And then, in a slow, sauntering flash-bang, it was two thousand and thirteen. Damn.

Now what?

I’ve got no plan.  I’m not training for anything.  I’ve got no goals.  I have absolutely nothing specific I want to accomplish.  I don’t even know where this post is going to end up, but it’s starting here.

Last year I focused on my goal of doing the best I can on one race; it cost a lot, it is a Big Deal to many people, and, technically, it was the first race I booked travel to run.  The New York City Marathon.  But, the fates sent Hurricane Sandy instead, so I spent some quality time in the dark with my parents in New Jersey and ran the Sandy Relief Marathon instead.  Be it interrupted training, lack of focus, lack of pacers, or just my own limitations, I fell short of my goals.  Way short.  But I didn’t care.  I cared at the time – I think – but within a week or so I had power back, my wife back, and all my thoughts were focused on the holidays.  Our epic plan was to fly east for the marathon, stay in New Jersey with my parents through Thanksgiving, visit my wife’s parents in New Hampshire through Christmas, and then return to Oregon shortly after New Year’s.  I kept running – actually wearing the bright orange NYC Marathon shirt many days1 – but didn’t have any particular goal.  I just ran what seemed like a nice loop for the day based on how much time I had available.  So now what?

Somewhere in the last couple of weeks of travel I got the e-mail from NYRR indicating that they’d actually recouped enough costs from insurance to offer refunds of entry fees – something that was assumed to be Not An Option2  throughout all of the post-cancellation shenanigans.  I was expecting to be all ‘oh-woe-is-me-what-should-I-do-pray-tell,’ but when the time came to decide between a refund, a spot the 2013 NYC Half or in the 2013, 2014, or 2015’s marathon, I didn’t really hesitate to get the refund3.  Apparently the answer to last year’s “To New York or not to New York” was not to New York.  I still don’t regret the decision.  But now what?

When we got back to Oregon we discovered that our car had apparently leaked while in storage and taken in quite a bit of water.  It wouldn’t start.  There was mold on the seats, dashboard, and console.  And it smelled quite unpleasant.  It’s been over a week and we still don’t have an answer from our insurance company on whether it’s even covered.  And thus, we have no car.  But somehow, I don’t care.  We had no plans for 2013 after “get the rig out of storage, drive to Gold Beach, chill.”  So now the “chill” part is a bit more enforced, but otherwise I’m liking life without a car4.  But . . . now what?

I’ve been contemplating this question since the New Year.  The days of travel (driving NH-NJ, flying EWR-PDX, driving PDX to Gold Beach) forced a few days off from running, so I rolled with it.  Every article you read about rest days being a part of training makes at least cursory mention of the value of taking a week or two every year completely off from running – or any sport for that matter.  So I took my week – give or take a few days and depending on if you count running errands on a bike.  And it’s been really nice.  I was worried I’d get all stir crazy and anxious, but with dealing with the car and the mess that travel (and rescued car contents) dumps in the middle of one’s living room has probably helped.  The RV site with a private hot rub helps too.  But now what?

Today I went for my first run since . . . January 4th.  (I had to check.)  No goal for time or distance – just exploring the area to see what roads are accessible and what roads aren’t.  It was comfortable, relaxing, and . . . freeing?  Not in an escape-the-woes-of-the-world way either – just in an ahhhhh-running kind of way.  There’s a subtle but distinct difference.  (Can you hear that as a happy sigh?)  Nothing is bothering me lately.  I think the most annoying thing is that I feel like I should be planning something5.  Maybe running related.  Maybe not.  Just something.  I guess I’m totally ready for whatever 2013 has in store.  Or maybe I’m not ready at all and something is going to really suck really soon.

So I guess I’ll just keep running.  And rambling.  Because that’s what I do.  Maybe I’ll try to ride my bike as a “workout” more often.  Maybe I’ll try to cross train more6.  But that really doesn’t feel like it’s answering the question.

Show 6 footnotes

  1. I didn’t unpack most of the running gear I brought until a couple of chillier days in NH demanded an extra layer.
  2. If nothing else, NYRR has always had a very clear and succinct “no refund” policy.
  3. Well, I hesitated briefly, because I couldn’t find my wallet to give them a credit card to put the refund on, but that wasn’t so much a decision making hesitation as a OH CRAP WHERE’S MY WALLET hesitation.
  4. Okay, I wouldn’t want to do too many bike rides to the grocery store with a fifty pound rucksack on the return trip, but now that we’re stocked up lighter loads are no worry.
  5. Okay – the insurance guy not calling is getting a little tiring, but … eh.
  6. Facebook’s ad engine seems to think I should be.