Many people are asking me if I plan to hang up my running shoes now that I’ve met my 2016 goal of running 12 races in 12 months. Others are asking me what I plan to do next. These are all very good questions which I have been asking of myself for 2017.
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I have really enjoyed setting my 2016 goal and seeing it through to completion. But it wasn’t easy. I’m not a fast or experienced runner, and our family’s increasingly complicated schedule has been a challenge when trying to schedule one race per month.
I have learned many lessons since I set the goal for myself this time last year. For example, I have no interest in training to run a half-marathon or marathon. While I admire those who set their sights on these goals and achieve them, I realize that I won’t be one of them. Right now, I still find the 5K races a challenge but I think that someday I will work towards a 10K. That being said, I would enjoy training for and participating in a walking half-marathon with my besties– imagine all the catching up we could do while exercising at the same time.
Looking back on 2016 after having accomplished my running goal, what I enjoyed the most overall was the impact that my participating in races had on other people. Our kids raced alongside me in several of those races, and they are hooked. I saw them confront their fears and limits, and be proud of themselves in the end. I had so many great learning and parenting moments as a result of the races we ran together. I had other friends and family members join me at times, and it was incredibly rewarding to see them participate too.
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A couple of years ago, we had a next-door neighbour named Jo who was on a teacher exchange for a year from Australia. I remember one day, while standing in my garage and chatting to her, she said that she found it very strange that here in Canada we all seemed to live so close together with our neighbours, jam-packed into suburbs, while our lives were lived so far apart. She said it was the opposite in Australia.
What she said struck me. She was right. I still don’t know many of my neighbours and have lived in this neighbourhood for 12 years. I want this to change and so I’ve been thinking of starting up a run club in my neighbourhood. I think it will be a great way to meet our neighbours, keep up the running and impart a positive impact on the community. I just found out that my mother-in-law did the same thing in her neighbourhood many years ago, so in some ways, it will be a nice way to keep up the family tradition.
So what does 2017 have in store for me? I’m still going to run 12 races over 12 months, however I may not necessarily run one every single month of the year. Plus, my son was smitten with obstacle course races after participating in the Foam Fest last year– so I have more of those on the horizon. And of course, there’s my new neighbourhood run club.