2017 was a weird year because everything changed so drastically. In some ways this has been the best year of my life and in others it has been the worst. Positive changes can have negative results and negative changes can have positive results. I’ve experienced both sides of this over the last year and what I’ve learned is that change is actually about being open to new opportunities and possibilities. When you allow yourself to take a risk you are allowing your fate to find you.
The first 3 days of 2017 were spent packing up our house in New Jersey to move to Colorado. This was incredibly stressful because we were moving right after the holidays with the cats. It was an emotionally draining process to sell a house that I LOVED and move across the country with no idea what was going to happen, and not one thing that has happened in the last 12 months could have been predicted. I had a vision of what life in Colorado was going to be like and life in Colorado is nothing like I imagined it would be.
Around 2pm on January 4th we began our drive from New Jersey to Colorado while stopping in cat friendly hotels and drinking coffee along the way–we sold our house and received $30 in Starbucks gift cards from our realtor. On January 7th at 10:42pm mountain time we pulled up to our new house. Then, just as quickly as I had arrived in Colorado I had to leave because I was in the middle of an internship back in New Jersey. There was a road closure, a snowstorm, and I missed my flight out of Denver. After booking a new flight, a very very very long drive to the airport, and a flight to Philadelphia I was back in New Jersey. My parents picked me up at the airport and I was now going to be living with them until I could officially move. The first few weeks of being in New Jersey while Phil and the cats were in Colorado were rough. Because I was taking classes and in the middle of and internship, my stress level was elevated. My life situation only added to that stress and I began to feel overwhelmed and very alone. The first few weeks of 2017 weren’t at all what I had expected and they certainly weren’t going by smoothly or quickly like I had hoped. I opted to continue working to pass the time and create a sense of normalcy in my situation. Back in January life seemed impossible but that was only because I hadn’t experienced the rest of 2017 yet. I should have known from the start of the year that I was in for one challenge after another. Just as I started to get a grasp on reality I found myself flying back to Colorado to unpack our stuff while Phil was working. I cleaned and unpacked everything in 2 days before once again going back to New Jersey. During this brief trip I had my first and last experience with Greyhound buses. I will NEVER EVER ride a Greyhound bus again! The rest of January was mostly me complaining and being sad because I wasn’t living in the same state as my husband for the 2nd time in a 6 month period.
February finally arrived and it was surprisingly warm for the month of February. February was a relatively sad month because I had to say goodbye to my friends and family almost constantly. I had to let go of a lot of things, like a coaching job that I loved. With just a few weeks remaining in New Jersey it became very real that I was giving that up and the fate of my future as a coach become very uncertain.
Eventually I finished the internship and I began my 2nd cross country dive from New Jersey to Colorado, only this time Lyndsey got to come with me! Knowing that she was coming with me made the trip seem less daunting than the first time. We made sure to run at least 1 mile in each state we drove through. Driving from New Jersey to Colorado with Lyndsey was much more enjoyable than driving from New Jersey to Colorado wth my beloved cats in the car.
We arrived at my house in Colorado on March 1st after a quick stop in Frisco for a run! I specifically remember having to get to my house with plenty of time to log into my class that evening. Another stressful graduate student moment. Two days later Lyndsey left and I wasn’t reunited with her until last week. It was a sad 9+ months.
After Lyndsey left I found myself feeling very lost. I had no job, no running group, and no friends. I ran as much as a person can run when they first move from sea level to altitude, and I attempted to get my Colorado drivers license. The DMV told me that my birth certificate was invalid and I had to order a new one which would take up to 6 weeks to arrive. This was the first of a series of meltdowns I’d have throughout the year.
After about a week of being completely bored I posted in a Facebook group that I was looking for someone to run with who lived in my town. Thankfully, a girl 4 blocks away responded and I was no longer friendless. In March when I wasn’t running I finished my literature review that is now an appendix to my almost finished thesis. After that I spent the rest of March trying to get my research proposal approved and it was a long, defeating process leading to more meltdowns. At some point in the spring it was approved and I was able to start my data collection. One day I’ll be done my thesis, but its not likely that will happen before 2017 comes to an end.
