Going (Way) Off The Beaten Path

IMG_6076Running. For the past four years, nearly every aspect of my life revolved around running. My job at Runner’s World magazine meant 40+ hours a week of writing, reading, tweeting, and talking about running. My friends? All runners. When I wasn’t at work, chances were good that I was running or recovering from a run.

Was a life consumed by running a bad thing? Heck no. Most of it was amazing.

But here’s the catch. That lifestyle—one that might seem idealistic for most, one that I once dreamt of living—slowly began to unravel. In part, I realized that in some ways, aspects of the gig at RW (and the publishing world, in general) simply didn’t fit my personality. To fall back on a cliche, many days it felt like I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. (I’ll save you the gritty details.) It wasn’t helping that the industry has been crashing harder than marathoners at mile 20. (Again, I’ll save you a few thousand words worth of venting on that subject.)

After more than a year of trying to fit said square peg into the round hole, I began considering other options. I wanted to do something meaningful, something worthwhile, something that makes an impact on others, something stable and that allows me to live anywhere, and maybe most importantly, something different.

Late last year, my thoughts began to shift away from all things running to thinking long and hard about going back to school to become a Registered Nurse. (Side note: My boyfriend is an incredible RN at a local ER. Needless to say, he’s pretty darn inspiring.) I knew that meant taking on a year’s worth of prerequisite classes followed by another year-and-a-half of nursing school, not to mention more student loans and putting full-time work on hold for three years.

Yikes.

But deep down, that wildly different path felt like the right one. Terrifying? Uhh, yeah! Exciting? Absolutely.

The decision was underscored by the fact that my position at RW was unexpectedly eliminated in January. Yes, the news stung, mostly because I knew I would miss seeing (and running with) the crew that had become my second family every day. But it didn’t take long for me to realize the drastic change of pace would be a blessing in disguise.

After two months, I’ve settled into a wholly different kind of normal. And with a new goal of becoming an RN clearly in focus—even though its finish line is nearly three years away—I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My days are spent taking classes (to my surprise, I’m actually enjoying learning, in the formal sense, again!), working a part-time gig, and doing some freelance work.

I’m still running. I doubt that part of me will ever change. It keeps me sane. But these days, I’m doing it 100% on my own terms. No pressure. I run when I want, the distance determined by my mood and/or motivation level for any given day. I don’t beat myself up if I haven’t logged what I’d usually consider an “acceptable” amount of miles each week. I’ve also started weight-lifting again. Yes, this girl can finally do more than two push ups for once.

I also haven’t toed a starting line since the New York City Marathon in November. And I don’t have any plans to run a race, much less put effort into earnestly training for one, any time soon. Having absolutely nothing on my calendar has been freeing, especially after running competitively for years and then making the brilliant decision to cram 10 marathons into three years. I’m patiently waiting for the inspiration to sign up for a race to come along. I don’t care how long it takes.

(Oh, and did I mention how stoked I was to get the May issue of RW in the mail and read it cover to cover with fresh eyes?)

So where does all this leave me? Well, now that I’m not writing on the reg, I want to officially brush off the layers of dust that have accumulated on this blog over the past two years and start writing here again. I can’t say what I’ll write about or how often I’ll post. But I’m craving a return to this outlet, nonetheless.

Anybody game to follow me on this new journey (way) off the beaten path?

 

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Meg!

    I love your fresh perspective and your outlook on running,
    becoming a nurse, and life as a whole. I have been having a hard time getting back into running after taking 7 months off. I have a few (easier) races on my calendar, but I don’t have the courage to get out and do a few miles. I really need to just do it for fun!

    From someone who has thought long and hard about becoming a nurse, I am envious of your decision and your plan to achieve it. You go girl! I’m excited to read about your journey along the way.

    xoxo,
    Victoria

    Reply

    1. Aww thank you! For both running and the nursing thing, this sounds silly, but set a “deadline” for yourself to finally start. I started considering the nursing thing in October-ish, gave myself till the end of the year to really think about it and decide, and then just went for it. It feels so much better once you get over the hump and start doing things about it, if that makes sense. Baby steps! =D You got this!

      Reply

  2. Congrats! What a whirlwind you’ve been through. Isn’t it funny how things that seem really hard and upsetting often are a blessing in disguise and lead to even better, more amazing things? I can only imagine how awesome the past four years have been and how amazing the next four will be. Looking forward to reading about your journey.
    P.S. I haven’t trained for a goal race since Chicago 2014. I ran a few halfs last year but I found myself needing to focus on other priorities (ahem starting a family) instead of hard core training. I’ve been running for fun ever since, but I’m dying to train hard again. The break is freeing and awesome, but there definitely comes a time to crave the hard work again. I hope you enjoy the time off 🙂 Wishing you lots of success on the road ahead to becoming an RN. xo

    Reply

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