Fully aware of how dramatic I sound, let me make an announcement regarding this blog.
Running Stories has existed for almost 5 years. Over 695 posts I have shared “the tales of my training.” I have with very few exceptions logged every single run I’ve taken, and I have written a detailed report of every single race I’ve participated in. I have achieved a lot in my running career and this blog has been a witness to all but the very earliest days.
I have reached a crossroads in my life and I don’t think the running blog is a productive thing for me anymore. All the changes I’ve made in my heart lately need to be reflected in my life, and considering this blog is a big part of my life, it needs to change too. To summarize the product of months of self-introspection, discussion with my friends and family, meditation, and therapy, I need to change my focus. I need to think less about how the outside world perceives me, and more on how I see myself. I have spent years of my life trying to fit a mold of the person I thought I should be, and it has worn me down. I don’t know who I am or what I want. I am deeply insecure. That has to change. I know that I’m already taking a huge step in the right direction by acknowledging this, and while I know I have a long way to go, I believe I can do this. I am going to do everything I can to develop a real sense of self and identity. I know it’s not going to be easy, and I know this is something I will… we ALL will … deal with our whole lives. But this is an especially pivotal time of my life and I am determined to take control.
Running has been a huge part of my life for a few years now, and it has absolutely been a positive thing. It is a huge part of who I am, and that will never change. But certain aspects my running life I take too seriously, too personally, and it has to change. I know this is not necessarily an issue for most people, and I envy that! But for me, it can be too much.
In particular, I care too much about what people think of me as a runner. I want to impress you all every single day. Even though I post about every run, good or bad, I feel great shame or pride when I submit it for your judgment. I know NONE of you care in the slightest about the specifics of my training; I completely realize this is all in my head. But I go to great lengths to impress everyone. To show how strong I am. I think that maybe if everyone sees me finish another marathon, finish an Ironman, win my age division in a race, then they will think I am really something. But no matter how much praise I receive it doesn’t impress ME. Because it isn’t what I really need.
Let me go back and explain quickly how this all came about. When I finished the Ironman last November, I thought it would change my life. I thought it would bump me up to a higher level of being, that I would suddenly know something new and revealing about myself. But it was indescribably empty. The disappointment was crushing. I had been working for months to achieve this goal and the result was “meh.” I spent the day after the Ironman with Inga and she planted a seed in my head that day about living in the present, and accepting yourself for who you are today, and not always trying to achieve something big. We did some yoga that day and the symbolism of the scene was not lost on me… my tight, wounded, aching body, so sore I could hardly move. I was wearing head-to-toe Ironman finisher gear, talking about how hard I had worked training for the Ironman. Inga was stretched gracefully out before me, her attire so simple and humble and she was telling me about how her yoga teacher training had taught her so much about herself. This was the single moment that changed my life.
The following months were incredibly difficult time in my life, and I’m so grateful that I had that insight before the shit hit the fan, because I don’t think I could have got through it otherwise. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and shortly after with breast cancer. She has undergone surgery and radiation and is now thankfully cancer-free, but the Parkinson’s is here to stay. There is no cure. She is doing well, and we have grown much closer through all this, so that is a good thing. But it was really, really hard on me. I started having anxiety attacks and completely lost my usually positive attitude. The winter was long and dark and just awful. I finally started seeing a therapist and I FINALLY started doing yoga. Those two things in conjunction brought me back and to where I am today. It’s still a struggle, I have good days and bad… but I’m working on it. And now that I can get through daily life, I am trying to work on the deeper issues that have been holding me back. I’m taking on a whole new attitude towards life and this is all part of that.
So, ya. There you go! Back to this whole blog thing.
I don’t want to keep this running blog the same as I have all this time. It’s got to change. I thought about just ending it, but I don’t think I can do that. I like writing and sharing and I like all of you!! I’ve made a lot of friends here – local runners both in Portland and the Bay Area that I’ve met and have grown to be real close friends, runners and triathletes that live in different countries that I hope to visit someday, and a lot of others that I feel close to even if we haven’t met because we’ve shared so much in our blogs. I appreciate your support so much, you don’t even know. And even if you don’t get to give me feedback on my running, I need your encouragement on everything else. I’ve developed relationships here and I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.
I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen here… I am pretty sure I’m going to keep posting but I’ll give the whole blog a new title and a makeover. But it’ll still be runningstories.blogspot.com so your feeds will still work. I don’t know what the new blog will look like or sound like or how often I will post. All I know is that I will not be posting stats on my runs. It’s going to be more all-inclusive, more well-rounded. There WILL be a lot of pictures I’m sure. There will hopefully be more creative and better writing since I won’t be pressured to update on any particular schedule. There will be talk of yoga, hiking, traveling. And there will be plenty of running talk too. I am not going to STOP running! It’s not going to always (or ever?) be this serious and dramatic. That isn’t me. It’s killed me to not use tons of exclamation points throughout this post. (!!!!!)
I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read this. I haven’t always been completely open about this stuff and I know I’ve deceived you in some way by leaving it out. You all have been nothing but wonderful to me and I thank you for that. Stick with me here, I don’t know where we’re going but I’m sure it will be an adventure.