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.
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.
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).
Earlier this week, I declared 13.1 a Magical Distance and shared my 13.1 Training Plan.
While the St. Augustine Half Marathon is at the front of my mind (since it is quickly approaching), there is another half marathon I have my eyes fixed on.
Come January 25, 2015, I will be rocking the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon for the third time. Leading up to this event, I’m excited to be spreading the enthusiasm as part of the Rock ‘n’ Blog New Orleans team.
You know those people who display 13.1 stickers proudly on their back windshield? Well, I’m one of them.
Since the moment I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon back in 2010, I’ve recognized 13.1 as a magical distance. However, after running the Nashville Country Music Marathon (my first 26.2) in April of this year, I have to admit, I appreciate the half marathon distance that much more.
What’s so magical about 13.1?
As much as I am beyond thankful I completed a full 26.2, and certainly look forward to doing another in the future, there’s so much to love about the half.
13. 1 miles is long enough, but not so long you are totally spent when you cross the finish line. It’s demanding of training, but not so demanding you have to put other areas of your life on hold. It’s challenging, but not so challenging it takes days to recover.
As a supporter of and advocate for half marathons, I decided it’s time for me to do another one. And so, Sunday, November 16, I’ll be running the St. Augustine Half Marathon, which will be my sixth half marathon to date.
If you are in the market for a destination 5K, 10K, or half marathon this fall, here are a few reasons to consider this event.
13.1 TRAINING PLAN
Since the race is just a matter of weeks out, and now that I’m getting more settled into my St. Augustine homestead, training starts now! That said, I’ve crafted a 13.1 Training Plan I’m eager to share with anyone who is interested in completing a half marathon this fall (or at any point in the future).
I know I’ve sounded off quite frequently this summer about surviving the heat, but it’s certainly been a hot one. Thanks to Vega’s Fuel Your Better campaign, despite the heat, I’ve been able to improve my fueling regime this summer, and focus on asking myself a single question: “What’s holding you back from better?” Along with helping me answer this question and motivating me toward better fueling, the Fuel Your Better campaign has turned my liking of Vega products into a love. This summer, the focus of my Vega love has been on a three-part sustain package made up of Vega Sport products that hydrate and provide immediate energy.
I’ve been sipping on Vega Electrolyte Hydrator every single day this summer (running or not) and I don’t plan on stopping this practice. Not only have I welcomed my family on board drinking Hydrator with me, I’ve even been blending up Hydrator-infused smoothies to share.