“Real dishes break. That’s how you know they’re real.” Marty Rubin.
Grab a box of tissues, just in case. While you’re at it, pour yourself a nice full-bodied glass of Syrah, or if you’re not into that, brew yourself a steaming ginger chamomile tea. If you’re in the middle of something with your kids or at work, maybe you want to come back to this post later.
For 2015, I made a list of goals for myself, and I accomplished all of them, but one of them was the one that mattered the most, and is also why in 2016, this blog will change direction. But first, let’s go ahead and sum up the last year. My 2015 goals were to introduce my kids to my world of running through a color run, sign up for a Spartan, join a running group to train for the LA marathon in February 2016, start a blog by March of 2015, and for one year keep track of my miles and see if they add up to 1000.
The plan to start a blog was rapidly accelerated in the first week of January when I sent my friend Katie a text that just said “Mom On The Runsanity????” She responded with an emphatic “YES!!!!!” Ok then. I bought the domain name and texted her a screen shot of the registered name, to which she texted back “2015 will be a turning point for you.” She was so right. Her confidence in me spurred me on to write and publish my first post on January 13th, 2015, Running My Own Race.
I ended up running 1,232 miles in 2015, and posting once a week since that first post, and over those miles and posts, I accomplished so much more than I ever envisioned. For one, I wrote posts like Stage 4 which told the story of Amy Reed who continues to undergo surgeries and treatments and fight her advanced leiomyosarcoma. Through my involvement with Every Mother Counts, I learned that there is such a thing called a Charity Miles App that let’s every one of us raise money for various causes while we are on our everyday runs and walks and bike rides. I connected with many amazing women bloggers….I appreciate every one of you. And the post Thin Air that I wrote actually inspired Allie of Vitatrain for Life, a triathlete mom of twins who writes for multiple sites including Runner’s World, to write a fantastic post called This Is Living on her site. That what I wrote could inspire her to write that post and decide to volunteer for a race herself is truly humbling.
And before we get to what really matters most, I also in the last year got to meet my guru Kristin Armstrong, and at some point decided to try to write for other sites and ended the year with 11 posts on Women’s Running Magazine (all found in the media tab.) By the way, there were quite a few writing rejections…more on those in a bit. But most importantly, through 1,232 miles of running and alone time with my thoughts, I found myself, and subsequently I found YOU, and now it is time for me to take the unmarked path on the trail road rather than stay on the path I’m on.
You see, when I run, all kinds of memories and ideas come to me. All these posts have been written in my head on my runs, and then I try to find the time to transcribe them. There are times when a post comes to me and when I get home, I type it as fast as my fingers can work, and those end up being the best ones… like when the Marriage Equality Act was passed and I sat in my kitchen in a puddle of tears and sweat and wrote the post Born in no time. And there are times when during that feeling of reckless abandon and freedom on a run, an idea comes to me and I write it in my head and it seems fantastic, and when I get home and type it out, it’s just crap. I’ve spared you a lot of crap.
And of course there have been all the memories that have come back to me on the run. If you’ve read Hills and High School, then you know that in fifth grade, a confident young girl was broken. I never realized the degree to which that year broke me until I recalled it all on my runs. Over the last 30+ years, I slowly glued back the large pieces of that broken dish together as I once again became a confident young adult and woman, but there were always those little tiny chips that had scattered all over and I couldn’t find. Over these miles, I recalled the feeling of the moistness on my fingertips of the countless spitballs that I discreetly tried to pull out of my hair while sitting at my classroom desk and blinking back tears. Now that I’ve allowed the memories to resurface, I will never forget the moistness. It is the little unfound chips that are part of me and needed to be found on my run and glued back into the plate to make it whole again. The cracks in the plate are what make me who I am. The person who feels deeply and aches deeply for every person who in some way is on the outside. The person who has over the last year shown you the real me. And in showing you the real me, YOU have reached out to me with your words and texts and messages and emails that have meant so much. In that one particularly dark year in my life that broke my plate, I made it through because I had one source of joy and support. He and I spent our after schools and weekends laughing in a world made of our imagination. He got me through and I briefly mentioned him in Born. It only takes one person to pull you through.
I thank him, and I thank YOU. Some of you who know me in person, and many of you who don’t, but still will email or message me to let me know that I have inspired you. In letting me know that, you have given me much more than I have given you. I thank the person out there who wrote me and told me that my writing makes her think and that even well into adulthood, she is having difficulty detaching from her parents. As a mother, I can tell you that the greatest way you can honor your parents is to show them that you can fly. And every baby bird has to crash and burn a few time before it learns to fly. I hope that through this blog, my parents see that running has allowed their daughter to fly. I hope that even though I don’t believe in an afterlife, my aunt can feel me flapping my wings.
So why do I need to change direction? Because I wrote best when I wrote freely. Those were the posts that connected us most. Because sometime in the last month, my son asked me the most ordinary of questions, and my mother’s heart raced when I heard it….my mother’s imagination ran wild with it. I’ve run with his question, but I really want to take the time to make it an essay or a short story and not a short blog post, and maybe submit it to some non-running websites. It’s been a month, and I haven’t had time to write it. There have been other stories that I have wanted to write and share, and they are not running stories, but in time, I’d like to tell them. And when and if I do, although they are not “running stories,” they really are….because everything I write is really written in my head on the run.
I’m also not setting any running goals for 2016 after the LA marathon on Valentine’s Day. There were running opportunities this past year that I had to miss out on because they clashed with my marathon schedule. In 2016, I want to run free. When a girlfriend asks me “hey, do you want to sign up for this run with me next weekend or this destination race with me in 2 months,” I want to be able to say yes. I will run free, and I will keep track of the miles just for fun, and I bet that with no schedule I’ll end up running more miles than I did this last year.
I will continue to write. It just won’t be on a once a week schedule. Maybe now that I am writing freely, I will actually end up writing more even if I end up posting less. Some of it will be “running stories,” and some may not be. I will definitely write about my experience running the marathon…that I promise you. I will continue to submit posts to Women’s Running Magazine. I will write other stories about motherhood and identity, and hope to be able to share them with a broader audience than my blog. I will start with my son’s question to me. I have submitted non-running pieces to Story, Huff Post, and Scary Mommy and been rejected by all three, but it seems I am not discouraged. Maybe when Huff Post saw the title “The Hubba Bubba Incident,” they didn’t read it and just assumed it was about a pack of gum; they didn’t realize it’s a story of identity and immigration….sometimes my titles are misleading like that, but they are mine. Or maybe they did read it and just didn’t like it. And let’s not even count the number of submissions and emails to Zelle at Runner’s World to which I have gotten no response. But again, a bird must crash before it learns to fly.
So in 2016, miss Type A plan every detail of her life’s goals are: to run, to write, and to be free. Why change direction now instead of waiting until after the marathon, because the marathon doesn’t matter as much anymore. I’ve put in the miles and shown that I will do it. It’s no longer about the numbers, and my running story has been told. If this directional change ends up being one that doesn’t resonate with you and you choose not to follow, I thank you for following thus far. I understand and respect that you are on your personal running journey, and I am continuing on mine….my life on the run is no where close to done.
***In this year in review post, there are many links to other posts. Anything underlined is a link to another post or site that can be clicked on and read. You can choose to read all or none of them, but if you want to pick only one, I’d pick the post Born.