I’m not going to shy away from it; I’ve had an absolutely horrible week.
It started with me getting a ridiculously horrible flu that knocked me flat on my ass for three days. And that was the good part. Just as I was starting to get back on the mend, the universe sucker-punched me right in the gut. Friday night I lost my little girl Austen:
She was 18 years old, which made her about 90 in human years. An old girl, maybe, but no one ever told her that. She was spritely, active, alert, fussy, adorable, and so very young at heart. Her death was sudden and totally unexpected and my universe kind of collapsed into itself for a few days. I want to blog about it at some point, maybe, but for now that’s all I can muster.
So I did what’s best in times when you find yourself totally heartbroken and grief-stricken: you celebrate life as best you can. So I threw myself deep into my 2015 On The Run video. I made one last year and loved the experience of it. The video wasn’t about my own accomplishments, but about all the amazing people who joined me on my journey and who also shared their journeys with me. And this wasn’t just the amazing running community, but also friends and family who were there to support me, as well as people like all of you reading Hokeyblog who gave my ridiculous voice a willing audience.
Thanks guys. I’ll be your wingman any day.
Making this video helped heal my grief, and in no small measure either. Call it cliche or maudlin or whatever you want, but life snowballs on and on and, as we roll along with with it, it’s the happy memories and the warmth from our loved ones that sustain and carry us through. And I had plenty of happiness this year to go along with some major sadness, but overall life is still freakin’ totally magical. There’s always enchantment to be found somewhere.
So racing this year had so many new and fun things. Doing a triathlon was a first, as well as a swim competition (ranked 3rd out of 11 in my age category, thank YOU). I also amped up the Full Marathons, completing six this year (as opposed to only one in 2014 and one in 2013), and finally managing to pull one in under 5 hours at Space Coast (4:52:24).
Running in Alaska was magnificent for the scenery and serenity alone. Running in Chicago was amazing for the sheer epic size of the event, and how an entire major American metropolis seemed to come out and cheer us on. Wings For Life was even better this year than last year, and I still can’t seem to catch a break at Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
I ran in costume three times: at the Disneyland 5K (as Anger from Inside Out), at Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K (as a Christmas-y Donald Duck), and at the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon (as Big Red Running Hood). Although to be honest, I only really ran the last one of the three.
I didn’t manage to break my Half Marathon PR from November 2014, but TWICE I came within seconds of doing so: at Best Damn Race Orlando and at Michelob Ultra Fort Lauderdale 13.1.
And who would have thought that the previously never-liked Lifetime Miami Marathon would end up being one of my favorite running events of all time? Unheard of!
My hashtag for next year will be #RunWithAusten. For anyone who needs healing in their heart, or for anyone who wants to celebrate life and all its joy, Austen and I will eagerly run with you in spirit and solidarity. She’s a good kid that way, and I’m following her lead.
2015 was a great year to run, swim, bike, and stay fit, healthy, and active with my friends and extended family. I’m an extremely lucky guy. That’s one trait in life I will never, ever take for granted. Here’s my tribute, set to the timeless music of John Coltrane covering Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” from 1961:
Here’s the final list of my race schedule for 2015, with links to their respective reviews (if applicable):
Run Through Central Park (2/8/2015) — Personal Record! (26:14)
Women In Distress SAFEWALK-RUN 5K (2/21/2015)
Disneyland 5K (9/4/2015)
Tunnel 2 Towers 5K (9/13/2015)
Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K (11/7/2015)
Zoo Run 5K (11/14/2015)
Disneyland 10K (9/5/2015) — Personal Record! (57:46)
Walt Disney World Half Marathon (1/10/2015)
Best Damn Race Orlando (2/28/2015)
First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon (3/15/2015)
Disneyland Half Marathon (9/6/2015)
Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon (10/24/2015)
Michelob Ultra Ft. Lauderdale 13.1 (11/15/2015)
Walt Disney World Marathon (1/11/2015)
Lifetime Miami Marathon (1/25/2015)
Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon (2/15/2015)
Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon (6/20/2015)
Bank Of America Chicago Marathon (10/11/2015)
Space Coast Marathon (11/29/2015) — Personal Record! (4:52:24)
Swim Miami [800m] (4/19/2015)
Egg Hunt Triathlon [sprint] (4/4/2015)