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.
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.
It’s no secret that staying in any kind of groove during the sweltering summer months is something that’s been incredibly difficult for me this season. It’s been all I can do to survive the summer heat. Trekking back and forth across Florida while trying to get a number of dreams and schemes sorted out before fall arrives has not made things any easier. Instead, it has discombobulated my running regularity and any sort of routine I thought I would uphold this past month. Still, my running shoes have been going with me everywhere, and I have been making an effort to run in between thunderstorms. Each and every run has been a sweaty, tiring kick in the butt.
As the latter portion of summer blazes on, in an effort to keep on keeping on and hold myself a bit more accountable between now and the arrival of fall, I’ve developed a simple 8 Week Base Training Plan.
With the arrival of June has come getting back to some consistency within the running realm. I must say, the month of May was all over the place after taking a solid 10 days off of running immediately following the marathon. Then, just as I was getting back into some sort of swing, Hangout Fest and Memorial Day weekends happened back to back, and meanwhile the weather heated up tremendously.
If you are looking for something to make you feel even hotter when it’s already 90 degrees out, just go for a run on an asphalt track.
The morning after setting a PR at the Rock n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon (March 2013), I discovered this encouraging word while en route to get coffee.
Seeing as how I learn something new every single day, it’s safe to say, not only are there countless items I deem as “rules of the road,” the list continues to grow.
Since my current marathon training is the most extensive training I’ve ever done, it seems only natural I’ve been reflecting (more than normal) on all the things I’ve learned through training for anything over the years. No matter what you are working to achieve, here are five training-related rules of the road that will hopefully help you on your journey.