Over years that followed that race, the rage-fueled runs peaked and valleyed and I clung to any type of artificial adrenaline pumping I could find. Please read: angry music. I did not enjoy the running, but was in a way addicted to the anger and animosity; kind of like the gas tank of a car, I kept picking up more angst to keep me going. I thought of myself as a positive person; but in hindsight, there was no peace for positivity to settle in -- not while I was filling up my tank with aggression anyway.
The crazy thing about that time of my life is that I thought I was working hard, and I was, to a degree. I did increase my endurance and conquered distances that I had previously thought impossible (when I started running at 18, I couldn't run the distance between two suburban driveways without a walk break), but I relied so much on the outside motivation that I sold myself out in way. Just before I got injured, as I began working to increase my speed, I noticed how reliant I was on the music, how quick I was to ease off of a hard workout, and how the sound of my own heavy breathing brought on a walk-break-required anxiety attack.
I learned a lot about life and running while I waited for and recovered from surgery. I learned about pushing myself gently, about not giving in when things are tough, and about not shying away from my own inherent greatness. I learned about using serenity and acceptance, instead of hostility and defiance, to move forward. So far, I've carried these lessons with me in life and back into my runs. I'm building my endurance base and will officially start training in the next couple of weeks for my 4th half-marathon. I'm faster, stronger, and more at peace.
My resolution is the same this year as it was last, and probably will be again next year also: to leave the year better than it found me. I was successful last year and plan on succeeding again and again, mostly because to live is to grow. Just as equally (and maybe more), to grow is to truly live.