A Lot Can Happen In 365 Days

I’ve lived through one year as a post-college graduate. And in that time, a lot of things have happened. So many things have happened, that I most likely can’t remember all those tiny moments that helped shape the year and how I’ve changed in that time. Graduating with a degree in International Studies and a concentration in  Environmental Policy, I really had no idea what I was going to do. I had dabbled in dreams of graduate studies in Urban Planning, lightly considered some fellowship options that would allow me to travel (even if it was within the U.S.), and spent countless hours searching sites with job postings that I didn’t think fit my personality/interests. And, just like many college graduates in recent years, I was feeling pretty uneasy about not knowing what I was going to be doing day-to-day for the next couple of months.

It all began at the coffee shop down the street. For three to four months following graduation, I worked as a receptionist at the alternative health center I’d worked at through college and devoted my remaining free time to scouring job postings from every possible source available. I edited and re-edited my resume while sipping down delicious bottomless cups of coffee at The Jumping Bean Cafe–all while gradually becoming hopeless in my job search. Several months went by and I finally began to get any type of consistent response from a couple companies, 4-5 phone interviews, and 3 in-person interviews for me to land a job in an industry that didn’t quite ‘fit’ with the aspirations I had for my future. I guess you could say I was persistent…and willing to put some larger dreams on hold in order to begin paying off those dreaded student loans. All in all, it took 5 months of dedication to land a job with a company with employees that are relaxed, courteous, responsible, and fun.

I wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool or ease the tension of my job search if it hadn’t been for creating some secondary goals for myself in the interim. In January of last year I decided I wanted to run my first half marathon. Registration for the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon had already closed by the time I made my decision (the race is the largest half marathon in the United States and is notorious for closing out registration 5+ months before race day). Transferring bibs from someone no longer wanting to run the race would be invalid as well. But I was determined and wanted to run the race even if someone else’s name was displayed on the bib I was wearing. I didn’t train terribly hard for the mini marathon–but I don’t think that was the point. I needed a distraction. I ran somewhere between 12-15 miles each week and tried to get ‘serious’ about training but had difficult squeezing in the time to run between working 30 hours a week and going to school full-time (and sometimes having a social life). I was running myself ragged with every endeavor except for actually running, but still wanted to add the mini marathon to my list of accomplishments.

I finished the mini with a solid time of 1:56:xx and a solid, even pace of about 9:00 per mile. I had shocked my system and forced myself to be bit by the running bug. Two weeks ago I PR’d  at the Flying Pig in Cincinnati with a time of 1:46:45 to qualify for Corral D at the Chicago marathon. Post-race, I realized that I was 45 seconds away from Corral C (woohoo!) and have decided to run a second half marathon this year on June 4th. The running bug doesn’t give up easily. Now, a year later I have accomplished much more than I thought I would in a year’s time–whether they be personal, educational, professional, or physical–they all allowed me to grow. Running just happens to be the momentum behind all of the memorable events of the past 365 days.

A brief (and most likely, uncomprehensive) list of 365 days worth of accomplishments and happiness:

  • Ran my first (and second) half marathon
  • Celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday (and counting…)
  • Graduated college
  • Witness my friends become employed, move around the U.S., and fall in love (all while smiling!)
  • Got a precious puppy!
  • Celebrated 3 years with Manny(4th in June!)
  • Got a ‘grown up’ job
  • Learned lots from my twin sister’s travels backpacking around the world
  • Saw my older brother get married!!!
  • Cheered on my brother at the 2010 Chicago Marathon
  • Inspired myself to do the same + add to my stack of running bibs in 2011

Once you look back on the past year, I’m sure there’s more to your own list of accomplishments than you originally thought!

-J

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