I have officially moved out of my flat. It was slightly traumatic – emotionally as well as physically (I have SO much stuff) – but I can finally say that I’ve taken my first actual step in enacting a chain of upcoming changes in my life. It’s very unsettling – but equally thrilling to be taking ACTION at last, after talking about these things for so long.

Aside from saying goodbye to my flatmates and thinking back to a variety of experiences – both good and bad – that have happened in that little space that I’ve called home over the years, taking down my “race wall” was a particularly poignant moment for me. I couldn’t bring myself to do it until ten minutes before handing in my keys and heading out the door. Bare walls always make me feel sad, and that compilation of race bibs, medals, photos and other related memorabilia – essentially, my shrine to running – was a very special, deeply personal part of my room. It celebrated my past accomplishments while also symbolizing what I dream of achieving in the future. As E often reminded me, especially in difficult times, that wall wasn’t just about racing – it was about me and what I’m capable of achieving when I want something that badly. Every time I looked at all those numbers, which faced me as I sat in bed, I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of pride. And hope.

I thought it would be appropriate to disassemble my race wall after completing my Sunday morning run, which happened to be a 4.2M interval session. I was feeling strong and pain free – a treasured moment in the midst of my recent injury frustrations – when I finally approached the wall with a folder to carry its broken-down components. One by one, I removed each medal and corresponding number as I remembered the day – how I felt, the weather, the course, my goal, what I achieved, my race companion(s), the post-race meal…and then placed them in a pile with the others. I saved my three most significant races for last – the Royal Parks Half Marathon (October 2009), which was my first half marathon (and still, my fastest) as well as the start of my love of distance running; the Paris Marathon (April 2010), which although not quite a pleasant memory in itself, is still a cherished one as it was my first 26.2 miler and a real battle to the finish; and the ING NY Marathon (November 2010), which I trained my heart out to run and stands out both in terms of athletic performance and overall experience.

These meaningful bits of paper, metal and ribbon are now safely tucked away into the frighteningly huge mountain of STUFF that has taken over E’s flat and does not have a planned route back to the US – yet. Actually, between that, marathon training (I have less than eight weeks left to train, and the longest run I’ve done in recent memory is yesterday’s steady run of 4.5 miles) and applying to programs/studying to become an R.D., I’m pretty much surrounded by mountains right now!

Thankfully, I’m a runner. And what does a runner do when a mountain obstructs her path? Just look at (part of) my race wall for the answer – she attacks it!