HAPPY NEW YEAR. It’s nice to be back blogging after an eight month hiatus!
I think it’s fair to call 2021 my Marathon Year. Last April, after three-and-a-half months of intense training (which I wrote about on this blog) I ran my first marathon… a solo effort along the American River in Sacramento. In June I started running with my first-ever training group, which in August transitioned into a training program for the California International Marathon ( or “CIM”), which I ran last month.
The fact that I ran 26.2 miles for the first and second times ever in 2021 doesn’t capture the magnitude of what last year meant to me. After all, those two marathons, when combined, took barely more than eight hours of my life.
A better indicator of 2021 being my Marathon Year might be the fact that I trained nearly eight months of the year for these two races, a commitment involving an uncommon level of dedication and focus. It could be the fact that I wrote more in my journals about running and marathoning than any other topic including my previous favorite obsession, investing. Maybe it’s the fact that I talked more about running than any other subject (just ask my wife, who was so clear on my obsession that she bought me five running books for Christmas). It could be the fact my primary social group since the summer were the other runners of the training program. Or maybe it was the fact that all year long I put aside nearly every other aspect of my life, with the exception of my piano teaching business and being a devoted husband ( I also squeezed in two recording sessions to record a new piano album last Fall in the midst of CIM training).
Yet none of these details get to the root of the matter. What made 2021 my Marathon Year is the incredible level of satisfaction and fulfillment I got from training for and running these races. There are few things I have done in my life which were more satisfying. By and large, marathon training was a continual joy, a delightful endeavor that filled my waking hours with purpose and anticipation. I felt that I was achieving a dream come true and becoming the athlete I always wanted to be (even if I didn’t know it!).
The solo marathon experience was so singular and rich that I felt drawn to do a writing project about it. I took several writing workshops online, where I met with other writers and got critical feedback on my work. I learned much about editing and improving my writing in the process. And I gained incredible experience from sticking to one writing project for longer than I have since college. My marathon experience facilitated the evolution of my writing journey.
All in all, it was a beautiful amazing year, which perhaps can be summarized by the picture at the top of this post. In it, I relish the triumph as I cross the finish line of the California International Marathon on December 5th.
Indeed, it was a fine year!