Truthfully, I can’t believe that I have waited until the final few hours of 2016 to write this post. After all, I’m a highly reflective person who loves to wrap up days, months, training cycles, races, events, etc. with a complete post-mortem of every. single. occurrence.
But, 2016 is one that I’ve struggled to find words for.
I was trying to write this post in my head while running recently, and at the very least was trying to come up with a few phrases to describe the year as a whole. I came up with:
The year I got shit done.
That’s about it, but it’s also a lot. I’m not going to dwell on things that I didn’t like about 2016.
I can’t change them.
I’m going to move on.
But, I will celebrate all the good that happened.
In many ways, this year was extremely important. I have always been a big believer that how you follow up a success sets the tone for the future. My big successes in 2015 were realizing that I wasn’t happy, making a change, and realizing a big dream.
But, if you had asked me at the end of 2015 and Jan/Feb of 2016 what was next for me after the Trials, I truthfully had no idea.
and that probably wasn’t as scary to me as it should have been.
This has been a year of abundance for me in many, many ways. First, I went from having approximately $200 in my bank account at the end of February to having saved enough to support myself for at least 3 - 4 months if I were to not work. My student loans went into repayment this year and I have not had to miss a payment. Has it been close? yes, but I have learned so much about what I truly need (and what I don’t) in order to live a fulfilling life.
I went from this absurd idea that I could sustain myself off of freelance writing about dogs and running to it actually becoming a reality. and, coaching! I was asked today how many athletes I have. I estimated 8, then I went through and looked at my current list and I am coaching 11 amazing and fearless women! Their tenacity and desire to tackle big goals inspires me every day.
Another measure I have regarding abundance: my plans for the new year. I have a rough list:
-cook a new recipe every week
-read the 3 books I received for Christmas
-do something creative once per month
-hit the A standard in the marathon in the fall
-be better about cleaning the house
Do you notice that only one goal is running related? To me, that means that I had a good year, running wise, when I am not focusing a lot of attention on making changes in my running for the upcoming year.
In many ways, what I listed above for abundance also rings true for getting shit done.
I moved in with my boyfriend.
I took care of myself when I needed to, being proactive about physical therapy, energy therapy, massage therapy, and yoga.
When things weren’t working in my professional life, I made the necessary changes and solved problems.
I became better at saying no.
I said yes when I recognized good opportunities that got me out of my comfort zone.
I was more honest with myself and others.
I problem solved in my personal life in order to be happier with my daily routine.
I kept learning.
What did 2016 teach me? One of the biggest lessons is that I can do anything.
I can start a business from scratch and without formal training.
I can ask for help when I need it.
I can aggressively, yet intelligently, train after injury and race respectably.
I can help others when they need it.
I can say “it will all work out” and give up control, something I hold onto a little too tightly at times.
I can move past heartache.
I finished my master’s thesis.
I found myself wondering the other day what I will do when I’m done running. It was neither a “ugh, I can’t wait until this phase of my life is over” or an “I never want this phase of my life to be over” moment. Purely just a thought. In that moment, though, I was excited because I realized I could do literally ANYTHING. Maybe I’ll become an artist. Or open my senior beagle rescue I’ve always dreamed about. Or I’ll keep running forever. Or become an entrepreneur. Or go to culinary school. Who knows? It was such a moment of freedom, though, to realize that I can find a way to accomplish anything.
I also found balance.
I did yoga.
I hated cross training.
I set limits on work.
I strengthened and core-worked my way to better physical balance.
I didn’t do shake outs when my body didn’t want to.
I realized that I control my happiness.
Some of my favorite moments from 2016:
January: Houston Half and an unexpected 3:15 PR
February: Olympic Trials, and the many, many, many lessons I continue to take away from that experience
March: finding the silver lining in my injury: having time to build my business, recharge after everything that happened in the previous year, and move forward with new changes
April: implementation of “Anna Day” and “Dave Day.” This was born from my birthday (April 13), when I decided to treat myself to the best day ever. It was such a success that the 13th of every month is “Anna Day” and I make it the best day possible.
May: finding immense joy in training
June/July: getting my ass handed to me in a couple races, which made me take good looks at what I’m doing, and why
August: feeling like I was starting to get a handle on the who/what/where/why/how of my crazy life
September: US 20k Championships, which were an important stepping stone in my fitness
October: 10 mile championships, where I learned an invaluable lesson: when everything goes wrong, things can still go right
November: experiencing a uniquely profound moment and being granted an opportunity to say goodbye to our dog, peacefully and on our own terms
December: a simple and (mostly) drama-free holiday that was favorably scaled down from years past
In 2016, more than ever before, I appreciated scaling back. My closet is 1/3 the size it has ever been (minus my running clothes ;))
I have far fewer things.
I feel more joy in little things.
I feel remarkably healthier and happier than I did a year ago.
Some of the best changes I made in 2016 were discovering bullet journaling, taking the MRT test, getting a smart phone which introduced me to ibotta and the Kroger app, and letting go of the “shoulds” in my life, like I should be a morning runner, or I should get a traditional job now that Trials training is over.
I’m looking forward to 2017. I have always had a penchant for odd numbers. I will be 29 in April, and I am looking forward to what is to come. In 2016, I PR’d in the 5k, 4 mile, 5 mile, 10 mile, and half marathon distances. I found out today that half marathon time was ranked 27th in the country this year. I raced hard. I ran slow times, and I ran fast times. I learned a ton of lessons. I grew more independent.
I became infinitely happier.
Here’s my last race of 2016, hoping it’s a sign of things to come in 2017!