Looking back on my first two years of training for ultra marathons, a lot has changed. Relationships with training partners have waxed and waned, and my running dramatically improved due to warmer than average winter months. But now I realize that change is inevitable, and it’s why I can’t wait for the year ahead.
Life happens, and when things get crazy I turn to running for comfort. For years I’ve worked an 8-5 job, which meant my lunch hour was reserved for training. Sometimes a run would get bumped to 5am, but I could still count on incredible consistency. A recent move to the world of self-employment seems like it would offer more freedom, hence more running, right? Nope, it’s exactly the opposite. I’m in charge now, scheduling my days. Fitting in time for running is now harder than ever. While it’s a struggle I didn’t anticipate, I’m grateful for the change and look forward to the opportunity to run when I choose to make time.
Spending that time with training partners and sharing the camaraderie of the sport with friends, is what I love most. And I continue to seek inspiration from those around me. Last year I had a friend who signed up for his first 100K, which I got to witness on the trail at miles 11 and 49. The year before that I helped a friend who, while struggling with stomach issues during training, still made it to the finish line of her very first marathon. Each year I have found there are always new friends to be made, and stories to be told.
And while new distances both excite and scare me at the same time, I find comfort in the familiar. That’s why a mix of both keep me balanced and motivated during race season. After struggling for a few years to find a new goal, I’ve recently found another race that my heart is set on and it’s already time to start planning. Because, like any lofty achievement, the journey is the best part.
No matter what the race or distance, training will always change from the years prior. Weather, injury and life all tend to shake us up when we least expect it. And while it’s easy to stick to what you know, life throws you lessons that you may or may not want to learn. Accepting that things change will help you appreciate each step, one at a time, until you’ve reached that next goal and you’re a better person because of it.