Albuquerque · New Mexico · Running


I’ve lived in Albuquerque for seven years now.

Funny how life can take our expectations and just shake them senseless before handing them back to us.

I never intended to live here this long. I was thinking…maybe…four years. When I was ready to leave Florida, my brother suggested Albuquerque as a place where I could figure out what I wanted to do next. In my head, I billed it as Shannon’s Western Adventure! I expected that I would hang out in the desert, work a quirky job for a little while, then move on, or maybe head back East.


Instead, I’m still here, in the same apartment where I unloaded my worldly possessions back in 2007. Yes, I admit to feeling a frustrating stagnation occasionally, but I certainly don’t think it’s geography-related. In the past seven years I’ve come to love things like Balloon Fiesta, green chile, the sunsets and the foothills. I’ve even begun to accept the wind.

I’m still working the job that I landed a couple of months after moving here. Do I see myself spending the rest of my professional life there? NO. Are there days when I want to pretend my computer is a discus? Yup. But I’m not ready to leave quite yet. I’ve worked, and continue to work, with some of the best people I’ve ever met, and the job is teaching me unarguably useful skills. Skills like patience. And dealing with cranky customers. And choosing my battles. Priceless, all of them.

I did expect that I would still be running, but I did not expect that I would have trained for six marathons out here. I most definitely did not expect that after training for those six marathons, I would PR in none of them [altitude training, my fanny!]. Disappointing? Sure. But my love for running has grown stronger, and my approach to it has — or so I like to think — gotten smarter. In Albuquerque, I’ve begun to learn there’s more to running than PRs and proving “toughness.” There’s meeting other members of the running community, appreciating the scenery, and realizing that acting “tough” usually leads to injury, which leads to gazing wistfully at other runners traipsing around the trails. I’ve learned that much better than “toughness” is longevity. And as I continually adjust and re-adjust my expectations for my next marathon, let me tell you, that is one comforting thought.

Romance-wise, I admit to being one of those women who thought she would be married by the age of 30. I don’t know if I expected to meet Mr. Right in Albuquerque or not, but once 30 came and went with no ring on my left hand, I re-set my expectations. I did my best to swallow all the “it will happen when the time is right” stuff, and made the motions of getting on with my life. Lo and behold, I met Robin Hood last spring…and my new expectations? Well, it’s hard to say when he keeps exceeding them. Sheesh. Men.

What becomes of our expectations usually has us scratching our heads — sometimes, laughing out loud. People say “let go of expectations.” I say don’t let go of them. I say let them go. Set them free, because they might come back and give you more than you ever imagined.


5 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. A great post. My husband and I met in Albuquerque and we are now living in Florida. After 5 years, we’re moving back to Colorado. It’s a difficult move, but I know many exciting adventures await. And I’m counting on the altitude training!

  2. Oh how I miss New Mexico (Albq, Los Lunas). . . and the wind. My goodness the wind. As Juan de On~ate described it, “cuatro meses de invierno, ocho meses de infierno” 🙂 I’m actually watching Conroy Chino’s “Surviving Columbus” video right now–the pueblo (Acoma mostly) perspective of history from pre-Spanish to the most recent days. The Matachines at San Juan are dancing on my screen as I type this 🙂

    ENJOY! New Mexico, the land of entrapment.

    A dozen years of pure joy.

  3. I totally can relate! I was planning on coming here for 6 weeks and I’ll be here 7 YEARS in July. Land of Entrapment much? I also told myself I would never meet anyone in the desert. Look at me now, World. Look at me now. Life is definitely an exciting journey.

  4. Love this post – I expected to be unmarried and 35 and buying a condo for cash, but instead I am approaching 48 with a wonderful wife of almost 22 years and two great teenage boys, living someplace (Corning NY) I hadn’t heard of but that has become a wonderful home. Expectations, like you say.

    As for running – I am approaching 25 years running. So LONGEVITY is a HUGE thing for me … I was pushing my training hard last year and was starting to get concerned that I would end up hurt, so I took a more gradual approach – longevity as a runner is more important than anything else.

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