Keeping It Real: From the past, to the present, to the future… running goals.

2018 is my 10th year of running. It was in January of 2018 that my friend Heather first suggested running as a way to get healthy and fit. It started as part of my workout routine and a way to lose weight. It was a way to pass time between classes. We made a goal to run at least one 5k. That year we ran 3 together. I ran until I got tired, then would walk and run after that.

After fall of 2008 came and went, running went to the back burner. I didn’t run another race until 2012. I had a lot going on – I was just starting my career and trying to figure out where I wanted to fit into the world of dietetics, the stress of the final year of college, my internship and starting my first job had led to me regaining all of the weight I lost in 2008 (and then some), and I was planning my wedding. Running was the furthest thing from my mind, it wasn’t my passion, and I had no goals pertaining to it.

In 2013 I made some running goals, but they were pretty steep. I had a lot of races that I wanted to do that I would not end up doing because my job made training difficult. I did run a couple of 5ks, including the first 5k that I did not walk.

2014 was a turning point. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to run more. And I did. I did more training, I ran more races. I made it a goal to run at least 3 5k races and either an 8k or a 10k, and I did. I joined a new gym with an indoor track and fitness classes that I really enjoyed going to. I started my tradition of “Banking the Miles” where I tried to beat my running/walking miles each month and each year. At the end of 2014, I made a huge decision – I left my job in long term care and started my career as a bariatric dietitian.

At that time I had also hit my highest weight. So when 2015 began, I hit my goals hard. I wanted to lose weight, be more active and be healthier. I wanted to be a positive influence for my patients. 2015 was the start of my race streak – my goal of running at least one race every month. I ran my first 8k, my first Crim, and I found a couple of running groups on Facebook. I had a few running friends but I had not jumped into the full community. I still went to races alone and you won’t see any pictures of me with running groups in 2015. The fire had started burning, though…

2016 was the year that the flames turned into a bonfire. I put myself out there in my running groups and attended my first group run. I started running with more people. I continued my race streak. In April 2016 I ran my first half marathon. In October 2016 I ran my first marathon. I had lost weight, was feeling good about myself, and was making strides in almost every area of my life… notice I said almost…

That year I let the most important area of my life – my relationship with my husband – slip into the background. I had these new friends, this new community that was so exciting for me, and he wasn’t really a part of it. Don’t get me wrong, Ken has always been a huge supporter of my running. My biggest fan! But he wasn’t a runner. That year I got caught up in all of the new and exciting things that I was doing, I got so focused on getting PRs and running new distances, and I got lost in the new group of people that I had met. Thankfully Ken was still there, even if he had faded into the background of these new and exciting things, and *spoiler alert* we’re still together and doing better than ever. But that year and the next really tested us.

2017 was just a messed up year. I can’t say that it was awful, because so many amazing things happened. I PR’ed every distance I ran. I did my first triathlon on my 30th birthday. I finally joined the sub 30 club with my best friend Paula. I shaved nearly a half hour off my marathon time. I was in the best shape of my life. Ken started running and worked on his health. But again, not everything in life was so peachy. There was a lot going on in my personal life with “friendships”, I went through some medical/psychological issues, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. By the time 2017 was over, I was ready to kiss it goodbye.

I started 2018 with a refreshed view on life and on running. My word for this year has been “REDEMPTION”. I really feel like I have achieved that in so many ways. I have stepped back from the constant pressure of getting better and faster, doing things because other people expect me or want me to. I’ve stopped giving in to “FOMO”.  I ditched the toxic people in my life. I reconnected with Paula. I have been a “race mom”, supporter and volunteer almost as much as I have raced myself. I ran with My Team Triumph for the first time. I started working for TriToFinish. My marriage is stronger than ever. My mom is cancer free.

This year I started with some running goals that have evolved and changed. Part of my “REDEMPTION” was that I wanted to run a marathon, on my own, in less than 6 hours. That changed when my “sister from another mister” told me she wanted to run with me. She pushed me and supported me and I ran a marathon in less than 6 hours. I also wanted to run a half marathon in 2 1/2 hours. That didn’t happen, but I did PR my half marathon last weekend. That was it as far as running goals – but underneath it all I wanted to fall in love with running again. I wanted to do it for me. And that is a goal that I have most definitely accomplished in 2018. We’ll see what the next years have in store!

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