Alright, I’m in a funk. It’s taken me a bit to admit to this.
Usually, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the colder air, overcast skies and Christmas lights illuminating the darker nights. Shorter days – they’ve never bothered me. I loved walking home from the bus stop after a hard day of track practice in high school and feeling the coldness seep through my layers of clothing. The chilly air feels fresher to me and the nights are quieter with an indescribable stillness. With the cold air, I can actually think.
But lately, I feel a little lost. The air seems biting, and my hands are always numb and shaking. I don’t feel the happiness I usually feel encompassing me. Maybe it’s because this time of year, around Christmas, used to be so full of tradition. My sisters and I would migrate home to New Jersey where my mom would have the house decked out with multiple shining trees and decorations galore. On Christmas Eve my father, Erin and I would head out into the dark for our annual lights run, and we would run loops around the neighborhood where Erin and I had logged countless rhythm mile workouts in high school. We’d rate the houses in numerous categories according to the types of decorations, and at the end we’d crown a grand champion, unbeknownst to them.
We’d come home chilled and starving, and my mom always had a warm dinner waiting for us. We’d light a fire in the fireplace and watch Scrooge on the couch until my mom and dad would fall asleep, and then my sisters and I would stay up all night sipping beers and giggling, watching Christmas movies until we stumbled off to bed.
But of course, there’s change. And while I know it’s okay for things to be different, sometimes I find myself still grasping at the past, desperately trying to hang on to how things used to be.
This past Thanksgiving my family gathered in Florida to celebrate and I can only describe it as chaotic. I felt pulled in a million directions and the stress made me feel even more sick. I felt disconnected from my family because I couldn’t drink and eat with them, even though this shouldn’t matter at all. All I felt I could do to connect to how things used to be was run. Run down the streets I’ve run for 16 years and feel the merciless Florida sun bear down on me like it always has.
I’m ready for this year to be over. 2017 is going to be a big one, and I’m ready for a reset, even if New Years is just a mental start over. Last week I was lucky enough to meet with a good friend and former colleague over coffee and through chatting, he helped me organize some of my goals for the New Year.
- Start writing my memoir again (at least 4x a week)
- Attend a writer’s conference this summer
- Finish my first ultra marathon
- Run the 57 miles from Penn State to Bucknell in November and raise money for Lyme Disease research and advocacy
Speaking of running/training – it’s going alright. I’ve been feeling kinda sick for the past week or so, so my training is suffering but I’m still getting out there. Lately, I’ve been having a million body/bone aches and it’s not doing any favors to my already arthritic knee. I’m averaging around 24-26 miles a week, and while it might not seem like a lot, I get a lot of quality runs in when it counts. I’m going to try and up the mileage slowly and really get back into consistent cross training to make up the mileage deficient.
In 2017 I’m also considering getting a coach. My run from Penn State to Bucknell is SO important to me and I’ve had success being coached in the past. I’ll do anything to get to the start line.
This past weekend I was in Penn State for Dave’s cousin’s graduation. Saturday morning I found myself running to the track in the ice, so I could get a glimpse at where I’ll start my 57 mile journey in November. It was a chilly morning but I stood and looked at the snow covered track for a few minutes and visualized myself on the start line strong and healthy. My father always told me there’s great power in visualizing success.
So that’s where I am right now. Moving forward slowly but surely, dealing with treatment as best I can. I should only be on my antibiotics for four more weeks and then I’ll continue on with my vast collection of supplements. I don’t want to sound too negative, because I DO have good days. But I can only take it day by day. Lyme is throwing way more curveballs into my training than I expected, and I’m just beginning here. But I’ll adjust and I won’t give up. My heart won’t let me.
Happy Holidays everyone. I’ll see you in the New Year!
© Allison Donaghy 2016 All Rights Reserved