1. recognize the full worth of.
I've had a perma-grin on my face since running the Plymouth marathon last Sunday. Twice this week my 8 year old has asked me why I was in such a good mood (for no particular reason that she could see) followed by some eye rolling and "whatever"s when I responded that I just was. I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty fantastic to feel this way. I have run hundreds of races over the years of various types and distances. But, it's been a while since I had the overwhelming feeling of complete satisfaction from one particular race. Even with my best performances, I find that I tend to ask the standard questions post-race:
~ Did I push as hard as I could have?
~ Did I go out too fast?
~ Did I wait too long to kick?
~ Did I eat right the day before?
~ Should I have hydrated more during the race?
~ Should I have tried to get more sleep?
and, even when there is a PR to celebrate,
~ Could I do better if I train harder next time?
I'll admit that it's not necessarily the best way to break down a race each time and it kind of kills the overall experience a bit; good or bad. But, I am a runner, I am stubborn, and I am competitive with myself. So, it is what it is. That said, my experience at Plymouth really threw me for a loop and changed my whole perspective. In a good way. I can honestly say that I have a totally new appreciation for running and a much better understanding of why I should and will continue to do it. Yesterday I went for an easy, four mile cruiser; my first jaunt since Plymouth. Throughout said run, I realized not only that I have a new respect for running, but with many things running related as well. I also came to the conclusion that, moving forward, as I continue to train and race it might be worth approaching each race a little differently. After my experience at Plymouth I learned that it doesn't have to be so freakin' intense all the time. All this in four short miles. Well, four miles, 8 marathons, 10 halfs, and countless 5Ks. Let me break it down for you (forgive the high cheese factor. It was unavoidable):
TODAY, I HAVE A NEW APPRECIATION....
~ For running and how incredibly rewarding and freeing it can be, particularly when I'm willing to let go of my expectations and run just to run.
~ For music and how it never fails to motivate me from start to finish. Because it helps to drown out the doubt frustration when they start to seep in. In running, it is truly my most reliable companion.
~ For my arms. There were some serious hills throughout Plymouth and the strength in my arms helped to drive me up and over each time. (Note to my LHS ladies who might be reading this...all those push-ups this season were definitely worth it!)
~ For my coach who is both a runner and a father himself. For reminding me to sit back, relax, have fun and enjoy the experience along the way.
~ For the race volunteers, particularly in the smaller races. There was not a whole lot going on out there on Sunday with only 300 runners on the course. No bells and whistles like at Boston. It undoubtedly took some serious dedication for them to stand out there alone for 4-5 hours in the quiet as we tossed cups and GU packets at them.
~And for my husband. I will always appreciate him. But I appreciate him more because after Hartford, despite having just given up an entire week-end for me to race, he was the first to suggest that I sign up for another race right away to wipe the slate clean. Because he "gets it." And that's amazing.
2, 4, 6, 8...who do we appreciate? Goooooo running.
Listen to this:
Jungle - Emma Louise