1,554.73 Miles Later - 2016: Running Memorable Moments

I'm in a much better mental place than I was one year ago. I was in a dark place Jan 1, 2016. So very dark. But I had decided that I would climb, claw, and fight to escape my ever present mental black hole that had swallowed me whole for the previous few years.

I reached deep and decided to honor the elders. I was raised with the ideology that when you're at your lowest, think and do for others. Thus the #Run365 run streak was dedicated to raise money and awareness for the Arizona Make A Wish Foundation was born. I personally decided that I would donate 1.00 for every mile I ran in 2016.

I solicited others to get on board. There was matches and company match that eventually brought the total of funds raised collectively to over $4,000.00 for the year! That's what these 1,554.73 miles in 2016 represent. The kids.

It's easy to look at the run log and be impressed with the resume on the street and trails during 18 sanctioned events including:
  • first sub 5 hour marathon finish of three marathons run this year - one was a trail run over 8,000 feet above sea level
  • 5 half marathon completions - two at elevations above 8,000 feet above sea level (one started at over 10K above sea level!)
  • 9 epic trail runs, including a 50K and the Javelina Jundred 100K
Yes these are some crazy mile markers on the running resume, but those aren't the thing that come to mind when I think of my year. Those things are surreal. What's real to me is:
There was a lot of pain in 2016. Physical and mental. The mileage is almost triple the distance I ran in 2015, and I thought that was an epic running year.

However at my darkest moment back in February I signed up for the Javelina Jundred 100K. March, I began researching, reading, and mentally preparing for the start of training that would begin in June. It is during this time when I learned to digest the moment and not the enormity of the task ahead. To begin to live and run in the step. I began to think constantly of the fact that every step was money for children in dire health. That no mater how I felt, mile 60 would be much worse.

As the miles pilled up over the summer with epic 150+ mile months that pushed into 200+ mile months, I learned to listen to my body like never before. I began to sleep more. I began to eat better. I began to... change.

I've experienced severe pain in the past. I've had a broken elbow in recent years. My first marathon finish left me unable to walk for a few days. However, pushing myself to be ready for 100K, I learned a new kind of pain from within that helped pull me from the bowls of depression that I've been fighting.

I learned to push through the physical pain of the JJ100K training and the mental torment that came with it. I learned to quiet my mind and then push my body. I learned to overcome my personal mental struggles through learning to live in the mile that I was in.

When the training schedule says you need to get 60+ miles in this week and you have a 12+ hour job, the enormity of the tasks ahead can seem unachievable. But if you take the moment and the mile you're in. Learn to listen to the limitations of the body. Learn to alter training and understand that not meeting a mark doesn't mean failure, but means that you have to adapt. You begin to change how you think about life.

When I couldn't go long due to work restraints, I went fast or I went high (in the form of incline / hill training for a shorter duration than the schedule required). I learned to adapt. I learned to love what I could do and not fret over what I couldn't do. I learn to love what I WAS achieving instead of what others or life expected me to achieve.

That is why the final run of 2016 was surreal. My ID bracelet was and continues to be a constant reminder that I was pushing myself into unexplored territory. I spent a lot of time in 2016 in places I would have never ventured into in 2015. Places I never thought for a moment was a possibility for me in 2012 when I couldn't run 20 yards due high blood pressure and stress.

I learned to begin to truly love me and the enjoy fact that I was trying. I knew very well that I may not succeed at the ultimate goal for 2016 of completing the JJ100K or running everyday, but I learned to love the act of trying in the moment.

In 2016 through running, I've learned to pause and enjoy the moment despite what the timer on the watch says. I learned to enjoy the run instead of enduring the run despite the pain. The pain. The challenge. The desperation. The struggle. The failures They all conspire to make the moment, memorable.

I continue to learn to love me. The imperfections (but what is perfection?) To embrace MY moments. I still stupidly miss quite a few moments from time to time. But I thankful when I rise above the fog and remember to love the next moment when I get back up. Because outside of right now, this moment, there is no other time I know.

Remember be good y'all. Do you! Peace! May 2017 bring you some memorable moments.

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