New Year’s Resolutions of an Endurance Junkie

While I overheard some of my friends’ new year’s resolutions at a gathering last night (“I’m gonna hit the gym at least 3x a week!”, “I’m going to start waking up earlier!”, “I’m going to drink more water!”), my junkie self couldn’t help but be glaringly reminded of what a junkie I’ve become, and feel at least a little bit envious of their abilities to live life in moderation.

Me, I’m the girl over in the corner nursing a PBR and resolving to herself, under her breath, “This year, I’m not going to overtrain!”

The thing about new year’s resolutions is this: I don’t believe in them. Perhaps it’s the part of me that got all caught up in this vegan, endurance sport lifestyle to begin with that drives this bias. Because that’s the part of me that believes in setting new goals and challenging myself to be better, to be healthier, to be stronger not just come January 1st, but 365 days a year.

In the past, I’ve waited for dates to come: marathon race dates penned into my calendar months in advance; a long run scheduled for Sunday; medical school board exams set in stone. But even before this became a habit, I was much more flexible: my mantra was to work hard always, and race when I felt ready–whether that was in May or in October, but in any case, it was usually “tomorrow!”.

When I was younger and less cautious, I did this frequently, and it lent itself to a certain level of happiness and spontaneity that is decidedly lacking in my adult way of going about training and living. I had confidence in my capacity, and simply wasn’t afraid of failing. I ran my first marathon without “proper” training, signing up a mere week beforehand and saying a prayer to the wing-footed Hermes the night before. What’s more, at the time, I was a brand-new study abroad student in Barcelona, and barely spoke the native language of the city I’d be running in.

To top it all off, only 9% of the runners in the race were women (European women aren’t as into the whole “exercise” thing as we Americans are…except maybe the Scandinavians and their bicycles). I didn’t care. I was fearless. Sure, you could easily argue I had a very sick case of newbie’s naïveté, but it wasn’t the first–nor the last–time I’d do something so “irrational.”

I didn’t exactly turn heads as I crossed the finish line, but I did it. Ignorance is bliss, but confidence in oneself and a taste for adventure are what drive long-term happiness.

A mere six months prior to my marathon debut, I hopped a bicycle and rode cross-country with a group of cyclists working to raise money and build homes for affordable housing organizations. Think I’d ever really cycled in my life before? Negatory.

I didn’t care. I was fearless.

(Notice a theme here?)

On day one of my cross-country ride, I distinctly remember doing a rather ungraceful face plant in the parking lot as I navigated my clipless pedals for the first time. And yes, the first few days were rough. But within less than two months, I had ridden across the United States.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve really gone out on a limb and done something “crazy,” something I’m relatively “unprepared” for or “inexperienced” with. But I’m starting to miss the rush, the excitement, and the fun that comes with just putting myself out there, taking chances, and having faith in all of those base miles and speed sessions.

So I suppose I’m a sucker for new year’s resolutions after all, because as I bring this post full-circle I can’t help but think to myself: that’s it. That’s my new year’s resolution.

Mid-February of 2014 marks my 26.2nd birthday. A few weeks ago, I shocked myself by accidentally running 21 miles on a run in which I got very, very lost. At the end of that day, I resolved to run 26.2 miles on my 26.2nd birthday. I’ve since been toying with the idea, vacillating between thinking it’s pure genius and completely idiotic. My logical, adult, non-spontaneous brain keeps telling me that there’s no way I’ll be “properly” trained for a marathon by February–I’m more cycling fit right now than anything else–but who cares? Why not just go for it?

2014 marks the year of just going for it, of self trust, and of running marathons on a whim. Again. Look out, Paradise Coast Marathon. I’m registered and comin’ for ya.

Happy 2014 everyone!



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