Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015: Inspirations and Goals

It's been a long time since the last post...three months. In that time, I've had some amazing experiences running and with animals that have shaped what I want to focus on in the coming year.

In November, Steve and I drove almost 3000 miles round-trip to Kanab, Utah and the Grand Canyon (north and south rims). It was a wonderful, scenic, and educational trip. Some of the best experiences we had were running trails along the red rocks in Kanab, and hiking the trails at the Grand Canyon.

Squaw Trail, looking at the summit around 8 a.m. Kanab, UT
On Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon South Rim
We were in Kanab specifically to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sancuary. It was amazing. The sanctuary is the largest no-kill sanctuary in the U.S. and it is beautiful. We volunteered the first day at Cat World, and then we each did a shift at Dog Town and Wild Friends. The shift at cat world was incredible, awesome, inspiring, educational... we played with cats in Quincy House, a house that is dedicated to special needs cats, especially those with FIV, FELV, and manx syndrome. Many of the manx syndrome cats have deformed hind legs, or cannot use their hind legs, and/or are incontinent. Needless to say, these are the animals that are euthanized elsewhere. Hence most people (like us!) have no idea. And yet each one has his/her own personality, to be sure!! We played with them and walked them...

In addition to running the trails around Kanab, we ran some of the acreage at Best Friends. Running trails with vistas and hills (ascents that sometimes force one to walk!) was challenging, fun, and took my mind away from the habit-forming chains of time and distance that are so often how I think about my running.

So, for 2015, I have running goals that derive from these western experiences. Some are mental goals; some are physical. As we know, the two are linked... (mens sana in corpore sano)

1. Run more trails.
2. Be okay with getting lost. (See for example, Rebecca Solnit's Field Guide to Getting Lost...)
3. Be mindful. Breathe. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy being. Enjoy the moment. (see earlier blogs on running with the mind of meditation...)
4. Run more trails in Cedar Falls/Waterloo. Especially along the creek to Hudson. Explore.
5. Complete at least three trail races in the midwest: Mines of Spain (8/8), Surly Loppet (9/26), and...?
6. Complete a race in the West...preferably in Utah,....preferably a trail race....
7. Continue to practice yoga, pilates, and build general strength.
8. Share it. Expand the community. For others' mental and physical well-being, including animals.

Over the last two years I have benefited enormously from an ever-growing running community (FASTR friends, marathon running friends, trail running advocates...). My running has become much more communal, external, and more rewarding internally for me as a result. I am so very, very grateful for all the support of my friends and family, particularly for your support of the causes I've linked to my running.

Here's to sharing health, mindfulness, and love in 2015!!

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