This past year has been full of challenges and change. Big goals, and small setbacks. But what is it that makes a year “good?”
I have met some of my now dearest friends within the past year. You know by now that I am a part of Oiselle, and you might have guessed that they are more than a clothing brand. Through this company I have met these said friends. I have attended small camps and retreats with Olympic athletes, I have met the head Bird herself, and felt like I am a part of something that I never knew I was missing. I am not a girls girl, but these women, these women I could hang around for days with. So, long story short, that is number one= female friends who empower me and make me feel proud for my crazy goals and push me to reach them.
Which leads us to the second: goals. Sometimes things happen without any effort, they start small and snowball to something gigantic, leaving you in the wake looking back thinking “how did I get here?” I feel like 2016 for my personal goals went a little like that. My first race of the year was not meant to be a race, I wanted a fun group trail run to gear up for my first 100K road race in April. So a 50K in February in the snow would do it. Little did I know that I would have the best race I’ve ever had, because who are we kidding I am slightly competitive and it was always a race. It was the best in the sense that I felt awesome from start to finish, a smile on face, thanking everyone. Fueling was minimal but on point. I ended up winning that race, first time being overall female winner and without suffering to get there.
Leading me into the best race year I have ever had from 100K road national championship to The Leadville 100 trail run, to finally besting my PR in the first ultra I ever ran, (50 mile road) almost winning. Unlike the first race of the season, this last race was uncomfortable. I fought hard for this race. It was also my very first race in 6 years alone.
Going into a new year with a new plan and new training cycles we ask ourselves. What is this? How can I replicate this? As athletes that is the question, things are never so exact as to completely copy those actions, but that is why we all have our “lucky” items, our rituals, our diet, our precise mannerisms.
Third: I got the best job EVER! I started my own run coaching business Team Bird Training. This has surpassed any idea I had about being a coach. I have seen so many athletes achieve their goals and reach for new ones. I have seen my athletes broken and helped them rebuild their confidence. I have formed relationships with these people that are so valuable. I continue to grow as a person and a coach because of my athletes. They make me want to be the best for them. I am truly lucky for each and every one of the athletes that have worked with me. I know this is the right place for me and I look forward to this next year with the present and future athletes of Team Bird and see all the amazing things they can do!
With all of these amazing things that have happened this year, I am still left with a goal that I didn’t reach. I didn’t even know it was really a goal until it didn’t happen. It is no secret that runners and I think ultra runners especially are a little masochistic. We embrace that discomfort with open arms and say “bring it on,” that is what makes us wanting more. I signed up for one of the hardest 100 milers as my first, fully expecting pain, discomfort, doubt, and mental anguish. I was ready for it. I consider myself a strong person and have been dealt a shit hand more times than I can count. So there was only one way to look at it, embrace it! It never came. Yes, I hurt at times, and yes it was hard, but I never wanted to quit. I had told myself that quitting is not an option. I never entered that wormhole of self doubt or despair. So where was it? How do I get there? Why do I WANT to get there? I realized after the race that I long for that, I guess it’s to see what I really am made of, to suffer to make it more real. Yeah, I am strong, but how strong? What is that breaking point? I feel like I am going through the motions sometimes, and that it is all some dream. Not real. Weird I know, crazy goals. So in true fashion 2017 goals are pretty big and hopefully I will get what I am searching for.