Next Chapter

“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.

next chapter

A picture of part of my regular run path. I share more of my life on the run on my Instagram. Feel free to find and follow me there if you’d like.


About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

21 comments on “Next Chapter

    • The comments you have made, the tweets that you have put out there calling some of the posts poetry, have meant so much to me. Thank you…I will continue to follow your post-baby journey back to your Spring marathon and your adventures thereafter as well….

  1. I am now going to read EVERY SINGLE post of yours on Women’s Running. It’s pretty incredible how much you’ve contributed to the world this past year. Thank you for sharing your creativity with the world. It really is inspiring.

      • Kate, I think my blog posts are actually better than the WR posts, because they can be more personal. You were the first person who didn’t know me personally to come across my blog and comment on it. I was so excited that day after you commented that I texted my friend Katie and told her that a random person who doesn’t know me personally is reading and commenting. I mentioned you in the post “Great Enough” which is somewhere in the March 2015 archives…you actually inspired me to start looking into getting involved with charity and subsequently Every Mother Counts… thank you for everything… and most of all for telling me that you would “devour” a book if I wrote one… I love that word!!!!

  2. Love it, Paria! You have such a gift of connecting the dots – and then telling the story. I still think that there is a seat on The View for you … you would be great on t.v.! I can’t wait to cheer you on to your next adventure. Also, we need to sign up for that half 😉

    • You know what your support has meant to me….I think I have outlined it enough times… and Sam, too. Yes, let’s sign up for that half together, along with other adventures….thank you for all of this… For introducing me to the book Mile Markers…for everything else… see you soon…xoxo

  3. Now I get an even deeper insight to why you’ve picked the word “free” to guide you this year. I look forward to see where your freedom will take you and to read all you share here.

    Wishing you a most wonderful 2016 – full of LOTS of FREEDOM!

    • Thank you… on my 2016 list will be plans with you…cheers to that !!! And remember, when yoga training is all done, you owe me an all Duran Duran playlist flow class….please let me pick my favorites:)

  4. I would follow and read anything you write. This past year your words have brought me happiness, tears, inspiration and admiration. I can only imagine and anticipate the future that lies ahead for you. Excited to be a part of your 2016 journey even if its only from my computer screen. (Fingers crossed “Podcast” is part of that journey!) :0) OXOX

    • Lily, I love you….I doubt that podcast will be part of the journey, as you might be the only listener… but never say never because who knows… If no podcast, then I promise to come and run with you sometimes and just give you motivational lectures while you run….or maybe I’ll start leaving you a daily motivation voicemail…. It’s been too long…Let’s get together soon. Remember, you are the one who got me into Mom’s club…and the rest is history…xoxo

  5. I write most of my posts on the run, in my head as well. Which is why I’m struggling for my Wednesday Word post for the week. I’m off the road and on the bike, trying to let my PF heal. I’m riding tomorrow. Let’s see what I come up with.

    I’ll miss your weekly posts. I hope they keep flowing. I”ll be here.

    • Thank you Wendy…. My word for all of 2016 is free… maybe you will want that as a Wednesday word sometime…. whatever you choose, I look forward to reading about it… I’m so excited for Big Sur for you….one day I know that you and I will sit and drink beers together…I just know it.

  6. You have had an amazing year. And you do have a beautiful writing gift. You have a beautiful voice. I can completely relate to so much that you mention — the blog posts that pour through from your heart and not having enough time to write and wanting to write more. I’ve struggled with that a lot this past year especially with regard to my blog. I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes you and your writing and running!

    • Thanks Christine… I know from the content of your blog and what you write, that you completely do get what I am going through with my journey of writing…. Thanks for following along.

  7. Oh I love this just as much as I knew I would! Thank you for the shout out and for the inspiration you continue to bring to this page and to WR! As for the rejections? We all get them and I have been refused by all the same ones you have…well, not Zelle but…whatever, there are plenty!! The important thing is to keep writing, no matter how often you post. And, keep submitting! One day Huff Post and Scary Mommy will come to their senses 🙂 xoxo

    • Thank you! I have promised myself not to write anything else until I at least write the first draft of the story of the question my son asked me…whether or not it gets published anywhere, I need to write it for me… thanks for all your cheerleading!

    • Thanks Deborah…I actually think the content on my blog is much better than what I write for WR, because I can be more personal and raw on a blog! I’m excited to see all that you do in 2016!

  8. From your quote to the last word, your words held my attention in a different manner from your other posts. My mind and body were at alert with a churning sensation that required an inward reflection.
    I learned a Japanese term last year that this reminded me…. wabi-sabi. Do not confuse with wasabi. It’s hard to define, even for the Japanese (they say it’s more of a feeling), but the foundation of wabi-sabi is 3 simple realities that nurtures all that is authentic.

    One – nothing lasts, everything heads for nothingness. Permanence is illusory. Everything dissolves in non-existence.

    Two – nothing is perfect. The discovery of beauty in imperfection. Appreciating Imbalance and Imperfection.

    Three – nothing is finished, fully ready. The acceptance of the cycle of life and death. Never-ending process of becoming and vanishing. Constantly on the move, heading for or emerging from nothingness. Which goes back to #1.

    Here’s an example of “feeling” wabi-sabi in an artistic way:
    Have you ever seen broken objects where the cracks are filled with gold bringing the focus to the damage? The Japanese believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.

    It goes back to the definition of whole you asked me many months ago. And why I said I’m not looking for it like I had for many, many years. Who knows what other memories will re-surface for me, but when they do, I’ll take it and fill it back to myself with gold. If I’m not whole by the time this lifetime ends for me… well then, wabi-sabi, my friend. That has given me more freedom than I can enjoy. And I hope it does the same for you.

    Why do I mention this now and how does it apply to you? When more memories that you’ve tucked away re-surface…. possibly showing you more broken pieces that you have to pick up, or even if something new gets broken, I hope you aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. You are the broken plate, and running is your gold.

    • Wow!! This is so beautiful Christine…You need your own blog…I love the gold in the cracks… You could become a professional blog commentator:)))

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