Running Resolutions for 2016
Contributed by Stephanie Laska, San Francisco Marathon Ambassador. Stephanie is a first-time TSFM Ambassador and plans to run four marathons this year: Modesto, Big Sur, San Francisco, and the California International Marathon.
At the end of every year, I spend hours locked away in my office, methodically organizing digital photos from the past 12 months. It’s a grueling task that everyone in my family pretends “not to know how to do.” Pulling from every digital device, I place photos chronologically from iPads, iPhones, and GoPro into one master database, followed by a review and evaluation of every image. Should this be in the family album? Is it representative of our year? The next step is much more fun: I organize, design, and publish a 100 page album. It’s a lot of work!
The same process should occur for our running. We devote so many hours of our lives to this beloved sport, but how much time is spent reflecting and planning? I decided to take a look at my past year in running. I wanted to see what worked, what didn’t, and what’s worth repeating. What I learned about myself is worth sharing with you; it is what I call my Running Resolutions.
This Christmas we adopted a dog from a shelter for my little boy (cue sad music). It was all he wanted in life (that and Call of Duty). I had been toying with the idea of needing a running partner for safety, and suddenly I had a new best friend at 5am wagging her tail and grabbing the leash. Our first run together surprised me. She was so happy! Tailwaggin’, buttshakin’, nosesniffin’ HAPPY! Somehow, I had lost that feeling in my own runs. This is supposed to be fun. So stop and smell the roses, and shake that tail feather when a good song comes on. No one will judge you…it’s too early in the morning.
Reflect on the Runs
Last year I enjoyed a variety of runs. Two full marathons, a 21 miler, 4 half marathons, some random distances like 13K and two 5Ks. That’s a lot of race fees, travel and time. I loved them all, but some I loved more than others. Are they all worth repeating? Have my goals evolved? I’ve decided to refocus in 2016 and enjoy events that meet my changing needs.
First, I love running with my kids, ages 9 and 11. They are starting to get the bug! This year, I will let them choose their favorite 5Ks and I will run at their side. Totally worth it!
Second, I will also admit to you that I’m a fan of the running costume. If I can make a fool of myself while running, count me in. Bay to Breakers, here I come (costume already purchased!)
Lastly, though I’m scared (make that terrified) to admit it, I believe I’ve become a marathoner. My running energy and funds this year will be directed toward four full marathons: Modesto, Big Sur, San Francisco, and CIM. 26.2, baby!
Rope in others
Looking back on 2015, I realized that I couldn’t have accomplished anything without my tribe. We need others to be successful. I went from being a complete non-runner (first mile ever run was in 2013) to finishing my first marathon last year in first place (thank you very much Athena division). I have found support in the most surprising places. My husband (former runner in high school turned couch potato, now awesome marathon man) runs circles around me (literally) to keep me safe in the early morning hours. My pace increased a full minute/mile after agreeing to a weekly running partner (why was I so scared to run with someone?). I inspired a stranger to run their first half marathon in Berkeley after joining the Ambassador program (thanks for the tweet @140lost). And when my friends grew tired of listening to me talk about running (the horror!) I found an online running group in my community (Resolution RunMo on Facebook) for support and inspiration. Lesson learned: find your running tribe.
You might laugh at some of my new year’s resolutions from last year, but I’m proud to say I accomplished them. I wanted to challenge myself to take some risks with gadgets and technology. Learning new tricks can be scary for us older folks (as in anyone over 20)!
I used to be the girl running with her phone stuck between two bras and a granola bar hidden in the bushes. Really. Although there was a really big learning curve, I’m happy to report that I’ve upgraded my running lifestyle. I’ve learned how to use Twitter, find inspiring podcasts (shout out to the Marathon Training Academy!), and use appropriate running gear like the CamelBak hydration system.
Also, don’t be afraid to browse at the running store and ask a lot of questions. Be open-minded.
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out someone will blow your mind with a solution to your problem. No hills to train on? Run up a parking garage! Headlamp bouncing all over the place? Wear a ballcap underneath. No internet to stream live music? Spotify Premium. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all of the answers. Your running tribe is here is to help you evolve. Be open to the possibilities take a risk and make a difference in your running!
So before you start planning out your running calendar for 2016, be sure to spend time reflecting on last year’s events. Review, re-evaluate, and resolve.
What are your running resolutions?