If you would have asked me a couple of weeks ago what my spring training and race plan looked like, I would have told you that it looked like training heavily, in preparation to return to Nashville for the St. Jude’s Country Music Marathon, this time to run the half marathon. I would have told you that this was exactly what I needed to do for me, for my running, for my season, for my support of the race series, and most of all, for the nostalgic, sentimental part of me that longed to return and celebrate the one year anniversary of my first ever full marathon, alongside friends I love and miss. I would have told you I was sure about all of this.
The problem with this response is that my answer was all about “me,” and not at all about “we.”
At various points of my life, I’ve felt like I was the most independent person I knew (and this very well might have been true). I’ve proved to myself I can do anything alone.
For years, I’ve strategically worn my independent spirit as a strength. Deep down, in a lot of ways, my tenacious efforts to be as independent as possible, have underneath the surface, always been a defense mechanism of sorts. They have always been tied to a resistance within my heart. A resistance toward being completely vulnerable with anyone—until Andrew.
Andrew has shown me that although I am totally capable of existing as a “me,” there’s something incredible about choosing to sacrifice a part of your own self-interest to exist as a “we,” when it is loud and clear that someone else was made for you. In the case of Andrew, it’s been loud and clear from day one, even when I wasn’t ready to hear it.
Last year while I ran the full marathon, Andrew tracked me every single step of my run—all five hours. He shipped me popsicles and an art piece in the form of a card as a congratulatory treat for after the race. He wasn’t even my boyfriend at that point, yet he was already believing in my every step.
When the topic of this year’s Pensacola Double Bridge Run originally came up in conversation, I assumed the race was either the same weekend as the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (just like it was last year), or pretty close. Regardless, I went ahead and wrote it off as a “no go” for me, that is, until I found out that it was set to take place two weeks after the NOLA Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, and that my mom was planning to run it.
After these realizations, I was sold. I had no desire to race it. Instead, I decided that more than anything else, I wanted to run it with my mom and pace her. I couldn’t miss this opportunity. And so, I took a quick weekend trip home to do just that. It was everything I could have hoped it would be—and so much more.
Fun Fact: My running story dates back to the stroller. I then eased into running on my own two feet by participating in one-mile fun runs. This photo above is of my mom holding my hand and helping me along during a fun run. I was about four years old, and she was in her early 40s. Until the Double Bridge Run, the longest race my mom and I had ever run together is a 5K. Continue Reading…
A week ago Sunday I was running down the streets of New Orleans with thousands of fellow runners. It was my third time participating in the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.
These 13.1 miles took me through downtown, along St. Charles and back, through the French Quarter and toward City Park. I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:04:09, soaked in a mixture of ice cold water, salt, and sweat.
Before offering a play by play of the race, I feel I must first acknowledge the moments leading up to the start line, and the love that supported me along the way.
This photo was taken Friday night at the expo. Stopping by the expo just before it closed on night one, rather than waiting until Saturday, meant we were able to walk through and see everything without the crowd, and take our time being silly.
Last week I found myself up against a creative wall, riding waves of self-doubt, and needing much more positive affirmation than usual. I caught myself asking Andrew for feedback countless times, and spent an equal amount of time picking up the phone to call my mom for her words of wisdom. Rather than an “I can” attitude, “Can I?” was a question that played on repeat in my head. I felt far more inadequate than I did renewed.
The thing about opportunity finding its way onto your lap, is that no matter how wonderful it is, it often takes much more energy than we can possibly predict. For the entirety of last week, I spent the bulk of my waking hours glued to the computer screen, pouring my energy into new projects, on top of those already existing.
Despite my enthusiasm about the projects that have come my way lately, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that this particular week was supposed to be a big running week for me. While struggling to focus on the work in front of me, I found myself daydreaming about the PR (personal record) I had hoped to achieve at the rapidly approaching New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, while feeling as though I was watching it drift out of reach.
In the evening hours, I had high hopes of switching gears to do “me” writing, some yoga, reading ,or maybe even finally unpacking from my holiday trip. Instead, I sat glued to the TV, watching episodes of “Cutthroat Kitchen.” My brain was all but mush.
Aside from an afternoon out and about on assignment, I rocked the same black on black attire the majority of the week, and barely left the house.
Something Andrew and I have discussed at length lately, is the fact that we human beings tend to only showcase the high points in our lives, not the ups, downs and everything in between. Intentionally or not, we show the parts of ourselves we are proud of and comfortable with, and much of the rest goes unseen.
While running along the St. Augustine bayfront yesterday afternoon, I took some time to reflect upon the changing of seasons, and the beginning of another year. I must say, I have a bit of a problem with the whole “New Year, New You” mentality. Whenever I see this phrase [over]used as a headline, I can’t help but sigh. I have to ask, what does it even mean? While I appreciate the encouragement to be a better version of myself than last year, I think holding ourselves to a good, better and best ranking system urges us to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves.
Although I will continue to strive to make positive changes, learn from my experiences, invite healing into my life, and let go of mental roadblocks holding me back, I’m not sure I will ever be the best version of myself. And I’m not sure I want to be either. After I’m the best me, then what? Sounds like even more self-induced pressure.
A 5:30 a.m. wake up call. Coffee in the dark. Watching the sun slowly rise up to greet the day. Nervous energy boxed up, ready to be released. National Anthem blaring. Hands over hearts. Feet inching closer and closer to the start line. Bending down and checking your laces one last time.
The rush that envelops your entire body as you take off, step by step.
These are feelings each runner gets to know all over again, at every single start line.
These are feelings I will never grow tired of.
This time last week, I was “Revving up to Race in the Ancient City,” and eagerly awaiting my mom’s arrival in St. Augustine.
Though the St. Augustine Half Marathon Weekend has come and gone, it’s now time to relive the details and document them while they remain fresh. Recognizing it’s impossible to capture each and every moment, here’s my attempt at recapping this bright and beautiful, mother-daughter race weekend.
Well, it has been many moons since I signed up to run the St. Augustine Half Marathon. And now, it’s here! I can’t even believe it.
Just as the sun is rising Sunday morning, I will be lining up at the start line at fort Castillo De San Marcos in downtown St. Augustine.
The St. Augustine Half Marathon will be my first race since the Nashville Country Music Marathon in April, and my second half marathon of 2014 (or fourth if you count the full as two halves). This race will also be the first time I get to represent the Oiselle Flock and sport my bird jersey (aside from last month’s backyard photo shoot).