A year ago today I wrote about my love for running. I don’t think I could make a better case for why I love to run—it’s one of my favorite blog posts. I started 2015 with high hopes of PR’s, happy runs, and crossing the finishline at my first 50-miler. It was going to be a good running year for me.
Unfortunately, the year didn’t turn out as planned. No long muddy trail runs, no Speedgoat redemption, no Pikes Peak Marathon, and certainly no 50-miler; but what I did end up with was one very unhappy left calf that sidelined me for most of the year. Disappointing, yes, but life goes on as they say.
In reflection, all was not lost. I quit a job that made me miserable and I completed Orcas Island 25K and Smith Rock 15-miler with good friends cheering me on along the way. While these successes were definitely sweet, what I’m most proud of is my growing involvement in giving back through the sport I love so much.
Last September, I joined a team of Sarcoma Slayers who raised over $3,100 ($70,000 in all) to benefit the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center’s Slay Sarcoma Research Fund and raise awareness about the dangers of morcellation. In addition, I formed partnerships as part of the Small Change initiative and I’m incredibly honored to be involved with runners who are committed to giving back to their communities.
A few days ago, I set out on a 6-mile run—my longest since last summer. I was nervous with each step. I couldn’t help but wonder if my calf would start grumbling. Would it fail me again? I’ve been afraid to go “long” for a while or even head out for a short run—it made me question if I loved running as much as I thought. Had it been just an act? A charade? The truth was I was afraid—afraid of an old injury returning and what it would mean for my running year—and for my wellbeing. It became easier to not run.
But with each mile I gained confidence to keep moving forward. I was even enjoying myself out there—and I almost forgot about the calf. Although it had been months since I ran this portion of the trail, there was familiarity behind every turn. “Oh yeah, I remember this hill,” as I cautiously dashed up it. Upon reaching the top, I had visions of Rocky’s triumphant run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and thought “I’m back” or at least I am today.
Thanks to Portland’s recent rain, the trail was nice and muddy—just the way I like it. It had been a while since I ran on muddy trails, so I darted through mud puddles with the spirit of a young child. Though I was feeling good, I still took it easy—I didn’t want to push my luck. I stopped to stretch and remind my calf it has a job to do. But then I saw it—a tree of familiarity, marking I had less than a quarter mile to go; I knew I’d reach the finishline now with a happy calf. And I did.
I can’t predict how the year will unfold, but I’m grateful a 6-mile run rekindled my love affair with running. It was a love worth waiting for.
Today I encourage you to do something you love—I’ll be out there celebrating with a run.