No such buzz was a-buzzing for me yesterday though. I wanted to stay in bed and sleep!
Nonetheless, after snoozing the alarm a few times I finally crept out of bed and went downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee. I was planning to leave the house around 5:30, so I had a little time to get my race-day mojo on. When I went downstairs though, I started writing handwritten notes to each member of my family as I drank my coffee. I usually take a little time each morning before I run to write or draw in my personal journal. It’s a new-ish addition to my morning me-time, my start-the-day-right ritual. This practice has brought me a great deal of peace of mind, and is something that feels so right to me. Yesterday my journaling was in the form of notes of hello and gratitude for my family.
Abby would not be home when I returned from my race. She was being picked up by my best and oldest friend Marguerite around 9:30AM for a whole day and night away to celebrate her daughter Ellie’s 10th birthday. Abby and Ellie are one another’s “first friends” – their relationship so special and treasured. I wanted to write Abby to tell her I hoped she had a wonderful time with Ellie, to let her know I would miss her and that I am so proud of her! It is a big deal to basically spend a weekend away from your family when you’re in the 4th grade, even if it’s with friends who are practically family. She and I stayed up the night before helping her pack her bag and she was equal parts nervous and excited about it.
Will would be getting ready for his final basketball game of the season while I was running my race. I was going to be home in time for it, and I wanted to leave him a note to remind him of that. To tell him I am so proud of how hard he has worked at basketball this season (it was his first time playing this sport!) and that I was excited to see him play in his last game.
Gus is 4, and though he can’t read I wanted to leave him a note anyway. He likes to wake up and have lots of hugs and snuggle-time with me each morning. With all the at-home treadmill running I’ve been doing this winter, we have had so many opportunities to start our mornings this way. I felt sad yesterday morning, knowing I would not be there to cuddle with him first thing on this wet cold morning. So I wrote him a note telling him that, and telling him I couldn’t wait to get home later and give him big giant cuddly hugs! I really yearned for that as I wrote it to him.
And Robert. Robert would be holding down the fort while I was away. He would be tracking me, cheering me on, supporting me, wishing he could be there – and taking care of our home and our children while I was running. He is the most supportive man I know, and I am just simply so grateful and overwhelmed by how blessed I am that he is my partner in life. I wrote him a long love note telling him that. We were planning a date night that night also, and I wanted him to know how much I was looking forward to our time together later in the day/night.
I finished writing and laid the notes out on our kitchen counter for everyone to discover when they came downstairs to start their day. I looked at the clock and realized I was totally running behind! It’s a good thing I had laid my clothes and gear out for the race the night before, because now I was in a hurry. It was 5:45 when I got out the door. The drive into the city was dark and lonely, and I still wasn’t feeling like racing by the time I parked my car at RFK. I texted my friend Dora when I arrived and we met up to ride on the Metro to the start together. I was so glad to have met up with her and her husband Michiel – beginning a race with people I love makes the day in my opinion. The three of us chatted and laughed on the way to the Start and we made it there just in time, with only minutes to pee really quick and get our watches ready to roll.
I stepped into my coral and landed right in a massive puddle. My feet were instantly soaked. Yuck. I saw my friend Stephanie (who I met on the bus to Hopkinton at last year’s Boston!) and we gave one another a quick hug before the gun went off. I was trying to get myself excited to race, but it just wasn’t coming to me. As I stood in the coral for those couple of minutes before the start, I felt at my core that this day was not going to be about running a fast time. I wanted to honor whatever felt right to me and roll with it, and just did NOT feel motivated to push myself in my typical race-day way. The gun went off and I found myself comfortable right around a 6:40 pace. I ran the first 6 miles all between 6:30-6:40, rolling with the hills and just taking it all in, mentally wavering back and forth between the idea of pushing myself faster for the second half, or just taking it all easy and enjoying the race without pushing. There is a huge hill at the end of Rock Creek in the middle of the 7th mile. I decided to get over that and then check in with myself. I ran the hill with an even steady effort, my pace naturally slowing. My watch is totally dead today (a problem I keep having with my 210, I am pretty sure it’s time for a new watch!) and I haven’t had a chance to download my splits yet as a result, but I know my pace was back to the 6:45 range for the 8th mile.
It was right around Mile 9 that I decided I did not want to race. I wouldn’t say I was “miserable” but I was really cold and wet and just wanting to be home with my family. My brain and heart were not in this race for the sake of racing hard. In truth, I think I had known that all along, and I wasn’t going to force that to happen. I decided to run easy the rest of the way, looking forward to my day and night ahead. I finished the last 4 miles in the mid-7s, running the miles very easy. I finished with a time of 1:33:10, well off where I believe my fitness is currently, but in-tune with where my heart is. When I got to my car I was shivering and wet, feeling mellow and sort of strange, but also at peace with all of it. I called Robert from the car and we talked about it. He was so proud of me, and this filled my heart with so much gratitude.
Yesterday was the perfect day, to be honest. Will rocked his basketball game. He played great and they won their last game! Go Wizards!
Robert and I texted with Abby all day long, sending each other pictures and keeping each other up to speed on our days. It was totally fun to keep in touch with her this way. We have a ‘tween!
All three of my boys and I cuddled in bed and watched “The Incredibles” in the afternoon and I fell asleep with them curled up beside me. What could be better on a rainy day? Last night Robert and I went on a date, and brainstormed together about how we want to redo our basement. We even brought a sketch book and drew it all out, as we drank our beers at the bar. It was totally us, and just the perfect night. I love dreaming and scheming with my man.
Throughout the day yesterday, I talked a lot with Robert, with Coach Hadley and with my closest and dearest friends who understand me and my running and who are runners themselves. I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for these people in my life. Running is a HUGE part of who I am, and who I will always be. As I change and grow, I know that the way I define a successful run or race is also going to change and develop. Growth as a person and as a runner are not really measurable by the numbers. There is so much more to it than that, and there are a lot of factors involved. The awareness of this for me is a beautiful and truly liberating thing. I believe that there are some faster race times ahead for me, probably lots of them. And I’m excited for that. I also believe that they are going to come with more family time and with more time with my close friends, because my running is not whole or balanced without that, because I am not whole or balanced without that, and because that is increasingly more and more important to me.
So here’s to another great race in the books. One that had heart, and one that I will treasure for reasons well beyond the numbers on the clock.
I hope everyone that ran and raced this weekend had a wonderful time, with lots of love and laughter in the mix! I would love to hear all about it!