A new year brings the opportunity for new resolutions, and for me, those resolutions tend to always revolve around running. I did well with my 2015 resolutions, accomplishing three of my four goals for the year. I did not manage to set any time PRs, but I learned throughout the year that for me, running is about a lot more than how fast you cover a particular distance. It’s about slowing down and enjoying the experience along the way. I know that sounds cliched, but it’s true.
The start of a new year and a new racing season brings a lot of excitement and possibility. I was fortunate enough to join the Fellow Flowers Crew (more on that soon) this past fall, and we are celebrating all of our goals on February 6th in a national “Declare it Day” event. I plan to meet with my favorite running ladies to share goals in person on the 6th, but I’m not the best at being patient when I’m excited about something, so I’m getting a jump start here.
My first goal is to continue to be true to who I am, and to stick to the trails for both training and races. Last year, I did the majority of my training on the technical trails around Philly, and I completely fell in love with trail running. I still signed up for several road races, however, because I got swept up in the glamour and the excitement of big time races. As you can probably predict, after doing all of my training on the trails, I struggled in those races. I also realized that running on the roads just doesn’t bring me the same joy that the trails do. I thought that the energy of the crowds would lift me up, but in the end, it was the time spent in nature, even in solitude, that always made me happiest. This year, I plan to celebrate that, and to stick to races that will allow me to be on the type of terrain that I love the best.
Speaking of races, I’m going outside my comfort zone this year. I hate feeling unsuccessful in any task, and so while I have pushed my limits over the years, it’s always been in controlled ways. I have never entered a race that I wasn’t sure I could complete, because the though of garnering a DNF was terrifying. This year, I’m trying to put that aside. I’ve signed up for several hilly, technical trail races, the most intimidating of which is the Worlds End 50K. Worlds End is a 31.66 mile race that has 5,800 feet of elevation gain. All of my ultras thus far have been on very tame courses by comparison, so this is a big challenge. I actually hesitated for several weeks before signing up because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete the race. Then I realized that you never really know your limits unless you are willing to test them, so I decided that this might be the perfect test. I’m hoping to attend a course preview run next weekend, which should give me a better idea of exactly what I’ve gotten myself into.
My final goal this year is to continue to enjoy the trails with my family. Due to the distances that I usually run, my children rarely have the opportunity to join me for any of my training, but after a great week hiking in Maine last summer, my husband and I resolved to spent more time out on the trails with the kids. We did a fairly good job last fall, taking several family hikes through the Wissahickon. When we were in Florida, we explored the trails in Lake Louise State Park, and we recently made our first trip out to Ridley Creek State Park. On that occasion, the kids made it through a 4.5 mile loop, their longest hiking trek thus far. We recently booked a return trip to Acadia for this summer, this time with the kids, and we can’t wait to take them up the mountains that we fell in love with last July. There’s something so peaceful in knowing that in today’s world, with all the technology we are surrounded by, my children can still find joy in walking through the woods with their parents.
I’m excited for the year to come, and the opportunity to test new limits, explore new trails, and continue to celebrate all the joys that running brings into my life.