I ran a 10-mile race on Saturday.
Completely unplanned. Spur of the moment. No goal in mind.
I woke up Saturday morning with a capable, prepared and ready body where running a 10-mile race felt like an invitation. Even with my hubby out of town and three soccer games staring me down, I had a window of time. I could make it work. (Big love to my mom for helping with kiddo logistics.)
I drove to the start line and registered on the spot. No stress, no fuss, no Garmin. There was no worry or anxiousness flowing through me – I noticed this right away. In a quick body scan, I felt a sense of calm and confidence. My inner wise self whispered, “Good job for showing up. Proud of you. This is exactly what you need, enjoy it.”
My training this year has been less of an arrow flying toward its target, and more of steady ocean waves – deeply committed but unconcerned with where they are going.
And can I tell you – I’ve always wanted to be this kind of runner.
I’ve always craved ease within the sport. I’ve always longed to be committed to the practice, but unburdened with the outcome. To return to it over and over again without asking it to be anything other than true self-love – a gateway to presence and joy.
It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with my dear running friend Anne. She had just finished a fierce and tough training cycle and marathon, and we both found ourselves a bit weary and lost.
We talked about the kind of runners we wanted to be.
We talked about the kind of runner we longed to be.
Who was she? What did she love? How did she train?
How did she create space so that she was always falling back in love with this sport?
I feel like this weekend’s race was my answer to this question. Right now, I’m not the arrow. I am the ocean waves.
Okay. About the race!
It was awesome. The temp was perfect.
Before the race started I spotted my good friend Steena. Oh look! Friends! As it turns out she signed up last minute too, and showed up without her watch. YES!
Hills! So many damn hills. The only bonus was every uphill rewarded you with a downhill or easy flat. But still, argh.
A group of strong AF high school/college-ish girls passed me at mile 5. I’m assuming they were part of a team – they were completely in sync. I was proud of them for being out there, and pissed that I couldn’t keep up with them. I tried for one mile and then CAUGHT MYSELF trying to make this race about something it wasn’t meant for. I eased up. Felt better.
Coach Heidi! I texted her Friday night to let her know I was thinking about this race. She of course said, “Go for it!” I love her – she’s so patient with me. She is continuously adjusting my workouts to match my life and mood, which is no easy task. She was at mile 6 with her hubby and kids cheering! #thankscoach
Mile 8 sucked! Not sure why. It must be right of passage to have one mile that is complete shit? For about 8 minutes I was angry and grumpy.
Nearly the entire last mile was uphill. Faaaaaaaaccccccccck.
Despite the hill, I felt strong the last .5 mile of the race. I thought about if this was a 13.1 race how I’d fair for another 3.1 miles. I liked my odds, and it gave me hope for a solid half marathon sometime this year.
Finish line! Felt strong. Felt fierce. High-fived fellow #FFCrew friends. Photos. Smiles!
Checked my time. 1:20! 8 min miles! That sounded about right. My body and mind always find their way to 8 min miles. #sweetspot
GUESS WHO WON FIRST IN HER AGE GROUP! This old lady! It was unexpected, but totally awesome.
Felt great. Felt really proud and happy. When I found coffee I felt even BETTER. My mom picked me up. Off to cheer my girls on in soccer! More coffee.
Woke up Sunday feeling grateful and not sore! Rested even though I wanted to run. More coffee and Sunday snuggles.
Something I realized yesterday:
There was something incredibly unfettered and pure about showing up to this race without any layers or expectations weighing on me.
It was just me.
There were a handful of moments when I could have made it about something else. A goal. Beating a time. Racing with those college girls. Hitting a pace.
And then it hit me: If I’m not careful, I’m going to rob myself of just enjoying the moment.
But I love, love, love that I saw it all coming yesterday. My inner wise-self recognized every temptation to attach this run to something bigger, grander and goal-ish.
And she had NONE of it. She had created this beautiful spur-of-the-moment space and she protected it.
I’m proud of myself for holding that space and letting this run be about me. (Except that one mile with the track girls – hey, #workinprogress and #oldhabitsdiehard.)
So, your turn. A few things I want to leave you with as you start the week…
When is the last time you intentionally created space to do something just as yourself… for yourself?
Do you notice when an outside force hijacks the original purpose of your endeavor? (Things like ego, comparison, worthiness, what others will think, judgment.)
Are you open or closed to new things right now? (Envision your body with tight arms or wide open arms. Imagine speedy short breaths or expansive deep breaths.) Are you rushing through life and things and goals? That is, are you even allowing the magic in and space to find you? When I’m feeling grumpy it’s usually because (metaphorically) I’m not open to the magic. I’m closed off, which makes creating space so much harder.
Are you the arrow or the waves right now? In this moment, which of these do you need – which feels good? No judgment at all. Just notice. Everything is a season.
And lastly – how would it feel to fully lean in? Can you lean in to where you’re at and LOVE HER WHOLLY? The beauty in making this decision is it grounds your practice. Staying in the static and manic back and forth will exhaust you.
Surrender to the journey of an arrow – fully present, purposeful and claiming her power. Give yourself permission to own this.
Or surrender to the journey of the ocean waves – committed but unconcerned with outcome. Give yourself permission to own this.
And know that you’ll be the other soon enough, because that’s how seasons work.
Okay. That’s it. Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts from a 10-mile run.
Shoot me back a note on those prompts and questions. I so enjoy reading your reflections. And let me know if you’re feeling the arrow or waves – I’d love to hear.