Out There: New Year’s Celebration

Let January 1 be a celebration – of a new year, new runners, and the fresh new energy they bring to our community.

A few weeks ago, I spotted a tweet that wrinkled my brow:

“December just started and I’m already annoyed thinking about the New Year’s dickheads clogging up the gym in January.”

My reply:

“Ever think they’d stick around past January if people didn’t call them dickheads?”

For many of us, January 1, 2014 will be just another day. We’ll wake up, put on our running shoes, and hammer out a few miles. We’ll eat a healthy breakfast. We may peruse a race website or two, or schedule a group run with friends for the weekend. This lifestyle comes naturally to us. It’s what we do.

But for thousands of people, January 1 is more than a box on a calendar. It’s That Day, as in That Day I quit smoking, or That Day I walked three miles without stopping. It’s That Day I made my first vegan meal, That Day I signed up for a gym membership, or That Day I faced my fears.

For many, January 1, 2014 will be That Day I became a runner.

Many days will soon follow for these new runners – days where they experience a runner’s high; days where they hit a wall and question why they run; days where they surprise themselves with new achievements.

They’ll have days to purchase new shoes from your local running store. They’ll have days to join the track workout at the high school and to volunteer at races, handing you a cup of water at Mile 10. They’ll have days to take your advice about nutrition and days to share an amazing new trail you had never heard of before.

There will be days when they set PRs. There will be days when they fall heartbreakingly short of a goal. And there will be days when, in spite of it all, they’ll put the shoes on and try again. That Day will become a lifestyle, just like it has for so many of us.

Or maybe it won’t.

Maybe they’ll have That Day that cancels out every bit of hope and optimism they felt on January 1:

That Day someone called me a dickhead for no reason.

That Day I didn’t belong.

That Day I was too embarrassed to go back to the gym.

That Day I gave up.

Is it really worth it to be the person behind That Day, all because you couldn’t wait an extra five minutes for an open treadmill at the gym?

Lest you think I’m on some sort of self-made pedestal, I fully admit I’ve been that person. At the beginning of 2013, I shared my story of The Resolutioners – a horrid gaffe I made in the early days of the new year at my gym. I didn’t call anyone a “dickhead,” but I might as well have. The lesson I learned from that experience stuck with me all year.

Which is why, when I wake up on January 1, 2014, I won’t treat it like “just another day.” It’s going to be a celebration – of a new year, new runners, and the fresh new energy they bring to our community.

That’s right: January 1 is going to be That Day!


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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