Little Victories

Today I ran the Portland Shamrock Run. It was a huge race, over 15,000 people from 46 states and 19 countries. I usually avoid big races like this; they’re loud and frenetic and impersonal. But since I’m new to this city I thought I’d give this one a go.

I’d signed up for the 15k (9.3 miles). At the last minute, I paused and asked myself “Do you feel like going long today, or do you feel like going fast?” I felt like going fast. So I went to the tent and changed my race to the 8k (5 miles), a distance I’ve never raced before, even though it meant freezing my ass off in the drizzle for another hour before the 8k start.

I did the 8k. I finished 4th out of 80 women in my age group. 133rd out of 1340 total women, and 344th overall out of 2,220 runners in the 8k event. That’s top 5% in age group, top 10% in women, and top 15% out of all runners. I’m super happy (and surprised) with that finish. It’s also the fastest pace I’ve ever done in a running race (8:41/mile).

The reason that I’m sharing this information with you, Ghost, and all of my little successes, is not to brag. It’s not intended to be a perfect instagram post from someone who’s got it all together. On the contrary, I share this achievement because it’s so rare for me these days.

Fourteen months ago, my 24-year relationship ended. It ended amicably, but I lost my best friend and the person who knew me best in the world. I sold a home I was proud to own. In the split, I lost a cat I loved very much. I moved 1500 miles away from a place I called home for half my life, a job I loved with wonderful coworkers, and some very close friends.

All of it had to happen, but it wrecked me a bit. I’m still shocked at how profoundly affected I was by the change, and I’m still pretty wrecked. The events of the last 14 months have fundamentally altered me, and I feel like my perception is still skewed. I have a hard time concentrating. I know I’m not doing my best at most things these days.

The thing that keeps me sane is physical activity, whether it’s biking, BMX, running, barre classes, or throwing around some weights at home. Being active is my lifeline. It’s a constant, something I can always count on to improve my outlook and give me a small sense of accomplishment.

For anyone else who’s struggling to keep afloat right now, I feel you. Take pride in even your smallest accomplishments, even if it’s just getting out of bed in the morning. I’m proud of you, and I relate. Don’t compare your problems to anyone else’s. If I did that, I would feel constant guilt because mine seem so small. Everyone’s pain is valid, and relative, and subjective. Share your little victories with the world.

Give yourself love and patience. We’re going to be OK.

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