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The Year That Was

2017 was a year of amazing learning and realisations for me and the beginning of friendships that I know will last forever with some amazing people that are now considered family.

In 2017 I learnt that my legs, body and mind can run again. My own two feet can recover and run the distances that they were before anklegate and I now feel stronger than before. I learnt that I can train smarter and it’s ok to seek guidance, advice and help in your training.

In 2017 my one goal with my running was to simply enjoy it, stay injury free and get back to the distances I was doing before I destroyed my ankle and had the reconstruction at the end of 2016. At the start of 2017 I set a goal to run 1000km in the year… By the end of 2017 Mr Garmin tells me that I ran a total of 1,264.12km. I find that figure crazy, to just sit there and look at it knowing that my feet did every single one of those kilometres, some were easier than others, some were faster than others, but each on my two feet did, especially when I have only just started to inwardly call myself a runner!

I reflect on last year fondly knowing that I worked hard and feel so very lucky to have as part of that journey some amazing people in my life that are just as crazy as I am and that I can never see not being a part of it. There was real blood, sweat and tears involved in 2017.

There were more than a few times in 2017 that I was asked “what are you training for?” I always find this question strange…. In so many areas of my life I have set goals, I plan for them and make them happen. Running for me has never been about that. For me it is an escape, a de-stress, a timeout from the real world and my me time. I do it for me and only for me. I am not the fastest runner out there and I am very fond of my turbo turtle pace. My only goal with every run I have ever done is to finish and enjoy it (sometimes the enjoyment part doesn’t happen during the run, it is purely the fact that it finishes that causes the joy).

That is why this question puzzles me. I know the asker is expecting me to say a particular event or distance, but that isn’t my reason. My go to response now is “I am training for me”. In 2018 I plan to stop saying – scratch that – I will stop stating this as if it is an apology.

As my training approached the end of 2017 my coach (the poor guy, I think I drive Chris from Go Run Australia nuts!) wanted to know as always, if my goals had changed since the last training block. I normally state nope, goals still the same, enjoy it, improve and stay injury free. At the end of last year, I added another to the list. In 2018 I want to see how far I can run. Yes, I know this is open to interpretations and manipulations, but I want to see in one go how far I can safely and enjoyably run. I know it’s crazy and to be honest it scares the crap out of me, but it also excites the hell out of me, and isn’t that what all your goals should do???

I am excitrified (a mix of excited and terrified) about this goal. I do know that with Chris in my corner and the amazing mix of people that are now part of my family there is no doubt that I will be able to achieve some serious distance this year. As I begin the training a little part of my brain is starting to scream at me. This little part of my brain isn’t logical or even really all that nice….

My body has started changing along with the changes in training, and this makes that little nasty voice somehow stronger and somewhat meaner, and I am honestly not ok with it. I am not a skinny, tiny, petite or super feminine female (think the human equivalent of a staffy in the canine world) and when I feel good and strong I am totally at peace, happy and even proud of this and what my body can do! But, when this little voice starts to talk, and I am not feeling so on top of things it is hard not to listen and see the negative and that self-doubt and the dark and nasty body image stuff kicks in.

As my calf muscles grow and adapt so my feet can move me along the trail and the road for longer distances safely. As my quads and hamstrings increase in size and muscle mass so that I can sustain a pace and keep going for the distances I want to achieve. As my glute muscles increase in strength and consequently their size and shape changes to allow me to get to the top of hills easier and see the view and grin from ear to ear from the achievement and feel the crazy pounding of my heart as though it wants to climb out of my chest from the climb. As my core changes and adapts and its structure also changes to enable me to maintain a strong and stable base to move my legs from and carry a pack on back, this little voice starts to talk a little more and a little louder.

Because of all these changes my clothes don’t exactly fit like they used to. The logic part of my brain is excited by this. Logically it means that my body is adapting to the training and I can run further without feeling as drained as I once did, I am getting stronger!! The little dark and nasty voice though, grins at me sinister like from the dark recesses of my brain and makes me look at all these changes in a dark and shadowy hue. It makes me question my appearance and makes me feel uncomfortable about the way I dress and feel about myself, it even gets to the point where I look at my image and think to myself how the hell can I be a middle to long distance runner in this body….

So, what is MY goal for this year……

My goal for this year is to shine a light so freaking bright in my head that that little dark and nasty voice has no where to hide and do it’s bidding. This year I want to get rid of that dark, nasty twisted little voice and be so freakin proud of what my two feet and body can do and achieve REGARDLESS of what it looks like that I can’t help but wear the biggest freakin grin from ear to ear! If I am hot, you bet I will run in a crop and shorts. My promise to me is that I won’t hide anymore. I will not give that little dark, nasty, twisted voice a place to hide and gain power. I have always believed there is no such thing as a “runner’s body” I just need to shine it up in the biggest lights inside my head that I can so that little voice has no place to hide.

Here’s to 2018 being the year of the long run, the year of runner empowerment and the banishing of the little dark, nasty twisted voice and goals so big they are excitrifying!!!

Sa x

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