I love holiday traditions! It's a tradition in the Shafer house to set up our tree and reflect back on the last few years as we decorate it with our race medals. Hard to believe that I only ran my first half-marathon just 7 years ago, but my racing achievements are all laid out here alongside John's: My first marathon medal from the venerable Marine Corps Marathon hangs in a prominent place, as do a handful of medals from the Baltimore Running Festival. There's the second place medal that John and I won together for the MAC team relay (it was all John--I just had to not break anything and we were assured to place). There's John's medal from the 2013 Boston Marathon, a race that history won't soon forget.
One of the most beautiful medals John and I both claimed is from a miserable marathon in Dallas in early December 2011. We trained long past the fall time change, making for many lousy, dark and cold training runs. We anticipated perfect running temps and great crowd support. However, months of Texas drought had come to a dramatic conclusion in the week preceding the race, with massive downpours and record low temps. My shoes and socks were completely soaked within the first quarter mile, and I ran with a trash bag over me until mile 24. But I'll never forget the kindness of the volunteers--the fresh Kleenex a volunteer handed me around mile 18 stands out as one of the greatest charitable acts I've ever been party to. I can still hear the lone guy cheering at around mile 22, who shouted out "I see you trash bag!" and gave me the oomph I needed to finish that awful race. John also first qualified for Boston in this race, making it extra special.
Then there are the special medals from this year, where I ran my first--and then second--50K trail race, and unbelievably, my first 50-miler, the JFK.
John and I are so much stronger and more powerful today than we were 7 years ago, due in no small part to consistent training and on-point nutrition. I can't wait to see what 2016 holds for us, and for my clients, who are working hard to make the next year their healthiest yet.
I hope you're enjoying your own special holiday traditions, taking time to reflect on where you've been and getting excited about what's next!