2016 going on 2017

In 2016, I got a lost faster. I set a 3-minute PR in the 10k, a 6-minute PR in the half-marathon and a 24-minute PR in the full marathon.

In 2017, I want to get even faster.

In 2016, I discovered the joy in social running. How it holds you accountable and pushes you to be faster and stronger.

In 2017, I want to connect even further with the Toronto running community and use it to become an even better runner.

In 2016, I developed a regular strength training routine. I went to bootcamps and yoga regularly.

In 2017, I want to add a weights class to my routine and step up yoga.

I’m proud of 2016 and happy with how far I’ve come, but my PRs in the half and the full marathons were annoying – both were shades above the time goals I set for myself. I crossed those finished lines annoyed and a smidge disappointed.

In 2017, I want to cross a finish line exhausted and elated – having crushed a goal completely, no asterisk, and knowing I left it all out there.

This year was about reconnecting with hard work.

Next year is about embracing it.

Recovery is the worst

It’s been two weeks since I ran NYC.

I’ve worked out once.

It sucks.

I know it’s important to heal. Give your body a break. Re-focus on things you ignored while you were training. Get more sleep.

But I feel restless, purposeless, anxious.

I always need a goal. I always need to be working towards something. And while recovery is indeed that – working towards healing my body so I can tackle another training cycle with injury- and burn-out- free – it’s less tangible than training. There are no runs you need to do. No strength classes to take. No obsessing over splits and average paces and perceived effort.

There’s just rest.

This is an important lesson for me. That being still is as valuable as being on the move. That doing nothing is as valuable as doing everything. That just because you can’t quantify it or put it on a calendar doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. This is more about me than my marathon recovery.

I hate it. But I am trying to learn from it and trying to grow because of it.

It’s so hard.

But so necessary.

I finished a marathon and I cried


I cried when I crossed the finish line of the 2016 NYC Marathon.

At first, I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t achieve my time goal. I didn’t survive a suffer-fest. I had a decent marathon effort that in retrospect, I give a solid “B”. But I cried. I buried my face in my hands. I locked eyes with an older man who finished at the same time I did. He was crying too. We held hands and half-embraced. Nodded at each other and smiled.

I cried because I was as emotionally raw as I’ve ever been. I only get that emotional when I am obscenely drunk and when I finish marathons.

And I suppose that is why I run.

I run because I am not comfortable with emotions. I am not comfortable with being uncomfortable. I am not comfortable with public displays of affection. I am stoic, focused, disciplined. Calm.

But at some point on a 26.2 mile journey, that barrier breaks down. Pain creeps in. Boundaries collapse. The most primal, raw, uncontrollable aspects of who I am and how I feel bubble to the surface and I am too exhausted to suppress them. So I cross a finish line, bawl my face off, and for one moment, am intimately connected with a complete stranger who is the only person in the world who knows exactly what I am going through.

Being that open, that vulnerable, is terrifying.

But it’s also freeing.

It’s something I wish I had the strength to cultivate more of in my everyday life.

Until that happens, I will run. Away from my fears, my insecurity. Away from doubt. Away from second-guessing myself. Away from negativity, from self-imposed stress and anxiety.

When I run, I embrace pain. Embrace emotions. Embrace strangers.

And, eventually, I’ll be able to embrace myself.

As I finished the NYC marathon, that’s what I did. I embraced my race, my effort. I did the best I could on the day I had with the circumstances I was given. In that moment, it was enough. I was enough.

And it was okay to cry because of it.


Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you

“The bravest thing I ever did was run.”

Two years ago, I ran the NYC marathon for the first time.

Two weeks before that, Taylor Swift released 1989.

I liked it fine enough. It was catchy and well-written and danceable. I considered myself a fan of Taylor Swift and was happy that I had a new album to listen to while running a marathon.

A week after 1989 came out, the place I work was turned upside and a person I thought I knew turned out to be a monster. It was national news and I couldn’t escape it. I didn’t know who was reaching out for gossip and who was reaching out because they cared about me. I didn’t know what was coming next, who to trust and when it would be over.

It was terrifying and I felt so alone.

“The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud, but no one heard a thing.”

I played 1989 on repeat that week, run-crying (and drinking way too much) my way through my taper. I lined up at the NYC start line exhausted dehydrated and terrified. Terrified I destroyed my marathon, terrified my career was over, terrified of what we were going to learn next.

“Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the woods?”

My 2014 NYC playlist was 1989 on repeat three times. Every single song became about me, my marathon and what I was going through in that moment. It was a light guiding my way through a messy, scary time and a difficult emotional experience. Running the New York marathon for the first time was magic, but Taylor was the reason I let myself feel it.

“The lights are so bright, but they never blind me.”

It’s 2016 and I am running the New York marathon again. And Taylor Swift has a new song. She doesn’t sing it, she just wrote it. It’s about a breakup (because of course it is) but there’s a line early on, that is becoming my 2016 NYC marathon anthem.

“The bravest thing I ever did was run.”

Two years ago, I ran a marathon through one of the most difficult weeks of my life. The NYC marathon saved that month, hell, that year for me. And Taylor was the soundtrack.

Tomorrow, I will run NYC again, a celebration and a return to the place that gave me one of the most important experiences of my life. This time, I’m not running from anything. I’m running for myself.

And Taylor will be the soundtrack again.

“Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you.”

I’m glad to be back.