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Friday, December 31, 2010

I did it!!!!!!

On January 1st of 2010, I decided I was going to try to run every single day of the year. On December 31st of 2010, I completed my 365th run in a row.

It was something I've been curious about for years. I wondered if I could ever accomplish such a daunting task. Every time New Year's resolutions came to the table, a small part of me thought about this idea and I quickly dismissed it because of all the self doubts in my head. Finally, on a run at the beginning of the year, I was thinking about a question a friend asked me, "What do you like to do"? In my travels on the trails, I said to myself, "I like to run, I like to take pictures and I like to motivate others". It was then that I decided to finally give it a try.

I have done most of my trail running in San Diego. Many of my favorite running trails included Torrey Pines State Reserve, Los Pennasquitos Canyon, Sycamore Canyon, Mt. Woodson, Iron Mountain, La Jolla Cove, Del Mar Mesa, San Elijo Lagoon and many more. I've completed days of running during my travels this year to running trails in Zion National Park, Breckenridge Colorado, Bancroft Iowa, Palm Springs California, Omaha Nebraska and Kauai Hawaii.

Every day, I carried my "baby blue" waterproof Canon camera and took pictures during each run. Not one beautiful moment passed me on a run without a photograph. I posted one each day. Posting my favorites became a gallery of San Diego photography. There are still hundreds of trail running photos I have not yet shared but will find a way to do so in the future.

When I started this excellent adventure, I was looking for a fun hobby and a personal challenge. What I learned along the way was so much more:

Respect: The body and mind are fragile. Each day has it's challenges both mentally and physically. I have a new respect for the ability to focus, motivate and reach new limits physically. A healthy mind and body is a true gift and one which I do not ever take for granted.

Effort: Like any long adventure, there are good and bad days. I realized that the days I disliked this project the most were the days when I was not giving it my all. The days when I went out of my way to find a good spot for photos or put in a few extra hard miles were the most rewarding. I got out of my slumps by trying harder.

Distraction: When the economy was terrible and it seemed that there were so many negative stories surrounding me, this blog became a good friend. In a landscape where I struggled professionally and sometimes personally, it was a soft place for me to land. To me, it became a quiet safe place in a noisy world. I have enjoyed being able to tell the world who I really am and have loved the open arms of so many friends, old and new.

Loyalty: During the days when I thought I was out there all alone, my dog, Zeke was right there with me. I never realized the power of "loyalty" until I needed a running buddy on a rainy dark day. He offered me safety and companionship every single day. Most importantly, he had a way of making me smile when I needed it most. I hope that I can become as reliable and consistent in my love for others in my life.

Positivity: I've been amazed at the incredible stories people have told me after hearing about my quest. A little personal mission that may have seemed self indulgent has become an army of people motivated to become better and stronger. If you are a positive person, people want to be around you. If you have a story that lifts people's spirits, they will share theirs freely. Soon, you have a lot of people feeding on each other's enthusiasm, passion and hope. I'm so grateful for those who have joined me along the way and who have come forward with their hearts open. It is not what I expected but is profoundly moving and will forever change my life.

Connection: The running wasn't the hardest part. I am a rather private person so forcing myself to make a public blog and share my thoughts and feelings was outside of my comfort zone. It took awhile for me to realize that the blog was connecting me to family, friends and strangers in ways I could not have anticipated. We all had this piece in common. Some people would tell me throughout the year how they have started their own excellent adventure or how I helped them get motivated, etc... Sometimes, I would help someone out of an emotionally hard spot without even knowing until later. More importantly, knowing others were supporting me by engaging in my blog helped me stay motivated and determined. We are fueled by each other's strengths. To connect with people on so many different levels has been the greatest gift of all. I've learned the magic of deeper love.

For these lessons and so many more, I am thankful for this wonderful year. Thank you to everyone who joined me along the way and for the unconditional love and support. I would not have made it without you. You have helped me become a better person.

I am inspired to find something new that will lift me to new levels to become the best "me" possible. Until then, keep your chins held high, do what you want, live a positive life, never stop believing in yourself, remember all things are possible and keep enjoying life on the trails!

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations for completing the streak - I knew you would do it almost from Day 1, you sounded so determined! Very much enjoyed all the superb pics and inspirational thoughts. Best wishes for the next project!!

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS! I hoped to post this the day after your completed goal, but I've been traveling for the holidays. Anyway, I think your blog is awesome, and I want you to know how much it's been a source of inspiration for me these past months in beginning my own trail running. :) Happy New Year!

    Liz

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  3. A big congratulations from me also. I have loved your motivational or 'food for thought' comments along the way. I enjoyed reading your snippets each day and seeing checking out the pictures from a land far away from me. You should be SO proud of yourself. Happy Festive Season!

    Lennie

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  4. Karen - Happy New Year and congrats on a huge accomplishment! Throughout the year, I would occassionaly visit your site to see how you were getting on. Only yesterday when I was running on the rainy streets of London, did I remember to check on your progress. I'm happy for you. Keep it up. Johnny Mac

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  5. Congratulations! I had faith you would do this... if not you... then Zeke would certainly have done it. Actually, I am impressed! Huge kudos to you from me...
    I am still trying to run once a week... this week not included... :)

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