A New Start

I've had a blog before. I started writing it in college, and I wrote pretty regularly for the first few years. After a while, life got busier and I wrote less. In October of 2013 I stopped writing because I got so sick of writing the same "Oh, I'm injured again" or "I ran another crappy race" posts. It's no fun to write the same post over and over, and I'm sure it's no fun to read either. So I took a step back from blogging.

In the more than a year since then a lot has happened. I started a new job working for a veterans' attorney last February and it is, by far, the most fulfilling job I've ever had. I've also gone through a couple injuries and decided to take an extended break from running steeplechase. After so many years on the track, the repetitive turns and the stress hurdling put on my body had really taken a toll on me. 

Up a Black Diamond ski slope!
Running on Thin Air @ 8,000ft

Unsure of what to do next, I hit the trails. And I fell in love. It turned out that I was actually not too bad at trail running, as I finished 5th in the GoPro Games 10km in Vail, CO. I missed the US Mountain Running Championship with an ankle injury a few weeks later, but returned to the trails in the fall with an overall victory and course record at the Running on Thin Air trail half marathon in Red Feather Lakes, CO.

I made a few attempts at a marathon debut, but the first had to be canceled when my wisdom teeth decided they needed to come out ASAP. I ended up canceling my "back-up" marathon as well, when I severely injured my achilles during my tune-up half marathon.

I took the longest break from running I've ever taken, spending 8 weeks in a walking boot and swimming & biking to try to stay in shape. It honestly wasn't all that terrible, and it was kind of nice to get to mix it up a little. I even went for a 53 mile ride to celebrate my half birthday. So, it wasn't ALL bad. The day after I finally got out of the boot, I was riding my bike home from work, hit a curb, and flew over my handlebars. Thanks to some nasty roadrash and a banged-up knee, my return to running had to wait another week and a half. When I had gotten injured, I was in the best shape of my life and on my first day back I barely made it two miles at a very slow pace. It was humbling, to say the least.

A few days later, I was getting off work when my dad called: "Your mom is on hospice care and won't make it to Christmas. You need to come home." The next morning, a Saturday, my boyfriend Alex and I made the 7 hour drive to Lincoln, NE with my cat curled up in the back seat. I don't think I could've made the drive without him. Alex flew back to CO on Tuesday. By Thursday my mom couldn't get out of bed. On Saturday morning, December 13th, she was gone. Just like that. I did the only thing that seemed to make any sense in that moment: I laced up my running shoes and ran out the door.

I'll write more about that in the future. It can't be avoided. That week completely changed me and there's a lot that needs to be said. But not right now. I'm simply not ready.

After helping my dad around the house for a few days I came back to Boulder. Because I couldn't afford to take even more time off work, Dad came to Boulder for Christmas to spend
a few days with me, Alex, and Alex's family. It was nice to have everyone together, but celebrating anything at that point just felt wrong. It still does.

Determined to keep myself busy, I enrolled in a class at the University of Colorado: Suffering and Care in Society. Depressing? Perhaps. Cathartic? We'll see.

Stout Month!
I'm again training toward a marathon debut, but this time the goal is just to make it to the starting line healthy. I'll worry about running fast the next time around. Because I now have work AND school on my plate, fitting in two workouts during the week is nearly impossible, so I've been racing every weekend as my 2nd workout. I'm not in the greatest shape yet, but I've been having fun. And that's what this year is primarily about for me: doing what gives me joy. What that means will probably evolve over the year, but right now it means racing a lot, playing on as many trails as possible, and sharing adventures with my Alex.

As for why I felt the need to start a new blog instead of revitalizing the old one? Simple: I'm not the same person as I was then. I'm still learning who this new "me" is, and I invite you to join me on the journey.

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