Monday, December 31, 2012

2012.. a year in review

First we try to run faster. Then we try to run harder. Then we learn to accept ourselves and our limitations, and at last, we can appreciate the true joy of running.

Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, 
author of The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life

Here we are on the eve of a new year.  Seems amazing really; the years seem to be zipping along at a 4 minute-mile pace. The older I become, the faster time flies, the less I understand, the more things change, and the more grateful I am for my health, my running accomplishments, my family, and my friends.  

I had lunch today with two of my three brothers. We talked a lot; unusual for us. We talked about the complexities of family and relationships. We talked about building bridges and caring more for one another. We talked about the love we have for our two sisters. Pretty heady stuff for three middle aged guys over a Stellas's coffee, but it's true, we talked and we listened, and it was good... there's something about what happens when we talk*.  

I am struck with the Burfoot quote above.  It's about running but the parallels to life are brilliant.  In life I have run fast and I have run hard, I have run with purpose and passion.  I have run for time and I have run for timelessness   I have run to clear my mind and to shed a silent tear.  I have run to disperse anger and to celebrate joy. I have run to satisfy a primal compulsion.  In 2013 I will learn to run slowly, to accept my limitations, to let go of things I cannot control. 

It was a good year for running, a good year to be alive. I encourage you to set a running goal. Register for a race.  Run strong and with conviction  Run with your feet on the ground and your head in the sky.** Smile at approaching runners because they hurt, maybe more than you.  Like Burfoot says, learn to run slowly. Learn from your humiliation.  Accept your defeats as triumphs.  Learn, as I am trying to learn, the true joy of running... of life.  So my dear runners, for what it's worth, here's my year in review.  

  • I receive an email from Melissa. She says  "I don't ask will I run today, instead I say when will I run today?".  I like that... when will I run today? When will you?
  • First race of the year.  Hypothermic Half Marathon.  My 5th Hypo, 4th really, I had one dnf in 2009. I started off in a frump, but pulled out of it and nipped in just under 2 hours, a first sub-two hypo for me.  
  • I receive an email from Melissa.  She says "running is my own creation".  I like that imagery.  It focusses my energy and emphasizes the individuality of running. 
  • Injured my left calf at mile 17.65 of an 18 mile run.  Three weeks of rest, physiotherapy, massage, more rest, endless rest.  Note: I do not do 'rest' well, but maybe I'll learn in 2013... must accept my limitations.  
  • Sweet Gwen is running again.
  • First ride of the season.  Winnipeg to St. Francis Xavier, return, with Scott.  It wasa great ride. Lots of laughs. 
  • April 17, I'm back running from the calf injury. Slow running.
  • Second race of the year, Run the Rainbow, 10 k.  I ran it slow and very cautiously, calf okay, stiff, but no pain.  Bib number 1509, my birthdate.
  • Third race of the season. Winnipeg Police Half Marathon. Cool drizzly conditions.  Shaved 57 seconds off my previous PB.  Bib number 55, my age.
  • Fourth race of the season.  Fargo Marathon. My goal was to make it to the start line.  Accomplished.  My second goal was to make it to the finish line.  Accomplished.  
  • Fifth race of the season.  Manitoba Half Marathon.  The conditions were hot.  So glad I chose not to run the full marathon.  I returned to the full marathon course on my scooter.  Cheered on all the fulls.  Connie completed her first full marathon.  It was a scorcher at the end. 
  • See Mike Run gets modern. My son sets me up with a new domain name...
  • Training for Twin City Marathon.  Very, very hot July.  I blogged about how to run smart in the heat.  
  • Sixth race of the year. The Fort Garry Rotary Club Half Marathon.  The BEST course ever. The BEST organization ever. The BEST volunteers ever. Shaved a full 3 minutes, 49 seconds off my previous pb for a new pb, 1:49:49... see Mike smile!
  • Seventh race of the year.  The Point Douglas Run. I ran with Connie, David, and Melissa.  The most fun I've had on a 10 k race ever!  This race will stay fresh in my mind for eternity.  
  • We remember Ted Swain. Ted's Run for Literacy. Second Annual. 235 participants, about 50 volunteers.  A huge success for the race committee.  
  • Eighth race of the year.  Twin City Marathon.  I hooked up with David and Melissa at mile 16.  Ran it in together.  Quote of the day goes to Melissa. At mile 24 she says "My mouth hurts so much from smiling"  and then, 20 seconds later she adds "Wouldn't it be funny if tomorrow my mouth hurt more than the rest of my body".  I laughed out loud... how many times can you belly laugh at mile 24 of a marathon?  Thanks Melissa.
  • Ninth race of the year.  The Fire Paramedic Half Marathon.  John asked me to pace a 2 hour group.  I started with about 20 eager runners and ended alone. One runner stayed with me almost to the end but crashed at about mile 11.  My time? 1:59: 57. 
  • Injured again.  Same calf.  This time I'm smart.  I go to physio and massage before it gets too bad.  Feeling sorry for my self.  I'm a big baby when it comes to injuries.  Down for about 2 or 3 weeks. My physiotherapist notices an interesting strike pattern on my shoes.  
  • Bob Nicol, is appointed to the 2013 The North Face Canadian Trail Ambassador.  Bob is one of five Canadian trail ambassadors being honoured for their passion of trail running.  
  • My son moves out. He parts with a casual "Ok, see ya later". I think to myself... 24 years together and it comes down to ... ok, see ya later... Don't get me wrong, it's all good, he's moved out for all the right reasons and he's only a half-mile away, but still, it took a few runs to process the empty nest syndrome.
  • December 27, last run of 2012, logged my 1308th mile of the year.

It's a good day to be alive, this last day of another year. I wish you all well.


*Lucinda Williams
** Talking Heads