In terms of running, 2012 wasn’t the year I expected.

I signed up for two marathons with the intent of achieving my goal of breaking four hours. I wanted to run an ultra-marathon. I planned to spend significant time at the track to develop a love of speed work. I wanted to run faster – much, much faster. I accomplished none of these goals.

Despite all that, I look at 2012 as wonderful chapter in my running career. Despite not looking as successful as I’d imagined it would due to a combo of months-long injury, weeks upon weeks spent overseas for work, and the occasional laziness, the year held some great wins for me.

The San Francisco Marathon 2012

I realized and finally accepted what drives me to run. Within any community, as supportive as it may be, there’s pressure to keep up, to compete: To run as much as, or as fast as, or as effortlessly as a friend or teammate and to enter races and chase PRs and BQs. And I know there is tremendous value in pushing yourself to work harder and perform better. But for me, I run for fun. I run to clear my head. I run for the friendships. And attempting to run for the wrong reasons just got me hurt or burned me out. Accepting that my motivations for running may be different than others’, but just as valuable, keeps my head and heart in the right place.

Me with fellow ambassador Alyssa Yell at the Maui oceanfront Marathon - January 2012.

I learned that nothing is more important than taking care of your body for the long term. Being injured sucks, and waiting in recovery can be painful. There was a lot of that this year. But I try to pause to remember that my ultimate goal is to keep my body running for decades and decades to come – and therefore I must sometimes accept its limits, however begrudgingly.

I’ve recognized just how amazing the running community is. I was beyond humbled to serve as an Ambassador for the SF Marathon this year, and that experience put me in contact with dozens of fellow runners near and far. In addition to the friendships that were made, I was also able to share my love of the city I call home with people I never would have otherwise been able to meet. I close out 2012 feeling tremendously blessed to be involved with SFM and the Bay Area running community.

2013 looms right around the corner, and it sees me registered for my first 50K race in March and my first half Ironman triathlon in July – scary yet exciting goals that I’m going to go after with all I’ve got. But I’ll also pause each step of the way to remember that each day I get to run, especially with people I love, is a gift. And so my most important goal for 2013 is not to run fast, but to run joyfully. I look forward to an amazing year ahead and sharing successes and setbacks with the SFM community. Here’s to a new year!