We are all in this together! 2019 reflections and looking forward to 2020

The “We are all in this together!” posts are weekly training updates – glimpses into my personal training weeks with all the highs and lows, struggles and successes.

Another week of training in the books, a slow week of training. Initially, I was frustrated by this but looking back on it, it has been restorative. I was sick for the beginning of the week and recovering for much of the rest. This allowed time for daily hikes with family and friends. I may not have been running, but I was back in Milwaukee so these hikes were on familiar trails and I couldn’t help but be taken back in a kind of déjà vu. So many training days spent on these trails. 2019 was a difficult year for me with career changes and out-of-state moves. New job schedules didn’t allow for participation in races I had been looking forward to and working overtime again meant significant rearrangements in scheduling and prioritization. Needless to say, these hikes have provided a motivational and inspiring trip down memory lane in preparation for the upcoming training year. The timing of this break was kind of perfect as more structured training for 2020 begins this coming week!

This week I continued to read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. In this week’s portion of the book he shares that the first time he ran 26 miles was a solo run from Athens to Marathon – the original messenger’s course (in reverse).  He says that upon finishing this run he wasn’t overcome with pride and feelings of accomplishment, rather stating “Strangely, I have no feeling of accomplishment. The only thing I feel is utter relief that I don’t have to run anymore.” I found this interesting and, at the same time, very relatable.  I began thinking of long runs and noting that while sometimes we finish feeling strong and unstoppable, oftentimes we are just so glad to be done. This isn’t to say the latter runs are any less satisfying, sometimes even more so. There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from making it through a struggle, a reminder of our grit and ability to do difficult things without any recognition or fanfare – and that, is badass. 

This coming week begins more structured training. For me, this means writing it out a week in advance in a planner.  I’m old school – there’s something about writing it all down that I just can’t give up. One of my favorite things is going back to old planners and reading my thoughts through my struggles and successes. I use a planner as opposed to a training journal because this allows me to incorporate running seamlessly into the rest of my life. Included alongside work and home obligations, it puts running squarely among the priorities in my life. With my current schedule this means waking up and completing many runs before dawn and often doing strength training in the evening after a 12 hour day. While this at times frustrates me and makes me think, “why bother?” I have come to appreciate this schedule as another training component. Using grit in developing the will to persevere when we just don’t want to do it anymore.

When it comes down to it, through any inconvenience or frustration, I end up back in the same place. Firstly, a place of understanding that we all have our unique struggles. And secondly, a place of overwhelming gratitude for good health and the ability to push my body in incredible ways to explore my physical and mental capabilities – that, is priceless. 

Here’s to welcoming in 2020! A year I hope to fill with training, volunteering, and community involvement. Building trails and community, protecting the wild spaces we hold dear while encouraging and supporting one another through the journey.

Happy New Year! Have a great week!

Melissa

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