Monday, March 05, 2018

So much has happened since 2015

Wow my little blog is almost 12 years old.  In those early days, before social media apps had taken hold, blogging was were it was at.  Sure some bloggers where sponsored or got free stuff because of their blogs. But we didn’t do it for money, we did it for community.  Remember the blogroll?  I met a ton of trail runners and learned a lot about ultra running through my blog and the connections I made with other bloggers.  In the beginning I blogged a couple of times a week at least.  Eventually my posts dwindled to only race reports and then even that came to a halt and I published rarely.  It’s been two years but my little blog is still here and I’d like to get back to writing more, even if I’m the only one reading it.

I’ll be honest, the last few years have been two of the hardest I’ve ever experienced.  And it pretty much comes down to change. We’ve all seen those lists of life’s biggest stressors.  It seems like I experienced quite a few of them in a short period of time:

  • Left a job with an employer I’d been at for 20 years (due to the organization fostering a toxic workplace, harboring a sexual harasser and bully, as well as demanding unethical work practices —— this is a whole ‘nuther story!).
  • Searched for my professional way through three job changes since then.  And I think I'm still searching....
  • My father passed away in 2016.
  • After my father passed my Mom began to sink quickly into dementia and being unable to live independently.
  • My only child (the LG!) moved away to college.  This is a good thing but I miss him.
  • Hit menopause with all the resulting hormone changes and aggravating symptoms.
  • Had a major falling out with a dear, close friend.
  • Experienced depression and anxiety, which at the time I thought was wholly situational but now realize was partly due to those pesky menopause hormones plus some onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I’d never really experienced before.
  • Fractured my femoral condyle which severely limited not only my running but most exercise.
  • And most recently, Marc was laid off from  a job he loved and which we hoped would take him to retirement.

Phew! I think that’s it.  I'm not listing all these events to garner sympathy.  It’s life and most people experience these events at one time or the other.  And we often don’t know about it in passing.  Hard times happen.  But I do feel like I got hit with quite a few of the most difficult things in life in a very short period of time!

I feel like I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not so much that things have changed but my attitude towards the twist and turns of life have changed. Two of my favorite quotes signify where I am at the moment:

 It is the hardest times in life we remember. 

A painful struggle can turn into a glorious victory 
if you are patient and believe in yourself.

- Liz Bauer, record holder (at the time) for most hundred mile races completed in one calendar year - 36 in 2012.

 If your cup is small, a little bit of salt will make the water salty. 

If your heart is small, then a little bit of pain can make you suffer. 
Your heart must be large.

- Thay Nhat Hanh

Revisiting these quotes makes me realize I need to be less closed off, less inner focused and open my heart to more people and experiences.  And also be less judgemental of both myself and others.  I've always been hyper aware of other's perceptions and wanting to make a good impression.  I realize now that I don't always need to strive for A+ work.  Perfectionism is stressful and tiring.  I will give myself some slack and shoot for a B- average.

Hard times in life will always happen.  Overall I've been blessed with a fulfilling life, with good health, great family and friends and the means to support myself financially.  Rather than dwell on my current problems or keep looking to the future when I hope things will be brighter, I want to appreciate each moment for what it is.  And some good things have happened as a result of these more difficult times.  I've learned who my true friends are. And through more frequent visits to my mother in Arizona I've developed a closer relationship to my brother and his family.  I've become more outgoing from having to step out of my comfort zone to adapt to new workplaces.

And since this is a running blog after all, another way out of my funk has been to re-focus on running. My last long race was a 50 mile is April 2016!  That year I was lucky enough to gain entry via the lottery to Cascade Crest 100.  But after my father passed away that June, my training suffered and I lost my running mojo.  Well meaning friends told me to run it for him, but that wasn't a big motivator for me and I decided to withdraw from the race.  In 2017 I decided to re-focus on a big scary goal of completing the Mogollon Monster 100 in Arizona.  But the fracture in August put that plan to rest.

At the start of this year I thought a lot about where I wanted to take my running.  My last 100 mile was in 2015. Was I getting too old?  Did I really want to put in the time to train for a 100?  Being out in nature is one of the things that makes me the happiest and I've figured out that I need to do more of that.  So the answer to the 100 mile question is YES!  My first plan was to try to get into Cascade Crest again. Unfortunately that didn't happen. With my current job, travel in September is problematic so I need to stay fairly close to home.  I'd already completed Mountain Lakes, and while I wouldn't mind running that again I wanted a new challenge. Fortunately Alpine Running has come up with a new Oregon hundred - Old Cascadia 100.   I'm excited!  We need 30 participants to make it a go and so far we're a third there.  I have a back-up plan but will be extremely disappointed if this race doesn't happen. So if you follow me on social media and see me posting often about this race that's why!

If you've made it this far in this day and age of expiring social media posts I have to hand it to you.  I think I made up for lost time.  Hopefully I'll be inspired to write again sooner than 2+ years.


Carrie said...

I'm glad you're back Sarah. You have at least one reader. And just to say it outloud, that early morning trail run last month was such a huge confidence boost for me. I'm here to join you on as many of those monthly events as we can do this year!

Sarah said...

Thanks Carrie! I’m looking forward to more trail runs together. And maybe a beer or two as well! ;)

Joe said...

A wonderful post here Sarah! Thank you for your honesty and reflections. I admire all that you have communicated in these few paragraphs. My best to you as you re engage with the beauty of trail running! Give my regards to Marc.

Esther Holman said...

Thank you, Sarah. Thanks for sharing the quotes and your story. I hope Old Cascadia 100 becomes a reality for you.

Layla said...

Welcome back to blogging! Sometimes the bad stuff seems to never end, but I guess we at least learn how much we can fight through. I can’t wait to be able to run with you again, but beer and coffee and food are always good in between!