This year has been insane. I’ve done more this year of running than I could have ever expected. But with the highs come the lows, you can’t win ’em all, right? This is a link up with Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC. I’ve done it before though it’s been several years so here we go!
Best race experience?
Is that even a question? Boston Marathon. The people over at the Boston Athletic Assocation have the business of coordinating a 30,000 participant marathon down to an art. From the timing of your arrival in the athlete’s village to the aid stations on BOTH sides of the road, this is easily the most well organized race I’ve ever run. Combined with the amazing spectators and the beautiful course, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I could go with the obvious answer (Boston) but there have been some truly memorable runs over the past year that I haven’t already written about. Like the 10 miles of frozen hydration packs at Bandera or the hanunted park run. Or there was the run where we decided to explore a new area but couldn’t find the trail so we just ran through the woods, honestly it was more like a crawl (a.k.a. The Machete Run). What about the trail running in Missouri?
But I’m gonna choose the first run on the trails after Harvey. The trails are in the flood zone of Cypress Creek. During Harvey, that sleepy little creek that is normally 10 feet wide, was two miles wide and the trails were under 10 feet of water. After the water receded, I didn’t even know if the trails were still there. How could they have survived that torrent of water??
But, they did survive! They looked a little different, debris was everywhere, they were still a little soggy, and in some places they were nearly impassable but they survived. I was with a friend that day and I needed that run. The condition of trails were a great analogy for how I felt. Soggy and in some places impassable but still here.
That run was a celebration of survival, it was therapy, it was the beginning of a lot of things for me. Emotional rebuilding, you could say. It wasn’t long, 4ish miles, but I desperately needed something “normal” that day and that run was it.
Best new piece of running gear?
Nathan Hipster running belt. I love this belt! I bought it to wear during Boston and I now I wear it on most runs. It doesn’t bounce at all and holds a ton of stuff. I have two, one in a size small and one in a medium. They both fit me pretty well. I’m kinda between sizes (the story of my life). My only complaint is that they get very sweaty, more so than my SPI Belt and don’t dry very quickly so I’m constantly washing them. I wish I had more than two!!
The last couple of months have been rough. I trained for two races and both of them ended in epic failure for different reasons. It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go the way you planned. After BCS I was ready to give up racing altogether but someone very wise sent this to me and it reminds me, that I need to get back out there and try again.
AFTER Ironman Texas though.
Most inspirational runner?
I could go with the obvious answer, Shalane Flanagan…I mean, who wasn’t inspired by her win in NYC? She personifies what you can do if you work hard and are persistent. But that’s too easy.
This year my most inspirational runner is anyone who does anything for the first time. Several of my clients are running marathons for the first time this year, THEY inspire me. They’re attempting something that they don’t know that they can do but they’re gonna try anyway. They’re nervous, scared, excited and passionate. Talking to them is like talking to the kid who just got his first bike. Terrified of falling but excited to try. THAT’S inspirational.
Favorite picture from a run or race this year?
I’ve looked through all my pictures from the year. I have a lot of pictures of my feet, quite a few pictures of snakes and most of the ones that could be decent are out of focus because the camera lens was covered in sweat.
Favorite picture from a run has to be this one taken in Huntsville State Park. I was running with two of my friends and we were in the middle of an 18-mile run. The awesome woman in this picture is one of my dear friends but she and I weren’t in the best mood that day. That run was awful. We both did nothing but complain for about 2 hours…until we came across this tree which I’d always wanted to climb. So instead of running past it like I had before, we stopped and took a few minutes to play.
Climbing up there was a little terrifying, we were close to 20 feet off the ground but climbing that tree changed our attitudes for the rest of the run.
From a race, it has to be this picture. I had just turned the corner onto Boylston Street in Boston and I was taking a video of the race finish with my phone so I could share it with my family (watch it here), but I was simultaneously taking it all in. The finish was overwhelming. The people were 5-10 deep the last part of the race and it was so loud I could barely hear the music in my ears.
The finish line was only about 1/4 mile in front of me. In that moment, I was staring at the finish line, a little sad that it was over but more proud of myself than I had ever been in my life.
(Yes, that’s a $20 bill shoved inside my phone case…you can’t be too prepared.)
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Just. Keep. Running.
What about those handstands?
Every year I like to set a goal for myself that has nothing to do with running. This year it was to do a handstand. I didn’t really have certain metrics for success, I think I originally said 5 seconds but it really was arbitrary.
Last December, I propped my phone against the end table in our gameroom and attempted to invert myself for the first time. I nearly fell on my face. My glutes were sore for three days afterward.
Between then and now, I’ve done thousands of handstands. I’ve done them at the Y, the beach, my house, and after Harvey, at my new gym, And I’ve had to explain myself no less than a dozen times (to mostly old men) in the gym why I keep flipping myself upside down.
“What are you doing? Are you a gymnast?”
Seriously, a dozen times.
I’ve done handstands for HOURS, to the point where I made myself sore for days. Handstands are hard, people!
But in the end it paid off! Here we are, a year later. It’s not pretty and they’re still hard, (it took about two dozen tries to get one good enough to share with you) but I can do a handstand!
Proof that you can learn to do anything given enough time and determination. It’s up to you to decide to try. Don’t think I’m done with this though.
BRING IT ON, 2018!