I'm not typically one to get sentimental around the holidays. I try to be grateful on Thanksgiving and Christmas for the privileged life I lead (fun fact: privilege is very hard for me to spell). I try to surround myself with friends on Halloween and New Year's. But I've only ever made one New Year's resolution and I don't typically reflect heavily on the year passed. My birthday makes me uncomfortable and I prefer to avoid the existential terror induced by the fleeting of time altogether. I expected the end of this decade would be the same.
But as I was contemplating my complete lack of excitement for the end of the decade (in the shower, as one tends to do), I realized that it has been about a decade since I first began running. Winter 2010 - Brendan and I packed up our marching band uniforms (clarinet and percussion, respectively) and went out for indoor track to get in shape for outdoor soccer. I have a very brief memory from one of our first runs out on Portsmouth. Just a general, foggy thought. But it's a light and airy thing and it feels good to remember.
So the decade itself doesn't hold much significance for me. But ten years of running? Suddenly this decade, this arbitrary unit of time, feels very significant.
And what a wonderful decade it has been. Running has been nothing but a positive force in my life for the entirety of these 10 years, and now, especially as my relationship with running becomes more and more imprecise in the wake of my collegiate career, I welcome an opportunity to reflect on and be thankful for it.
However, like most sports, cross country and track are not inherently positive experience. It’s the coaches, teammates, and parents that shape that experience into a positive one. I am extremely lucky to have had some of the best in all three categories.
While I'm being sentimental, maybe I will share some plans for the next decade.
No matter where, when, how, or why, every run is simply another little adventure. After a decade of these little adventures I think I’m ready for some big ones. I want to coach, I want to hike 1200 miles, I want to drive cross country with my friends to watch races at Hayward Field, I want to get married. On every one of these big adventures I will remember what I’ve learned in my little adventures - and I will be very happy.
So here’s to another decade of running, adventuring, thankfulness, and existential dread. It’ll be over in the blink of an eye and I intend to make the most of it!
And finally, to stay true to the theme of sentimentality, I leave you with two quotes - the language of sentimental people.
"Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running" - Julie Isophording
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” - J.R.R. Tolkien