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It has been a bit of a year, hasn’t it? One could say that perhaps there is a bit more tension than usual. I have spent time looking for ways to destress in many areas and I have to say that one thing that has been a relief is running. As I am sure we have all had more time to think than usual many of us may wonder what comes next. Now I (of course) do not know the future but I have spent plenty of time thinking about what running has meant to me over the years and over this year. Doing so has made me really look forward to the next year.

This past year I have had injuries which have forced me to slow down. In doing so I have learned even more than usual about running. With current events also putting a damper on racing for the year I feel like the unasked for time to reflect has really made its mark on my attitude.

Now I know that the year has been difficult on many fronts for all of us but I also know that I have learned to appreciate getting out and going for a run in a way I did not expect and could not have anticipated. Between the injuries and the distinct drop in socialization I have gotten more joy, peace, and satisfaction out of every run this year- good runs, bad runs, short runs, long runs, road runs, trail runs… all of the runs I have gone on have taken on a new significance.

In the past year I have taken a class on the biomechanics of walking, increased my knowledge (through practice and paid online classes) of breathing, and continued to learn about mobility. I learned more about the value of sleep and stress in training and I of course continued to tinker with the food I put into my body. Books were read, online classes were taken, self-experimentation concerning running and health abounded all year long. I have a lot more to learn but I do feel like it is valuable to acknowledge some of the positive accomplishments for the year.

While looking back I also look forward. This year running has been a stress reliever and a serious component to my health. I have learned to treasure it on multiple levels. Being able to move my body is not something I want to take for granted. It has moved up even higher on the priority list than it already was. In fact, I have already purchased another running related class (this time about running as a skill) to take for the new year. In seeing how good running can be I have been encouraged and I do not want to stop.

So while I am grateful for what has happened this year in running I am raising my glass and would ask you to do the same for what the next year has to come. Movement is a gift. Don’t take it for granted. Be kind to each other and yourselves. Happy new year everybody.

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