Running.

As I sit here Christmas morning, enjoying coffee from my Ironman Coeur d’Alene mug from this year, I can think of little but running. This was a year of running for me – running from or perhaps because of hard stuff, running to really great stuff, and running itself.

On Christmas Eve, Kerry and Jenny and I ran together, as we do most Tuesday mornings. We missed Sommer, who is only out temporarily as she’s about to have her second child. This morning, Erin and I met in Blanco for a run. It’s a Christmas tradition we are repeating for the first time – one I hope we will continue in the coming years. Here we are after our runs:

Jenny and Kerry

Erin

The miles we’ve run have helped my body and my heart. I love these women for who they are, the consistency in our friendships, and the way they’ve helped me push myself through and past both obstacles and my own perceived limits. They bring so much joy to my life. I can think of no better way to have spent these last two mornings.

This morning, Erin and I ran 6 miles in just over an hour. Her watch logged a 10:20 pace per mile. She pushed me, and I fell behind a bit the last couple of miles, but that’s why I love running with Erin. She makes me work. That’s how I get better. And for me comfortably to do a six-mile run at that pace is huge. I remember being thrilled if I could do five miles in one hour. Now I’m doing nearly six. With this run, I earned today’s pumpkin pie and, more importantly, was reminded at how far I’ve come this year.

My fitness has improved tremendously. So has my life.

I have a home I adore. I work with people I love. I work a flexible schedule that allows me all kinds of freedom to travel and race. I have my family nearby. I have the most amazing community of friends. And now I have the sweetest, most kind man who is everything I hoped for almost exactly a year ago today. I see a bright future. I see a future that I want.

I know the holidays are not always easy for everyone. They weren’t easy for me last year. But I’ve learned – I’ve experienced – how much can change in a year. For me, it was a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, slowly at first, painfully at first, and eventually with more and more confidence. I hope I remember this the next time things get hard.

Merry Christmas to my running buddies – each and every one of you. Thanks for doing life with me. I’m grateful.

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