In April I ran my first race of the year and won 50 $1 coins that weighed down my purse for the next few months until I eventually spent them all on coffee. A few days later I left for New Jersey so that I could go to Boston and run the Boston Marathon. I felt like I was just getting used to being in Colorado and then I ended up back on the east coast for nearly 2 weeks lacking the consistency that I was seeking in my life. And let’s be honest, I didn’t exactly train for the Boston Marathon so I had that weighing on my mind. No one wants to toe the line for a marathon under trained and that was exactly what I was doing. Thankfully, I didn’t have a meltdown about that. I just accepted it for what it was and made my way to the finish line. I ran the marathon in 3:33 exactly, something I’d likely never be able to do again if I tried. After running the Boston Marathon and finishing blister free (Thanks Altra!!) I decided not to train for anything until after I finish graduate school to avoid signing up for more marathons that I haven’t properly trained for and suffering for 26.2 miles. While in Boston I found $40 blowing across the street and sold Sparkly Soul Headbands at the expo, both were more enjoyable than the race itself. A few days after running the marathon I got a really bad throat infection. Then, we went to a wedding in New Jersey and I got blisters from wearing heels. When we got back to Colorado I found out that my iron was low so I had to back off from running for a while. Running became less of a priority and more of a privilege as I began an 8 month long stretch of random health issues and injuries that I am hoping will all disappear in 2018.
In May I went to Utah to run Ragnar Zion with an awesome group of people, again without having trained. Thankfully, I had some pretty speedy teammates and our team won the mixed division and placed 7th overall! May was also the month when I was told my experience and qualifications don’t matter and I was passed over for a coaching job I deserved. I was devastated for a few weeks, but I started my own business in response to this rejection. I decided that no one has the right to dictate my career except me and GOALden Peak Performance became a reality rather than just an idea. It only took a day for me to come up with a name [in the shower] and then over night I became the owner and head coach of my own company. Coaching is the one thing I care the most about in this entire world and no one has the right to take that away from me.
June was also the month that I started a running group in my town, got a job, and started my 3rd internship.
In July I turned 30 and gave a speech at a Nike XC camp. Giving that speech was the highlight of my life. If the year could have ended there it would have been perfect, but that isn’t how things work.
In August the cats were really really naughty and I got hurt running a downhill 5 mile race. I struggled with a groin injury for over a month. The highlight of August was having a pumpkin spice latte before fall started and my very first lavender latte, on 2 separate occasions of course. At the end of August The Road Less Run Blog turned 3 and I wrote something about that. I’m certain I was extremely miserable in August because I was struggling with my internship. Sometimes situations look like they are going to be ideal and then they just aren’t. That was this internship.
I ran a trail 5k in early September and I have no idea how it went because I was still dealing with the groin injury. I couldn’t tell you what my time was because I wasn’t paying attention. I like to do things to support my community but sometimes they aren’t in my best interest. This brings me to one of my 2018 goals, which is to stop overcommitting myself and doing things that aren’t in my best interest, like running up mountains when I am recovering from an injury. Unrelated, a bear was also wandering around town in September and we are 99% sure it knocked on our door. At the very end of September I FINALLY finished my 3rd internship after getting an extension.
In October I wasn’t injured anymore but I am an idiot and I started training like I was training for the race of my life after barely running for over a month. I wasn’t actually training for anything. I often believe that I am invincible like a superhero, but even superheroes have their kryptonite and my kryptonite is excessive running on the treadmill. I ended up with tendonitis in my left achilles because, as I said, I am an idiot. I was running too far on the treadmill after really long days of work followed by my 4th internship rather than running outside in the dark with the bear. I was being impulsive and impatient and unrealistic. I should have eased into running post injury and opted to run outside with the bear. Sadly, this tendonitis destroyed running for the rest of the year. Finding the good in bad situations is sometimes my specialty, and this injury has actually been a blessing because I’ve needed to focus on finishing graduate school.
October wasn’t completely terrible though, Hollie came to visit on the one day my achilles wasn’t hurting and I was a black cat for Halloween like Ninja!
November was just a blur of chaos where I worked myself into the ground and had too many meltdowns to count, but I did make 3 pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving that I spent the next few days eating for breakfast. In November I realized that I wasn’t going to graduate by the end of the year and it destroyed me. Eventually I got over it and refocused. I won’t be done graduate school in 2017 and that’s okay. One day [soon] I’ll finish.
And now it is December. It’s another chaotic month, but with Christmas decorations. I love Christmas and I love December, minus the cold. The end of December brought us back to New Jersey for the holidays where I am procrastinating finishing my thesis by writing a blog post about the last year of my life……
Though it’s been a struggle 2017 has been amazing. If you asked me to relive it I wouldn’t, but I also wouldn’t change it and I don’t regret one thing that has happened.