A year of running. 1849.29 miles in 296:06:32. Average pace = 9:36 minute mile. I beat last year’s distance by 38 miles and bested my average pace was 8 seconds per mile.

Still, I worry that the fastest miles may be behind me. I’m not sure. Right now I’m running slightly slower than the year’s average pace and wonder if I’m gradually aging out of my era of frequent PRs. The only way to know for sure, though, is to work like a demon to see how much more is in there. Strength training, focus on efficiency, more speed work – and most of all, more mental toughness.

“It’s supposed to be hard.” That’s the mantra that gets me up tough hills and fast intervals. “It’s supposed to be hard.”

Sometimes that works. Sometimes it’s just the joy of watching the first rays of light spilling across a dark morning sky, catching the red-tailed hawk in flight. That stuff.

Most of all, though, when I think back to this year, I will be grateful. For the joy of running in Central Park and for so many things: my truly wonderful job and my smart, talented, convivial colleagues at Mercer; Harley, my training partner, who has seen me through ups and downs, fast finishes like my 4-minute PR at the NYC Half last March and  maddeningly slow ones, like my disastrous NY Marathon; my friends and neighbors; my nephews and the rest of my crazy family – with all its strange transformations; and my Buddhist practice, which never fails me and constantly reminds me to appreciate every nanosecond of life.

And despite anything I said above, I’m still hoping to shave more of those nanoseconds off my best times. I’d rather spend them on the far side of many finish lines to come.

252690_188337251_XLargeHappy New Year everyone!