The Best Year Ever

By Anna Mitchael

Or something like that

Well, it’s January, and that means it’s time to talk resolutions. How is 2016 going to be the best year ever? Will getting our closets organized make us better people? Are our Fitbits counting steps down the road less traveled? Live clean! Eat green!

Is it cheating if I use my resolutions from last year?

Before we dive into this super-fresh subject that I’m sure you’re not tired of at all, I would like to briefly revisit a topic from the recent past. Return readers might remember Andrew and I were scheduled to run a half marathon in December. And I have good news to report: The race is over!

The so-so news? There was rain. There was a moment — in my defense, I hadn’t had coffee yet — when I looked from the window of our hotel room to the cold, wet Dallas morning and got back under the covers, wearing my sneakers.

Also on my way to the starting line, I had a narrow miss with flying mucous after a runner held down one nostril and then blew like a hurricane out the other.

But like I said, the mucous missed me. And I was assured by multiple people that “lots of runners do that.” (Kids, don’t try it at home! Only runners can blow snot on strangers!)

Otherwise, all was merry and bright. Or as merry as a sport that rips the toenails off your feet can be.

The usual suspects were in the starting “corrals,” all of us stomping hooves and sniffing out the competition. Slightly uncivilized behavior, I know, but since race organizers insist on labeling the staging areas so that the runners are compared to animals, the least we can do is deliver on expectations.

Because I am a middle-of-the-pack runner, I use “corral” time to move toward people I guess to be about my speed. Using my powers of human deduction that apparently have not evolved much since junior high, I look around, I make sweeping judgments about people based on two-second evaluations, and then I beeline for the group who looks most like me. Too much nervous energy. Awkwardly bouncing to release energy. And wearing at least one piece of flare.

Running flare, in case you don’t know — in case you are smart enough to spend winter weekend mornings with unlimited coffee and a heater — is the sassy bit of costume that screams who you are to anyone who sees you midrace.

More importantly, should you become exhausted and delirious and forget who you are midrace, you can look down at your flare and remember, “Oh, yes! I am someone girly and chipper!” For the woman who runs in tutus, obviously. Or not obviously, if it’s a Goth tutu.

In the corrals of our recent race I positioned myself in the middle of one Goth tutu, a pair of candy cane antlers and a ninja turtle shell wearer. I, myself, was wearing Texas flag running shorts, either proclaiming, “This land is my land!” or “Fashion victim!” depending on your politics.

Of course, when we started running, it was same as it ever was; none of it mattered. The turtle clearly had Kenyan blood and left us all in the dust. The antlers fell back and may have belonged to a walker, for all I know. Then around mile 3 the Goth tutu stopped running to help a no-flare stranger out of a puddle. It was almost as if all my judgments were wrong. That even after all these years of sizing up people in an instant, I’m still bad at it and maybe should give it up altogether.

Oh, and look! We’re at the end. Out of time to talk through a resolution that might actually make a difference in 2016. Unless we already did?

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