Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Today is New Year's Eve, and like many people, it seems like I spend this time of year reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next one.

It's been quite a year to say the least. I'm not one bit sorry to see 2008 go.

I've had so many ups and downs -- at many points along the way it seemed like the 'downs' outnumbered the 'ups'.

But I know with every one of those 'downs' I learned a little something, a little piece of the puzzle that's come together to make me the person I am today.

I know myself better than I ever thought I would, have a clearer understanding about what's important in life, how I want to live my life and where I want to be in the future. Quite simply, I'm a better me.

I couldn't have done this alone.

It was about a year ago that I was preparing to embark on my first half marathon adventure, traveling to Disney to run with the TnT team. It was something that forced me way, way outside my comfort zone.

I joined TnT as a way to challenge myself to do something I had never done. I joined TnT to meet people. I joined TnT as an outlet to escape some of the negative things I was dealing with in my life.

I accomplished all that -- and so much more.

Never did I imagine that TnT would have helped me so much. The people I've met have truly helped me -- not only helped me to become a runner, to finish a half marathon or to know that it's possible to do the unthinkable.

They've helped me get through a very tough year for me - and probably many of them don't even know it.

They listened to me, they gave me advice, they made me laugh, they made me think, they gave me confidence.

In the days approaching New Year's Eve, I mulled several offers that I had for New Year's plans. It was actually nice to have so many offers on the table, but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do. A big part of me wanted to just spend it at home by myself.

Spending it by myself seemed somewhat appropriate because I've used this year (and especially the last several months) to really worry about me. I've come to know that caring about yourself and taking care of yourself isn't selfish. It's just plain necessary.

Without a good sense of self, how can you give yourself to someone else? How can you be truly happy? I don't think you can.

I was completely content to spend tonight alone and celebrate how much I've changed for the better this year ... that is, until I spent Monday evening with a group of my TnT friends.

We spent the evening laughing - as usual - sometimes laughing so hard that my stomach hurt (although that might have been the residual effects the ab work I've done at the gym lately).

Our team is about much more than just running or raising money for a good cause. I think the ones who see that get the most out of the TnT experience.

I decided to join them for New Year's festivities. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the evening -- with people who I care about and who care about me and who have really made a difference in my life this year.

Step by step, through all these miles (I wonder how many miles I ran this year), it's been a year to create lasting friendships and really learn a lot about myself. And tonight it's time to celebrate and look forward to next year with great friends.

Thanks, Team ... and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My haitus

Wow, I can't believe that it's been more than two months since I've written here. So much has happened since then -- not the least of which is cutting another 10 minutes off my half marathon time.

I'm still chugging along, but now it seems I'm chugging with a little more ease, a little more speed and a little more confidence.

I've even decided to have another go at the Hampton Half Marathon in February. Yes, that's the one that I swore I would never do again after running 13.1 miles in the cold and wet snow last year.

I'm still hoping for good weather for that one on Feb. 15. Will make for a much more enjoyable race.

Speaking of weather, Mother Nature is throwing another good one at us as I write this... and Coach Jack's even decided to cancel practice, something he rarely does. ("Can't pick the weather on race day," he reminds us.)

But when the conditions become too dangerous for us to run on the roads, Coach Jack makes the call to cancel.

Tomorrow was to be the 10-miler for the new Disney team. I was looking forward to running it with Sarah and celebrating her accomplishment.

We'll still do it. New England weather is just delaying that celebration until next week.