You are a Runner

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

-Buddha

I didn’t fully comprehend last week’s race lesson until I was running with my friend Stan last night. I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t PR (personal record), that I┬áchose to walk during the race, that it just didn’t feel wonderful. We were discussing how we haven’t been excited about running in a while, which is ironic considering we were running in what I personally consider one of the most beautiful places in town, Wrightsville Beach. It was late evening, the temperature was 65 degrees, traffic was light (thank goodness it wasn’t summertime) and there was a heavy fog hanging in the air. The air was calm, and the horizon and the water color were monochromatic to each other. It was also the first time in weeks that we weren’t at the track, waylay-ed by ice storms, or snow, or general miserable weather. It was a perfect night for running. As we were talking I realized I needed to get out of my head and look. Look around Nancy, I thought to myself. People would kill to do what you’re doing right now, smelling the salt air, running with a friend, talking about life. Stan even said as much “some people would kill to be us right now” he remarked.

We have such expectations that are self imposed, we said to each other. We do two-thirds of an iron distance or half iron distance, and THEN RUN a marathon or half marathon and we therefore expect our next race to be a marked improvement. We don’t give ourselves credit for the 30 mile an hour winds that were gusting that morning, the fact that we had no tail wind, that the mile seven marker flag attacked us (Yes! I was attacked by a flag at mile seven. It caught me and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get it off me. Thank goodness Paula was there. She grabbed that nasty flag and ran it back to the post). We think better, I could have done better. Why? Why are we so hard on ourselves? We get out there. We lace up our shoes and head out the door. It doesn’t matter if you run a 6:30 mile or a 12:30 mile. If you do it, you are a runner. Mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, etc. you’re still a runner. Short, long, fast, hard, we’re all in it together folks. We head out the door and we get it done, but why shouldn’t we enjoy the process? Open your eyes, look around you. Talk to others. Thank volunteers. Love the run. Love the process. Be grateful. These are the words I need to remember. This needs to be my personal mantra.

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Kate, Stephanie, Me, Paula, and Jennifer. Missing is Tracy, our sherpa

I will say that I am so incredibly grateful for these women who ran with me this past weekend. Our tour guide, Paula, lived in Myrtle Beach for a while and directed us to the best food in town. “I’m eating a recovery meal” we’d say at every stop. That, coupled with the companionship, hot tub post run at the hotel, laughter, and flavored vodka mini bottles made for an excellent weekend. We’re already talking about next year, especially since we didn’t get to do the Skywheel, Jen’s only request. Sorry Jen! Next year, we promise.

This might have been our Saturday

Next is the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. A run, I promise to myself, that I will enjoy. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the run no matter what life throws at me.