Just Like You, Only Better
Every moment of every day we make decisions — some big, some not so much. We make decisions on a stage, when we're alone, and, sometimes, when we think we're not being watched. It's the decisions we make, when we think we're alone, that are the most crucial.
Today, I snoozed an extra forty minutes. My body wouldn't budge, but it was the awful occasional beep of the failing smoke detector that pushed me from my bed. Instead of rushing out the door en route to my long run, I took my time; probably more time to prepare than if I had gotten up on time. I ate a half bowl of oatmeal while organizing my hydration/fuel. After putting on my shoes (still new/still undecided), I warmed up with a few dynamic exercises and foam rolling. Take a breath. Yes, my warm up wasn't the first mile of a run. I can thank Oiselle Bird Camp for inviting Mike Silva from Foundation Performance to educate us on the importance of a real warm up.
I ran the first five miles solo. My hamstrings felt great; my glutes fired in harmony. The sun screamed from afar, making all attempts to warm the pavement and crisp my shoulders. My feet set the tempo, an easy pace to sustain me for the extended time AND to conserve the energy necessary to get my ass back over the hills, towards home. My early start, despite the extra snoozing, guaranteed minimal car traffic; I practically owned the roads, spending a lot of time in the middle of the lane.
After cresting a terrible (reframe: glorious), steady incline, I cruised through a traffic light towards my girlfriend's house. I saw her from a distance, practically pacing in the cul-de-sac, performing her own warm up. We barely exchanged salutations before heading out — five miles for her, another five for me. Her fresh legs turned over too quickly for my body; I requested a downshift and she, thankfully, complied. Our time together, not long enough, was peppered with light conversation and breathing.
I told a short story about my oldest daughter:
One evening, I discovered my daughter sitting tall on my meditation pillow with the backs of her hands resting on her knees. She gently fell backwards to look in my direction. "Mamma," she said, "when I grow up, I want to be just like you. Before I do anything I ask, 'What would Mamma do.'" I took a deep breath and swallowed hard before responding, "Baby, thank you, but I want you to be better than me."
We carried on a few more miles before parting ways. I'm notorious for fading fast on the tail end of a long run. I felt the fade set in: my hamstrings started to talk back, my water bottle (although, 1/4 full) felt heavier than ever, the hills started and I just wanted a damn cup of coffee. I powered through the hill alongside the elementary school and rounded the bend towards my town. The road offered no shade and the rolling hills were evident, even from a distance. No one saw me; I was alone. I stopped for a moment to snap a pic and just breathe. In the beauty of that moment, I reminded myself of that story — a little girl who sees her mother in the best possible light, a little girl who wants to be all those good things, a little girl who pauses, mindfully, before choosing.
I put my phone away and sucked up the rest of the run, actually finishing strong.