It has been one of the strangest holidays I've spent at home in a long time. Everyone has been sick with something. Anyhoo- so I'm spending my New Year's Eve eating a few frozen appetizers, going between Despicable Me, bowl games and Dick Clark Rock'n New Year's Eve and finishing my posts for 2012. Here are my favorite quotes from "The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration" by Kevin Nelson for December. I've thoroughly loved reading this book and am sad that the book is finished.
December 1- "To make life living, we must descend to a more profound and primitive level. The good of seeing and smelling and tasting and daring and doing with one's body grows and grows."- William James, philosopher
Kevin wrote..."Every day is good for running. But not every day is the same, nor every month. We tend to lump the days together because of the dreary familiarity of work... If you view this calendar year in terms of a race, you're on the final stretch drive. Bring new energy to it, and finish with a bang."
I thought this was just what I needed to read at the start of December.
December 3- :Freud was 36 before he began to do the work that made him famous". - Lionel Trilling, literary critic and writer.
Kevin wrote..."Often people do not begin to take risks- that is, do the things they really want to do and damn the consequences- until their 30s and 40s. They've lived a little by then, and they're more willing to take chances. They're less concerned about what others think and more interested in what they think."
This is how old I am until next October. I'm 36 and I agree with Kevin's take on age. I think I started running and became a runner at the right time of my life. Looking forward to being adventuresome and running more and taking more chances as I age.
December 5- "Be yourself. You are the things you grew up with, the things your parents taught you. For years I tried to figure out who I was, where I came from. Now I just feel it's important to be Dan O'Brien."- Dan O'Brien, Olympic decathlete
To add onto the great quote above Kevin wrote, "Use what you have. Use everything you have, and that includes your past and who you are as a person... You are who you are. And who you are is unique. No one else has your individual experiences, past, knowledge. You're a resource even larger than the Internet, and you're all there, available for the taking. Tap into those internal resources, and make yourself the runner you want to be."
I need to look back on this quote and remind myself to utilize all my "chattynattyness"!
December 12- "We all die. Not living is the failure."-Sidney J. Winawer, M.D.
Enough said, don't you think!
December 13- "If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never." - Soren Kierkegaard
December 14- " Where the unaided intellect fails, the body now reveals. As I run up that hill, I am a pupil, an observer. My body is my tutor." - George Sheehan, philosopher-runner
Kevin wrote "You know more at the top of every hill you run than you did at the bottom. You know more at the end of every run than at the start. You know more at the end of every marathon you finish than at the beginning... Running teaches you something every time you run."
I definitely agree with these remarks. I don't think you can ever regret a run you've gone out for. You always learn something or gain something. Not every run is easy or enjoyable, but when you finish your run you have added mileage onto your running log, but more importantly you've gained time away from reality, time for yourself, quiet, and sometimes a good book :).
December 15- "You gotta hang in there. You don't know what's ahead. You don't realize the potential you have. you keep asking yourself, 'Is it really worth it?' But you gotta hang in there." - Brenda Morehead, sprinter
Kevin's take... "No one knows what lies ahead for you. Nor do you really know how much potential you have. But you're not going to find out the answers if you don't hang in there. Keep the dream present in your life, and never give up on it."
Another good reminder to me that I'll never know what I'm capable of in life, not just running, unless I get out there and give it my all. Try, try again!
December 22- "Little by little, in the long run, aspirations can realize themselves. Work for that".- Ruth Benedict, writer
Kevin had some great ideas in regard to the above quote: "Small smooth movements. That's today's mantra: small and smooth. People think in terms of fast or slow when they run. Instead: think small and smooth. You may be running 15 miles today. But the way you're covering that big distance is by small, smooth steps."
I could use the mantra "small and smooth" in my life again not just in relation to running, but also to being a mom- I need to take smaller and smoother steps and I think I'd go a lot farther in both running and parenting.
December 24- "Personally I am always read to learn, although I do not always like being taught." - Winston Churchill
Kevin took the above and described what I feel on an almost weekly basis... "One day you go out and surprise yourself at how fast you run and how good you feel. The next day you go out, and you just don't have it. Your legs feel like lead, your intervals are terrible and you can't understand why. There is still so much to learn...I keep my mind open, and I keep learning".
I love this about running. It keeps you humble and teaches you almost daily.
December 26- "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. And great things are not something accidental, but most certainly be willed." - Vincent van Gogh
Kevin's addition..."You stuck to your guns, and you did it. And it wasn't easy to do. Is there a more satisfying feeling in all of life? You did all the small things, which added up to a great big thing. there were times when you felt like quitting, and yet you didn't. There were times when hope seemed lost and yet you stayed with it."
O.K. running isn't tragic, but it can be extremely challenging and I felt like this last month of running was pretty hard, maybe even harder than my longest month of mileage when training for Chicago this past year in running. The goal of 1,000 miles for 2012 couldn't be completed if I didn't run in December. Not just some 3-4 milers, but longer mileage to get almost 80 miles total in for December. It is a great thing to accomplish something and I agree with Vincent "great things are not done by impulse".
December 28- "Work hard. Be dedicated. That's all." - Charles Foster, track hurdler, on the secret of success
Kevin's first line in this day's reading was excellent: "You want inspiration? Do the work. You'll find plenty of inspiration then." Love It! Another great quote for my bathroom mirror to keep me on task/focused on the finish line, etc.
December 29- "Once he started running, he never stopped." - Quote about Steve Prefontaine, from the move Prefontaine
Kevin- "You may not have much in common with distance legend Steve Prefontaine, but let there be this: once you start running, never stop." I hope I don't because I truly believe it makes me happier and I'm just a better person when I'm happier. It's free therapy too!
December 31- "If you are doing something you would do for nothing, then you are on your way to salvation." -George Sheehan, philosopher-runner
Kevin's response: This is it, the lat day of the year, the grand finale...Here's the main question, in my mind: are you enjoying yourself? If you are- if the act of running fills you with joy, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet- you've got the thing wired. Records and times are mere marginalia; the reason you run, what motivates you, is: you love it.
I feel this way right now about running and don't want to lose it so I will continue giving myself goals/races to train for, but I don't want to lose the bigger picture- "am I enjoying myself?" As long as I am enjoying life then running is genuine and honest and joy that I can't go wrong with.
So I close out 2012 with 88 miles in December. This is double what I ran in December 2011 (41 miles). I ran several races this past year (2 1/2 marathons, 1 sprint tri, and one marathon). I PR'd 1/2 marathon (1:59:08) and marathon (4:23:11). Lastly, I ran 1,001 miles in 2012. I've started thinking about 2013 running goals and surprisingly I'm thinking of continuing my goal of 1,000+++ miles for 2013 but I don't think I will be signing up for Chicago this year. It hit me on my long run this past weekend. I thought "I'm not going to run Chicago this year." It is not because I'm burned out, but it just came to me and I think it was a sign. I plan to find some races to sign up for- maybe even try to become a 1/2marathon fanatic ( 3 1/2 marathons within 90 days). I also want to focus on really enjoying my running life. So cheers to a New Year and all the accomplishments of this past year!