It’s funny how people change, isn’t it? Bit by bit, day by day, until one day, they wake up and they are different and you hadn’t even realized it. It’s even stranger when the person who has changed is YOU! This weekend, and these races, made me realize how much different I have become since we relocated.
The thing is, running used to stress me out. I was always focused on what I needed to do in order to get to where I wanted to be. In running, a lot like in my everyday life, I was a perfectionist and I always chose to hone in on the one or two things that didn’t go right, the pace I couldn’t maintain, or the goal I almost reached and when I focused on those things, they always felt negative. The trouble with that was that I couldn’t appreciate the improvements, the PR’s the journey because I was so involved in the end result, that I forgot to pay attention to the journey I took to get to my goals! Truthfully, I never noticed how wrapped up in it all I truly was, but I truly believed that you should race EVERY race.
Fast forward to race weekend and to our drive down to San Diego and I recall a conversation Dani had about how I rarely remember the details of a race and recapping them is always a struggle for me. I think she laughed at me (in the way that says I love you because you are so high strung) and said she took so many selfies that it was easier to remember. like mental notes. I think this might be the moment that set the tone for the whole weekend. In my head, I wanted to be the girl who was focused on enjoying this weekend, these people and the races, but I did not know how to get there.
Friday night, we were out late and our alarm was wicked early. When Danger fell asleep on the dinner table, Rob was a champ and took him back to the hotel room while Dani and I wrapped up the evening. Poor planning on my part meant I got back to the hotel and had to dash downstairs to squeeze in a mile on the treadmill. When I got back to the hotel room, Dani, Rob and Danger were all fast asleep so I quickly ironed on the decals for our shirts and then crawled into bed. I remember my last thought was that I had no idea how I would race in the morning on so little sleep.
When the alarm went off before the sun came up, I plastered a smile on my face. My head was already spinning. Dani, Linzie from Sharp Endurance, Rob, Danger and myself all planned to run together and we had decided to shoot for a 35 minute finish. This just seemed foreign to me. In Philly, when Rob and I did the Remix Challenge I had managed to PR both the 5k and the half marathon. The idea that I would CHOOSE to run slower was unsettling to me. I couldn’t wrap my mind around not racing a RACE…
We had made plans to meet up with the WE RUN SOCIAL crew before the race and so before the start, we got a bunch of pictures and a ton of laughs. These moments are where I finally relaxed and decided to do something I had never done before: I chose not to race the race. This decision set the tone for the rest of the weekend. From the second we crossed the start line, I had a perpetual smile on my face and I FINALLY learned how to not just love running, but to enjoy my journey.
The next 30 minutes went quickly. I lost count of the selfies taken, I couldn’t begin to tell count the times I laughed as we ran and I had the BEST time. Right before the race started, Danger had agreed he wouldn’t complain once during the race (he usually likes to gripe a bit between the start and finish if he is running with me) and as we started back up 8th Avenue and an incline, I thought he would start in. He did slow up just a little on the uphill but when I turned to encourage him, he too had a smile on his face and was having a blast!!!
This was not my fastest 5k, but it was a different kind of Personal Best… I was my best possible ME in this 5k. I enjoyed the moments and I learned how to give myself a break and just enjoy the ride. I had no idea how important this lesson would be for the next day, but I will forever be thankful to the friends and my family for teaching me that it’s okay to have goals AND have fun!! (SIDENOTE: Apparently having fun makes for some really phenomenal race pictures)!
Do you ever race for fun and not time or do you race every race??