i hate new years eve but i love having a benchmark.
2016. you were rough. on jan. 1 2016 i woke up in my ex’s apartment still in my NYE dress and not entirely clear on the night before. friends were mad at me and i didn’t feel particularly well. i think new years day we went and saw star wars, it was my first time seeing it. i felt sick and trapped.
shortly thereafter i began training for the Paris marathon, which was on April 3. I had never run a full marathon. the winter was a fog. i was suffering from massive anxiety attacks between getting in all of my training runs. i loved sunday long runs. i didn’t have my phone with me. no one could reach me. my ex couldn’t reach me. and every week i was going further than i knew i could. 16 miles, then 18, and finally 20. i was sad, but i finally had a purpose again.
no one seemed to know what was going on. i felt like i was going crazy, and the only thing that was keeping me together was my training schedule.
in april i was in paris, and ran the marathon. or rather, i completed the course. it was hard. i was trained, but i made a lot of mistakes on race week, and wasn’t proud of my time.
after paris i was in a rut. i was angry at myself for my race time. i was angry at my ex, at my friends for not understanding, at my circumstances.
i knew i had the new york marathon ahead of me in November. and that was ‘the big one’. in dark moments i figured i would run new york and then end my life. i just really wanted to run the course. but i couldn’t see much to live for beyond that.
things were dark, and quickly were getting worse. its easy for me to forget now how bad they were.
finally, in may, i stopped drinking. i couldn’t do it anymore. i couldn’t remember anything. every day was so filled with anxiety. i was running on nothing. running through headaches and hangovers. i felt sick all of the time and so far from the person i wanted to be. i felt like i’d lost.
two weeks after i stopped drinking i ran the brooklyn half. it was, dare i say, easy? it went by like nothing. i wasn’t pushing my pace and easily glided over the finish mat 17 minutes faster than my previous pr.
in June i got an order of protection against my ex. i was finally something worth protecting.
the whole spring was one pr after the next. as my body repaired itself, and my mind got stronger, my race times got faster and faster.
in early summer i got into the chicago marathon via lottery, and i decided i would run both Chicago and NY, against most people warning me this was for certain injury. with the money i saved from not partying, i had extra cash for training sessions, a meeting with a running coach. my body was changing rapidly. i went on my first long run with a friend, without headphones, we talked the whole time. it was great. i was a different runner.
in october i ran chicago, and it was finally the race i dreamed i could have. i had a smile on my face the whole time. i was confident in my training. i was so grateful for every person out along the course. i felt like i had worked so hard and had earned this elation. i PR’d by nearly and hour. and i still didn’t feel tired.
as the New York marathon approached i became nervous. could my body handle another marathon? would i eat it in my home town? what would happen after? would all those dark thoughts come back? i both did and did not want race day to come.
the new york marathon was a dream. my whole family was there. so many friends. the course was challenging but i pushed through. and spoiler alert, i didn’t end my life after NYM. and luckily, thoughts like that are no longer in the forefront of my mind. i am, finally, liking the person that i am becoming.
i know the marathon distance now. it is always surprising, and there is never a moment where you can ‘relax’ but i know that i have strength now, i know that i don’t know what i’m capable of yet. i know that i am not nothing. i know that hard work pays off.
2016 was so hard, but marathons are hard, and now i’ve done 3 of them.