As 2021 draws to a close, we can say with certainty this year has been a marathon, not a sprint. We wanted to take the month of December to look back at the milestones, miles, and memories that shaped the past twelve months. We put a call out to our staff and the AMR community, asking for their highlights—from PRs to first races to life changes. Here are just some of their inspiring responses.
The late Elizabeth Edwards once said, “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” In 2021, some members of AMR community arrived at the precipice of their own new reality–or at least a frustrating spot in life–and bravely chose to accept it with strength and grit (and yes, plenty of tears, too). While these aren’t “highlights” per se, they are shining examples of how we can rise above, find the light in our darker moments, and keep moving forward.
Molly W., AMR Podcast Host: 2021 was a year of letting go. It’s not what I wanted, and it makes me very sad. My left knee has become arthritic and has led to a lot of sciatic pain that I’m working through. The most painful part has been letting go of running with Sarah. The miles we spent together were precious and I miss the long disjointed conversations we had with so much time kill. It’s hard. I’m finding new ways to fill my time, and I see wonderful friends and family, but I’m entitled to grieve and I’m having a big old sob as I write this.
When I was running and struggling I’d say to myself, “I’m right here”, meaning don’t think about the future or the past, I’m right here and it’s fine. It’s harder to take this approach now, I see the road ahead full of struggle but can’t make out the curves and hills. I hold in my mind the image of myself outside, big smile, lungs full of air, feeling like I’m right where I want to be, even if I can’t see the road unfurling before me to this destination. I’m right here, and it’s OK.
Amanda L., TLAM Coach and Podcast Host: This…has not been my favorite year, to be honest. I impetuously picked up and moved across the country and have regretted it every day. I desperately miss my friends and family back east, and as a single mom, I’ve been lonelier than I ever thought possible. We have plans to return in June after my daughter’s school year is over and I hold tightly onto that day. The silver lining to all this—my 2021 highlight—has been the incredible support I’ve received from my friends. As I’ve been at my lowest lows, they’ve shown up, over and over again. Whether phone calls, texts, or weekend visits, I’ve never felt more loved and supported. I am one lucky lady and I will cherish this gift of friendship forever.
Sarah F., TLAM Creative: After having my fourth child during the pandemic (hello, sudden homeschooling with a newborn!) and then developing a killer case of plantar fasciitis that left me in a boot for most of last fall, I was so excited when life began feeling a bit “normal” again and my fitness finally started creeping back after several months of careful work. I was setting big goals and even winning races again when…boom! I went down hard during a trail race in October and fractured two bones in my foot (the first time I have ever broken anything in my life!). Back in the boot and I went. While I was in a great amount of physical pain, my emotional wellbeing took the brunt of the injury. I usually “run off” a lot of my stress and anxiety–not to mention it’s my favorite way to socialize–and having that outlet suddenly stripped away left me feeling lost, lonely, and frustrated. Eventually, time healed my foot (and my heart), and the support of my family, friends, and even strangers on social media buoyed me. So, if anything, the silver lining of this injury is that I am more motivated than ever before to return to where I was when I fell. I can start running again on Sunday, and I am looking forward to making my comeback much stronger than my setback.
Michelle C.: I got my second DNF on a 50 miler. Instead of being sad and down, my takeaway was, “well at least I didn’t do anything stupid,” by finishing a race that may have lead to an injury had I gone on.
April H.: My Virtual Boston Marathon didn’t go as planned. I started having back and hip pain around mile 15. I basically hobbled for the last 11.2 miles. I cried a lot because I didn’t realize how lonely it would feel to be out there by myself for so long. Luckily, I got so many texts and messages from my BAMR buds that really helped. My husband and kids found me at mile 24 and my sweet daughter walked with me for about 2 miles. And then my BFF surprised me and was waiting at my house with goodies. She ran the last .2 miles with me and it was amazing. So, while it wasn’t the marathon I had hoped for, I finished. And I felt so lucky and so loved by so many.
Jaime T.: Before the Redman half iron distance triathlon, my BRF and I had our “lucky meal” the day before (chicken pad Thai). We both ended up with food poisoning on the run! It should’ve been a PR for both of us, and we had trained super hard. Instead we took turns retching and holding each other’s hair while finishing the run. This is a pic of us at the end, just before she went to medical for an IV. She doesn’t even remember this photo!