Bests, Worsts, and Scary Things.

So yesterday’s post got a little serious—I know, I’m sorry for my susceptibility to getting all  existential in my writing (the English major in me lives on).

Anyway, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that I think we should take advantage of the New Year, and I personally intend to use the opportunity to highlight some of my goals.

I use the term goals instead of resolutions because most of them have already been in existence for a little while. My specific running goals were detailed in my running wish list, and I’m planning on prioritizing those throughout this year’s races and training. I do have an overarching resolution, however, that I feel encompasses several areas in my life—both running and otherwise.

But first, I’ll being with a quick New Year’s recap. BF and I spent the evening visiting with some of our friends from high school, and it was low key but all-around a good time. We all went to the fancy shmancy hotel in our hometown and pretended to be upper-crust socialites that can afford $10 drinks and lavish suites. Hint: We can’t. Instead, we lounged in the overly-manicured hotel bar/lobby/hang out area and shared our best and worsts of 2011.

If you’re interested, I would say that I had 2 Bests of 2011. Yea, yea I know it’s cheating, but ties are allowed in your own list-making rules.

But I’ll start with my Worst of 2011, because I like ending on a good note. The worst part of 2011 was being injured for 3 months, completely unable to run and even walk correctly. I had full-fledged gimp status from March to June, and let’s just say in the beginning I was not happy about it. I cried, I was angry, I was lost. In the end, though, this worst turned into a very important lesson for me, and the harshness of the situation turned out to be bittersweet. I am now a more careful, smart, and balanced runner—and it took a humbling and disabling experience for me to reach these new understandings about running. So yea, it was a worst, but fortunately I was able to make the most out of a crappy situation.

The beginning of the end. Days before the death of my hip flexor.

Now onto happy things:

My first Best of 2011 was officially moving into a place with BF. Sure, we started living together toward the end of 2010, however in July 2011 we signed an official lease together, bought furniture together, the whole real-world-relationship shebang. It was great and a true highlight.

Look! We are Seattle residents!

The other Best somewhat goes without saying—running my first marathon.

You've probably never seen this photo before, right?

Two years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you asked if I could run a marathon, or even a half-marathon for that matter. Even months before signing up, I felt that a marathon was for the “other” runners, and I was content with the 13.1 distance. However, after recovering from my injury, I realized that only sticking with the 13.1 distance was really playing it safe. I knew I could go further, and I knew that if I worked at it enough I could build to doing a full marathon. Also, I knew that following a strict, regimented schedule would help me from overdoing it and abusing my running as I had been before.

So I went for it, and it was amazing. The training was intense, as were the nerves and apprehension leading into the race, but there has not been anything more rewarding in my life than seeing the “Mile 26” marker and mustering all my strength to sprint to the finish line.

So what’s next?

Well, inspired from the marathon and my overarching quest toward expanding my horizons, I’ve decided that this year will be all about alleviating the things that scare me.

No, I won’t be re-watching The Ring or visiting graveyards, however I will be facing head-on the things in my life that I either avoid, shy away from, or simply ignore based on the fact that they are hard or daunting. I find that too often there are things in my life that I settle with simply based on the fact that they are comfortable and easy. A simple example would be driving my car down the massive hill by my house because running up it at the end of my run is simply too hard.

A bigger example would be deciding to spend my entire weekend at home instead of calling my friends and making plans, because sitting on my couch and perfecting my hermit status is easier than mustering up the energy to go out.

{Dexter, you do not help with this habit}

The fact is, in each of these examples, I know myself and I know that taking the harder, less-convenient option is almost always much more rewarding. When I complete a long, brutal hill, I feel much more satisfied in my run overall. When I actually go out with my friends (whom, mind you, I adore) and spend some quality social time, I am a much more well-rounded person and frankly happier overall.

When we are able to identify the things in our lives that we do based on comfort and routine, we can recognize that there is an element of apprehension and curiosity missing. And understandably, because facing the unknown as opposed to the familiar is typically the much easier choice. However, when we acknowledge our fears and purposefully face them, we are given a rejuvenating sense of accomplishment. These fears can be monumental or miniscule, however opting for the more challenging course gives us the opportunity to expand our experiences beyond that which is comfortable. Comfort is good, however we cannot grow or learn without reaching beyond our safe zones.

I look at this “resolution” to face the things that scare me as more of an overall mind shift. I might be able to get up and get sweaty every morning, but when it comes to laziness and taking the easy way out I am also a master. I want to get rid of this mentality; I know myself well enough to know that sticking to the mundane, simple routines of life do not stimulate my need for new experiences. I know that if I can be intentional about facing the things that I’m scared of, I will begin to establish a greater understanding of my strengths, my weaknesses, and my overall potential.

2012, fearlessness is the name of the game.

Gah, got serious again. Something about the New Year is getting to me apparently. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and I highly encourage you to think about the things you’re afraid of and how you can overcome them. Because I guarantee—you can.

Question: What scares you? 


3 thoughts on “Bests, Worsts, and Scary Things.

  1. Pingback: Hill Hell: A Necessary Evil | Run Birdie Run

  2. Pingback: Running with Friends and My First Personal Ad | Run Birdie Run

  3. Pingback: Resolutions Revisited | Run Birdie Run

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