Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 relived through running

In my opinion, a successful year can be looked in one of two ways:

One can either waste time replaying every mistake, every misstep, every time actualization fell short of expectation, and reflect back reconsidering all of the "what if" moments that were never taken.


 One could scroll back through the sands of time reflecting on all experiences, both jubilant and sorrowful, realizing that life is truly a blessing where each day presents new possibilities exposing us to the seen and unseen where there is just as much value in failure as there is in success.

For me, I try to not let myself get caught up on all of the mistakes that have held me back and times where I fell short of the goals I spent so much time day dreaming over. Instead, I try to take the good and the bad of the year to realize the growth that has radiated out of my soul pouring onto every aspect of my life teaching me the lessons my pretentious self needed to be taught.

2011 was a very humbling year in this way for me.

Shamrock Shuffle 8k.
Being bold here going out with nearly a sub 6 minute mile,
then slowly dying out as the miles clipped on.
All the while still smiling as my muscles were calling me crazy.

There were many moments where I felt inspired and uninhibited, knowing that I was the only thing holding myself back from a fulfilled life. Moments were I felt unstoppable. 
Loved. Brilliant. Fierce.

Moments where I felt brave enough to try anything while throwing caution into the wind.

Soldier Field 10 Mile.
Fueled up on more then my share of dairy before this race.
That was not the most pleasant lesson to learn.
Nonetheless, still a lesson learned.

Amidst all the bloating an overfill of dairy will bring,
still managed a 4 minute PR.
And that one felt so good.

Moments when my body ached, but I felt like I could fly like the wind and chicked as many men as possible.

Bastille's Day 5k.
I'm sorry sir, but you've just been chicked by a gal half your age.

There where times when I celebrated with cupcakes, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, potato chips, chocolate, and sour patch kids.
But that's just me. 

Felt so amazing to finally break 20 minutes in the 5k.

I found my voice in life this year through running, realizing that life is what you make of it.
There is no magic potion, no secret ingredient, no angle that will make life any easier or guarantee any success. You will only get out of life what you are willing to put in, and unless your heart is open to dance through every experience that will come your way...sadly you may miss out on a lot of mind blowing adventures.

Oak Brook 1/2 Marathon.
I don't have to run. I don't make a living from my fitness. Running will never pay off my student loans and will never lead me to an Olympic gold medal. It is not a requirement or a "to do" on the list of tasks that carry over from one day to the next. Instead, I chose to lace up my shoes everyday rain or shine for me...and only me.

Running can open your heart to living life boldly and bravely if you let it.
It can empower you and strengthen your spirit well beyond what you could ever imagine.
It will bring unthinkable freedoms.
It will make the impossible seem possible.

Nothing will ever top the embrace of my husband after smashing my 1/2 PR by 5 minutes.
Nothing. Best moment all year.

It won't always be easy, and there will be plenty of times when I show up to a race less then prepared and my body will crumble. There will be times I may fall short of my goals, and the success that I spent so much time pining over will become just a fizzled out dream. But that does not mean that I will not forge forward to tomorrow and stop setting my sights high.

Instead it means that next time I will try something different.
I'll step further outside the cushion of comfort that I often unintentionally surround myself with, pressing past chance and possibility and allow myself to be reckless for a moment.

My pledge to 2012 is to live bolder then ever, and not let contentment fill my soul.

Pre Chicago marathon.
Two days before I came no where near my goal for the day.
But what an experience.

2011 brought many life lessons, most of which I learned when I fell flat on my face and was foolishly greeted with failure and loss upon returning to my feet. Putting myself out on a narrow ledge feeling vulnerable and shaky has been what has kept me going for most of 2011. I've taken chances that have scared the mess out of me, some successful and where near successful. And I'm going to do it all again next year. Head held high, owning each and every moment.

Life isn't simple, and I don't have all of the answers. But as long as the pursuits of my heart are pure, there will not be a day that goes by where I look back regretting who I am or what I am working towards.

It would be easy to say that I hit a lot of my goals for the year, end of story.
But the story isn't over for me yet, I have a feeling that another chapter is just beginning.


