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Steve Wagner / Forum Communications Co., Published December 18 2011

Wagner: For runners, next year is always about improvement


Looking back at 2011, it’s been a pretty phenomenal year.

It’s hard to believe that I packed so many memorable events into the past 12 months: Two Ragnar Relays, including one from Miami to the Florida Keys, a marathon on Super Bowl Sunday in the sunny seaside beach town of Huntington Beach, Calif., three regional marathons (Fargo, Minneapolis and Grandma’s in Duluth) within 29 days, legendary Oregon trails in Eugene and Portland, desert trail races in Arizona and discovering routes and paths in my new hometown.

Yes, as a runner, it’s been a year packed full of highlights, leaving me humbled and grateful to have enjoyed each of them.

Each of these experiences was notable for different reasons. In between, I trained alongside some terrific people, accomplished runners and those exuding passion for the sport.

While the events are the memory markers on my journey, the best part was sharing it with people who had their own goals and dreams, listening to what they accomplished or wanted to tackle, and being a small part of their personal journey.

Over the past few weeks, though, there’s been one recurring thought: How do I top 2011? It even prompted me to question whether there’s a need to do something in an attempt to make 2012 more memorable. It seems like a pretty tall order.

But I don’t like being static. While I see myself running Grandma’s Marathon every year, as long as I’m capable, I don’t want to do the same thing each year.

Personally, I don’t like stagnant ideas or training plans. I like change and the challenge of adapting to it. My nature is to up the ante and do more, do better, do something different.

And that leaves me stumped about 2012, especially after this year.

My thoughts start leaning toward making another attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon as twice I’ve missed the standard by about three minutes. Would that be satisfaction enough in 2012?

As runners, we often are looking for ways to improve and push ourselves, bust through personal barriers, to walk away feeling accomplished by our efforts.

In 2012, I feel the need to do something special or unique. But I don’t exactly know what it looks like yet. But I can guarantee my personal motto, and running mantra, will sound different in the year to come.

Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@bemidjipioneer.com