Everyone I know seems to be keeping a blog nowadays, or at least providing ample Facebook and Twitter updates to keep the world informed. I’m not sure anyone really cares to know the intimate details of my life via blogging, but for those so inclined, I’ve decided to start a blog. I’ve recently embarked on a new adventure: left my hometown where I’d lived for all 23 years of my life, packed my bags (with lots of help from Mom and Dad, since I own a ridiculous amount of crap…), and moved to the City by the Bay – San Francisco. In the wake of this move and a lot of new beginnings, it seems fitting to document this time in my life. Not quite sure exactly what I’m doing or where I’m headed, but I’m trying to enjoy the moments as they come.
Often I find myself looking earnestly into the future, excited for what awaits me and eager to hit those “adult” milestones in life – marriage, a family, a career. Simultaneously, I’m also yearning nostalgically for “the good old days” of high school, where things were somehow simpler, or college, where being a student-athlete came with special privileges, which included not having to act like a grown-up and face the real world, as well as having a constant support network of family, friends, professors, and coaches to lean on when the going got tough. It’s been a while since I’ve been content just to be, to be present in the present, the here and now, not always looking over my shoulder or gazing off into the future… so one of my goals for myself this year is to be content and happy here and now. I’ve got plenty of time to save the world and have lots of babies, and the times of college shenanigans (from seaweed to shots to sleeping til 12) are things of the past. I’m an adult now and gotta act like it, whether I’m ready to or not. While this whole “real world” thing comes with a lot of responsibility, it also comes with a lot of freedom, and I’m excited to finally be beyond D-Town and truly on my own for the first time in my life. So, here’s to living in the moment and to taking advantage of everything life has to offer me now, today, at 23.
For those not fully up to date, here’s what life at 23 looks like for me: recently graduated from college, moved from a college town to a big city, and put many things on hold (a lifelong dream to live in Washington DC, grad school, living with my long-term boyfriend) in order to pursue a personal aspiration: to compete at the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters. I moved to San Francisco to pursue a professional running career. However, with no Nike contract on the horizon and no training group to join, it hasn’t been the easiest path. Yet I’m determined to be an elite runner, challenges and all - right now I’m trying to take it one day at a time, a lot like “letting the run happen”…
Since I was young I’ve been a runner – from my first 5K in elementary school to my days racing speedily up and down the soccer field, I’ve know that I have a talent for running. It’s in my genes – my dad was a runner, and family members on both sides of my family have shown running talent on the track and over hill and dale. Since I was little I’ve been told that I’m a good runner (something I’m still working on taking to heart). Despite my sometimes insecurities about running, being a runner is deeply ingrained in my personality and is probably the most significant piece of my identity. Sure, I’m a student, a girlfriend, a volunteer, a friend… but when you peel away all those other layers, what you get deep down is a runner. Being a runner is as much a part of me as my name – I think it’s something that will always define me.
Throughout my past 11 years as a runner, I’ve never been completely satisfied with my performance. True, I’ve had moments of greatness and races that I’m extremely proud of, but I don’t think that I’ve yet been able to tap into my deepest potential as an athlete. There’s always been something else going on, a distraction (often self-created) that keeps me from being the best runner I can be. In high school and college, I’d like to think that I was the very best student-athlete I could be – I did a lot of things (academic, athletic, and extracurricular) and did them well. However, I’ve yet to discover how good of an athlete I can be once I remove all of those other components. This year, I hope to learn the answer. As I said, I’m putting many things on hold in order to find out the answer to this deep, burning question. If being a runner wasn’t so ingrained in my being, if being a competitive athlete wasn’t such a big part of who I am, then I’d likely be in Washington DC working in international development, or in Cleveland, Ohio (which is not the armpit of America, contrary to popular belief!) living with my boyfriend as he takes on the challenge of med school. Yet for better or for worse, I’m “Kaitlin the runner,” and I’ve got to answer the question of “how good can I be?” before it’s too late.
I have a love-hate relationship with running. Right now, I’m going through a hate phase with running: pressing “pause” on the rest of my life in order to be an elite runner was not an easy decision. Yet I know that if I don’t give this running thing a shot now, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. I’m truly blessed to have this running gift and I need to embrace it, not fight it. I’ve got a finite window in which to accomplish certain athletic goals. What’s more, I’ve already committed to it – there’s no turning back now. So I’m working hard to adjust to my new life, new routine, new city, new goals. It won’t be easy and I’m sure to stumble (I already did, literally, on my run earlier this week – I’ve got the road rash and scraped knees to prove it!). Therefore, your support, guidance, and life experience is always welcomed! Anyway, thanks for reading and being a part of my new adventure!