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Normally on New Years Eve I am itching to change the calendar over. It’s not a fresh start thing, or a resolutions thing. It’s not so much the addition of new things at all. It’s more like the freshening up of old things.

Every New Year’s Day I set out driving my shiny, efficient, glory bound race car, and then over the year I pick up some tumbleweeds in the chassis, six thousand varieties of insects in the grill, bird crap on the windshield, mildewy leaves in the window seals, clay layered under the wheel wells, and an overall layer of dust as thick as frosting you simply can’t resist sliding a finger across. The car is still running, but by the end of the year I can’t wait to get it serviced, lubed, and detailed.

But this year is different. New Years is happening right now…the ball just dropped in New York in fact. I don’t feel like I need a big freshening up. Not in the usual way. I hardly drove the car in 2013. It’s hard to pick up debris at 15 miles per hour.

For 10 years I had the same job: professional runner. I had the same cyclical pattern of training and competition. The same periods of exhaustion and vitality. But in 2013 everything changed. I left Nike. I joined up with Oiselle. I moved to Bend. Jesse and I had a baby. I got my first writing gig with Runner’s World (The Fast Life). I made new friends. I became a sponge for the things a business owner should know. I flirted with fashion. I helped start a women’s pro running team. I started coaching. I assembled a world class support crew and hit the trails. I raced cross country again. My life is fucking awesome, to be perfectly honest. I don’t need to detail the car.

Exactly one year ago today, I was in a bar called Mutiny Hall in Seattle, WA. Sally Bergesen, Oiselle’s CEO and Founder, was singing a rockabilly duet in a black leather dress with her husband, Alec, and everyone was cheering them on. I had just been announced as part of their team. I was glowing, excited. Jesse was there with me. My close family and friends nearby. The room was packed with friendly strangers and I knew that many of them would soon become friends. My heart felt full to the point of exploding; it was difficult to take a full breath.

Sometimes it feels like the world conspires to bring you to a particular place at a particular moment in time. I felt that way then, and one year later, I still do. A big part of me doesn’t want #Lucky13 to end.

Screenshot 2013-12-31 23.24.49Another part of me is scared for the future. There are things that are going to happen this coming year that weigh on me. My dad, Frank…he is going to die. There will be no bucket list to tackle or last minute trip to feel the ocean on his feet, like in the movies he spent his life building sets for. He will continue to slowly slip away with liver cancer. It might be too big to imagine or fully feel right now, but I know I will have to feel it. All of it.

There’s not much more to say other than I’m so grateful for my life. All of it. There are things coming that will be hard; things coming that will be beautiful; opportunities that will escape my butterfly net no matter how hard I chase, and others that will chase me. And like every other year, there will be things that happen that my wildest imagination could never invent, and that’s what keeps me turning the pages. Life isn’t perfect, but things don’t need to be perfect to be cherished.

From my family to yours, Happy New Year.

-Lauren

Special thanks to my family and friends and support crew for helping me with so many things. To our community back in Eugene for giving us such a great send off and continued support. To Jesse for being my hero. To Dr. Vroniak, Gina, and Tabitha for safely delivering Jude into the world. To my teammates for making running exciting again. To Runner’s World for employing me for something besides just fast times. To Picky Bars for connecting me to so many interesting people by way of their stomachs. And to my sponsors: Oiselle, 110% Compression, ElliptiGo, and REP Rebound, my deepest thanks for standing beside me this year. Finally, to my homeboys and readers at ALF, thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, and saying hello when our paths cross. I’ll do my best to keep the stories coming. Your fan cards are letter pressed, hand stamped, and coming your way in January. Thanks for being patient while I got my act together!

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