of my races other than to finish. I did just that in April at the Trail Half-Marathon in Pinckney, Michigan. I cried at the finish line.
On the way though, I started new things and as the stress of “can I just make it to the race?” started to diminish, I rediscovered joy.
I started CrossFit — Bruno’s idea, but it did not take me long to love adding it to the schedule, something social to offset to my usually headphones in the ears, solitary running. I did my first Murph a month after starting and survived.
Then out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to try out a triathlon. By fate it seems, I found a beautiful used Trek bike at a shop near my local hometown. I started swimming again. I rode my bike down the same country road and bought a pair of those biker shorts.
And all the time, I kept running usually four times a week, sometimes three. Hills became easier (thanks, CrossFit). I won my age group for an August trail half-marathon. A friend of mine and I decided to run sixteen miles on a random weekday, just to see if we could (we could). I did my first triathlon later that month, deciding that yes, definitely, I would try for a sprint next year 2019 (now, as a pregnant lady, I say — we’ll see, ha!).
After several years of wanting to, I finally went to Run Woodstock in Pinckney. Bruno and I camped out, drank beers, hung out with fellow trail runners, listened to sixties and seventies cover bands, and cheered for ultramarathoners as they made their way through the finish line. I ran a 5k and then a miserable half-marathon, the slowest of my entire year. Little did I know, at the time I was racing for two!
The rest of September, October, and the first half of November, I ran very little, if at all. I found out Baby C was on his or her way and while excited about the pregnancy, I felt horrible. I continued going to CrossFit, which I think helped maintain some fitness, as I didn’t really lose that much speed when I started running again (well, aside for the sudden lack of aerobic capacity that comes with being pregnant — but I’m still faster than what I was at the beginning of the year).
I have been consistently running, along with CrossFit, again for the last six weeks. In those six weeks, I ran a 5k — the first race I knew I was running pregnant. I honestly did not think I would be able to run it under thirty minutes, but managed to do about two minutes better than that (and only around two minutes slower than what I was able to do this summer). While that made me happy, mostly I was and have been just grateful to be outside running again. I’m not kidding. It is cold and Michigan and in six weeks of running, I have ran on the treadmill only once.
So, yes, 585.5 miles might not seem like much, but to me those miles brought me to a lot of places and a lot of joy in 2018. At the beginning of this year, I did not know if I could consider myself a runner anymore. Now, at the very end, I not only consider myself a runner, but a CrossFitter, and a triathlete.
If 583.5 miles could bring me to all that, who knows where the miles will bring me in 2019?
*I had a third goal in mind for this blog: de-stressing from my dissertation. I’m happy (relieved) to say it helped.