Monday, December 31, 2012

The last run

The mountains showed themselves from their best side today. They were dusted with perfect white snow, kissed by the suns rays giving them a healthy glow, framed by a clear blue sky... a perfect setting for a run.

When I woke up and looked out the window I knew I had to run today and so the mad time management calculations started in my head. It was now too late to go before work... in my lunch break I was going to be pressed for time... and the evening was reserved to spend with the family. I felt my heartrate increase at my desperate attempts to find a time to run. I got edgy. I reached for the good old notepad  and began to write out a time plan, breaking down the time I'd need to get home, changed, get back, shower, eat and get back to work. I was left with a bit over 30min running time, not good enough in my world (I know, 30min is better than nothing, but I can't bring myself to accept it). I'm sure other endurance athletes will understand that anything sub-hour is just not justifyable. What to do? I decided to assess the flow of business that morning and workout the potential of how busy it could get (which realistically you never can) in the afternoon. After assessing the situation I decided it would be quiet enough for me to, shyly, ask my co-workers if I could take an extended lunchbreak so I could run. Of course they, without hesitating, exclaimed a loud YES! Hallelujah, my day was saved.
From that moment on my legs were in running mode and my mind was counting down to the running hour.

The day had developed into a warm winters day, which made running conditions ideal, creating the perfect surface to run on; grippy yet not slushy snow. Two layers of clothes sufficed and a few minutes after leaving work I emerged out of the house in my running gear (it pays to live accross the road from work).
I decided on my usual 10km run, which spoils you with the glorious view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau skyline the entire way. People were throwing snowballs (not at me), kids were playing in the snow, people were smiling. This was going to be a good run, I could feel it in the air, my last run for 2012.

2012 has been an incredible year of running for me, and as my feet hit the ground memories started whizzing through my brain like electric currents. My favorite (running) memories are running with my best friend Shayne. I can always call on her for an adventure, we hit the same stride, we talk and laugh, we philosophise about life, we talk about boys, we have fun. There have been mornings we'd meet at 4:30am just to fit in a 20km run before work. Every run is then ended with a PRC (post run coffee), our little tradition. That's a big part of why we get up so early, just so we don't miss out on our well earned PRC...
Back in Australia, every sunday was reserved for sunday long runs with an wonderful running group made up of diverse, interesting, motivating and amazing people, lead by the running guru, Chief Al (as we call him). We would run anywhere between 20-30km along Newcastles gorgeous coastline, chatting, laughing and challenging one another. As a group we trained for the Newcastle Hill to Harbor, where I had my first half marathon victory.

When I moved back to switzerland, the beginning of April, my running became very solitary, which triggered me to  channel all my focus into training for a 78km Ultra. Training solo was a great time for soul searching, learning discipline and self motivation, and getting to know my bodys limits and abilities. For a long time I have flirted with the idea of an ultra marathon, and once I crossed that startline I didn't stop until my feet crossed the finishline, 8hrs20min later as 11th female. It was the run of my life.

The Jungfrau Marathon soon followed and my ambitions were set high, however, that race turned out to be the trough of my running season. I learnt a valuable lesson that day, that sometimes you are missing a piece to the puzzle, the piece to a successful race. That day I was certainly missing the fitting piece to the race I had imagined, but I filled it with another piece, finishing and creating a different outcome to the original image I had painted in my mind.

New York called as the final race for the year and we all know the outcome of that race. Some things are out of our control, such as a cancelled race, but that doesn't mean there can't be another kind of race. On a truly beautiful day, which was meant to be race day, a group of wheelchair athletes and I set out to do our own Marathon through NY, although mine wouldn't be running but on a bike instead. It sure wasn't the exact race any of us had prepared for, yet cruising through the streets of New York, seeing fellow runners, watching a city being revived will forever be embeded in our memories and a truly unique take on the New York Marathon.

As I was reminiscing about the past year I rapidly got pulled back into the present when I found myself running on the ski piste instead of the trail, dodging skiiers left right and center. Lucky I didn't run off the cliff I say ;)

I walked back in the door with 15mins to get showered and changed, but I felt revived and alive. Running has given me a new breath of life. The beauty of the sport is no matter where you are you can run. No matter where you run you will meet a fellow runner who shares your passion. No matter what your level of fitness is, it's always challenging. It fuels the soul.

My last run in 2012 has evoked wonderful memories not only of running, but also of many other aspects in my life. Had I not have had that extra time to run today I would have, most likely, missed out on that time to reflect and appreciate a blessed year.

... with that said, bring on 2013! Happy Running Year, I mean New Year.

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