Running Down a Dream
I've been on this road before...the high road, before I subconsciously sabotage the route, orchestrating my demise. Again and again. As we all know (also from subsequent posts), history repeats; sometimes, though, it's not beautiful. Today's story, this one story, is beautiful. It's a story of discovery, realization, triumph. The good guy wins, and then we drink at brunch.
Last month I traveled to Seattle, with two like-minded women. We haven't hung often, but I know we're 'like-minded'. Right? Yea, we are.
I signed up for the Tenacious Ten Mile Race in Seattle without any travel plans. I opted for a big fat 'fuck it' and registered on a whim. I'd figure everything out later. Good for me, I didn't have to figure much out; it all came together with the least amount of effort. Two other women, also registered and within weeks we planned a lovely escapade to the north west. Seems like they said 'fuck it' too. Yea. Good for us.
My plan, always, was for this ten mile run to be a 'fun run'. I couldn't tell you the last time I participated in a run that didn't have a time goal. Don't misunderstand, I have absolutely enjoyed myself during races in which I bust my ass. I figured this would be different.
Leading up to this trip, I didn't stress about the distance. The mileage was easy. I spent more time worrying about the race two weeks prior, Emmaus 4 Miler, in which I pulled out a 2nd place AG. Even better than crossing that finish line, I put in work to find a pre-race ritual which isn't just all about the taper, food, and sleep. The ritual, rather, hones in on the mental preparations that I need and those that benefit me. I had something close leading up to the NJ Marathon in May of 2016, but a long, depression-fueled summer thwarted any progressive efforts; I actually took a few thousand steps back. Here I am again.
It starts with my pen - a quick journaling session to plot out my strategy. But for the past two races, the strategy has always been the same:
- Have faith in your natural abilities
- Believe in your training
- Put forth nothing but heart
The words might present differently on paper. The flow of my pen on paper, a moving meditation in itself, calms my jitters. My mindset for the Tenacious Ten was that of embracement. I needed to continue my romance with the run, and for the run. I wanted to feel the embrace of a new city; a new journey. My goal wasn't to finish with a personal best time; my goal was to complete the race having the best time - every step, every turn.
As runners began lining up at the start, we spotted a large group, peppered through the crowd, with team shirts. I couldn't tell you what organization they represented, but the back of their shirts had the hashtag (#) Change Your Story. Goddamn, yes! We women hugged before finding our respective corals, reminding each other that today would be a good day and we WOULD change our story.
I parked myself between two corrals, remembering that my recent strategy of going out slow always paid off. With closed eyes, I drowned out the music and breathed. The scent of pine, from the trees lining the trail, hit my nose, filling my lungs... Like the skyward-reaching trees around me, I rooted my feet into the earth, feeling tall and untouchable. A familiar song rang from the speakers, reminding me of my girls back east. I planned to stand tall for them, to be confident for them, to change my story for them.
As planned I applied my faith in my abilities, I trusted my training, and I raced with all heart, crossing the finish line with almost zero in the tank and a hell of a last 5K. The best part of all was sharing my successes with those of the women surrounding me.