New Year, New Challenge
It’s January 14. I’ve been sitting on my final post of 2017 for two weeks. So long, in fact, that I’ve already completed my first race of 2018 — the Bandera 50k on January 6.
The 2017 race year ended with an anti-climax. I’d registered for the Sporty Diva Last Run of the Year, marathon distance on December 31. A 2.8 mile loop course, racers can complete distances of 2.8 miles, all the way up to 26.2. Because of where Christmas and New Years fell in 2016, this same race was actually number 1 in my quest to run 40 races in 2017 on January 1. While I didn’t love the course, I did come to love the people over the several races we’d run together during the year. I also really liked the idea of completing my quest with the same race I’d started it with.
But by lap 4 of 9, I was sick to my stomach. I walked much of that loop, before announcing to Rose, the Race Director, I was done. Just like that.
In fact, I’d been sick a lot over the last few weeks, something I didn’t realize until I found myself at Mile 27 of the Bandera 50k one week later, doubled over in an abandoned barn on the side of the course. Not how I wanted to start the 2018 race season.
2017 was about completing a personal challenge and supporting others but, underlying those laudable goals, it was a year about quantity. Excess. 49 races. 2018 needed to be different.
I am one of those people who considers herself spiritual and not religious. That’s a comfortable way of saying that I see God all the time when I’m running, but only go to church for weddings and funerals. Still, I was receptive last year when my dear friend Tammy at Freedom Runner Girl introduced me to the Word of the Year, a practice by which you receive a word from your higher power meant to guide your year, rather than making a resolution. You can check out a great article about the practice here. My 2017 word, beacon, guided me through the 40 bibs project.
My 2018 word is sow, as in the planting of seeds. It’s about doing little things that will grow into something bigger later on. That means shifting focus from miles and onto things like my persistently tight hips and weak glutes; on stretching over Syrah as a means of relaxation after a long day. By asking what I am sowing with the decisions I am making, I will be focused on the inputs to running strong miles. And I know from my work as a Director at Amazon.com that, to get the best outputs, you need to focus on the input.
My 2018 goal is to complete the Bigfoot 200. It’s terrifying. Much scarier than running 40 races. But I also believe that my fear is a sign that this is exactly the goal that I should have for this year. I look forward to the journey, and I look forward to sowing the seeds that will get me there.