  1. What a great reflection and a great outlook on the new year! Best to you in 2012. :)

  2. I love this post. Literally, it made me smile!

  3. Where would we be without all the up AND the downs??

    Great reflections here, Britt! The half PR must have felt incredible :)
    Looking forward to what 2012 brings you.

  4. Love this post! You had an awesome 2011, despite the difficulties, and I can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

    P.S. you are not the only one who loves the Sour Patch kids :)

  5. This is a great post and I very much relate. If, for example, I get a performance review which is 99% positive and 1% constructive, I will ignore the positive and spend the whole day beating myself up over the 1% constructive. It's such a challenge to learn from the good AND the bad. But I am learning to realize that it's not just about the successes - it's also about how we respond to the adversities, yes? Here's to a great 2012 and may all our running wishes come true!

  6. Your hard work really paid off this year - you've had some great achievements :)

  7. It's the downs that make the ups so much more delicious!
    Here's to an awesome 2012!

  8. it was so great talking to you today! it sounds like your body is hopefully back on track and maybe ready for another year of PR's??? woohoo!! this year was fantastic....I am sort of hopig\ng that my 2012 looks like your 2011 idd. fingers crossed. I love how you look at everything ina positive light here. Love the attitude!!! I need that today b/c I am feeling extra bitter at the world that I am this sick before marathon training FOUR days!!! but it will be OKAY and hopefully I can look back and have learned something from all this!! Love you girl!!


  9. i'm just speechless. that never happens, but i am...i'm just so in love with every single word, phrase, caption, nuance, of this post! my lord, i seriously want to give u a toast and say i hope to follow ur lead!

    also, please, i'm begging ur permission to steal the term chicking guys in races and use as much as humanly possible! :)

  10. Cheers to another chapter! Lovely post!

    "Running can open your heart to living life boldly and bravely if you let it." --Amazing words that totally sum up my running experience in 2011. I never really enjoyed running.... and then I trained for my first 1/2 marathon and then a full marathon this year. I am a better, braver, stronger person because of it. =)

  11. Great post. To me, it reads like a love letter to running. Running can teach you so many things, and as you said make you bolder too.

    You have a glass half full attitude- that's really good. I am trying to be more positive. Its hard, but posts like yours are helpful .

    Congrats on the sub 20 5k too :)

  12. You've had a great year, really! The marathon PR will come. You are so young, you have not even tapped into your potential. Women peak for marathons in their will see:)
    And by the way, you look absolutely amazing! Strong, muscular, powerful!

  13. This is a great post!! Happy new year!

  14. Britt, you inspire me to DREAM BIG.

    I seriously mean that.

    I will never forget all your inspirational posts, and my favorite phrase that sticks in my head is when you were talking about how you're just a girl who dreams big, really really big. And you're not afraid to give it your all.

    You've had a year of SO MANY accomplishments and PRs, I am so so proud of you. I've really enjoyed following your running journey and can't wait to see what's next!!

  15. I have that Garmin!! :)

    What an awesome year. My husband surprised me at the end of a very hard race this year. I didn't know he would be there (thought he had to work)...what an unforgettabel moment!!

    Go get it in 2012!

  16. Great post! Congrats on the PR's this year!

  17. What an inspirational post. I was smiling the whole way through. Congrats on a great year and keep going after it in 2012 :)

  18. Great 2011 recap! Can't wait to see what 2012 holds for you!

  19. aww great post! such awesome words of wisdom and reflection! reading this post makes me so excited for racing next year!!
    Good luck to you in 2012! I want to run Chicago 26.2!!

  20. I loved this post, and I have loved following your journey. So glad I found your blog. Hope you and Xaar had a good run today :)

    Happy New Year!

  21. You had an amazing 2011! One of the best years out of all the runners I follow! You set so many PRs and seemed to go faster every race!

  22. Happy new year, Britt! You had an amazing 2011 and I have loved following you every step of the way! You are truly an inspiration and I cannot wait to see what the new year brings for you! You have huge dreams and I cannot wait for them to come true for you!!!