And new beginnings.

Everyone is entitled to one epic emotional melt down a year.

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself after last week’s DNF.  In hindsight, I saw that shit storm brewing from a mile away, but if I took anything away from that experience as a whole is that “I will take care of it on Monday” isn’t really an effective mantra going into an ultra.  If we’re being completely honest here, I have been saying “I will take care of it Monday” for a few weeks now.

This week, I took care of it Monday.  And Tuesday and Wednesday.  Workplace melodramatics were nipped.  Phone calls with estranged family members were made.  That closet that I started cleaning a month ago is clean.  Something was just “off” in my world for the past month or so, and I feel like I just needed to take some time to restore whatever balance exists in my often chaotic life.

Views from the Hollow

Views from the Hollow

This afternoon, I did my first run since last Saturday.  It was my lucky day, as two of my most morally supportive running friends joined me.  We headed out to Brush Hollow, which is a cross country ski trail, but it’s a nice little mixed bag of rolling hills, mud puddles, and dark pines.  It was the most restorative experience I’ve had in a long time.  We did 6 short miles, but I left the woods refreshed and ready to think about the future and my relationship to the sport of trail running.

And basically, the future looks like I’m not going anywhere… except back into the woods.

One thing I want in the upcoming year is to become a more well rounded athlete.  I found a lifting program that I think will do me in, and after I went for a 45 minute easy bike ride the other day and thought that I was going to die, I realized that maybe some cross training is probably going to do me good.  I am going to tackle a 5k training plan (weird.) to get used to running in the pain zone and get more comfortable with different modalities of speed work.  I want to feel healthy.  I want to get strong.  Then, I plan on diving right into Hyner 25k training.

Because next year, my goal is to get better at things that I already feel like I’m ok at doing.  Half marathon through 20 mile is a happy distance for me.  I want to see how far I can come within the realms of those distances, not how far I can go without tapping out.

While I don’t really regret anything about this last season, I also have a much better grasp on my strengths and weaknesses as a runner, and definitely a better understanding of the time that I need to put in to continuously improve.

So that’s where I’m headed.  Repeat this year, only better, faster, and happier.  And minus anything starting or ending with the word marathon (*unless it is preceded by half.  I like that.  Maybe that was a bad analogy for NO MARATHONS OR ULTRA MARATHONS FOR AWHILE.)

I also want to blog more, because this is one of my favorite accountability.

Today on our run we talked about how you can’t train for mental toughness until you find out where your breaking point is.  Maybe I did break last week, but I’m not broken, in fact, I’m hungrier than ever.  While I thought my season ended after Sinnemahone, I instead am going to cap it tonight, ending on a much more positive note.  Here’s to a Monday of starting over, only in a much better place than you actually began.  Happy trails until next time.

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