Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Hippie Runner

I need to go to bed but so many thoughts have been swirling in my head. There's so much to share about my experiences this past week. I ran a monster ultra that almost swallowed my running pride and then, a week later, conquered a marathon. I am fatigued. Exhausted beyond measure. I keep looking at the race photo's in disbelief. Am I really that fearless? Or am I just naive?
I've been thinking a lot about my approach to running and I really don't worry too much about all the things that could go wrong. Most runner's are the exact opposite, trying to control everything they can so that they can achieve their PR (personal record). I don't follow a training plan, I don't wear a GPS watch, Ever. I re-fuel at the bare minimum and never drink Gatorade or those other sports drinks loaded with sugar. I wear new clothes and new shoes and try out new gear on race day (gasp)! And I have never looked at a race course before the start of a race. Why stress myself out?
My engineer thinking hubby said that when I first started running, he didn't get my approach to running, for a looong time and tried to change me to be the type of runner who controls every circumstance possible. When I decided to run the JFK50 Miler in 2012, he decided to sit back and watch He thought it would be the best way for me to learn how to be more prepared for a race. After all, I had never trained on elevations that high, much less, ran on a trail or figured out fueling strategies to conquer a 50 Miler, with strict cut off times...until race day. But somehow, someway, it all worked out, and I crossed the finish line. Who cares that I was the second to last finisher? All that mattered to me, was that I had the courage to start and that I FINISHED!
This is the story of my life. I throw caution into the wind and just go with it. I can't be bogged down by the details. I go with the flow and figure it out, as needed. I am a California girl, true to heart. I think about how I want things to happen and truly believe that good karma will come my way. There is much power to positive thinking.

Call me lazy, call me naive, call me a hippie runner, but this is the only way I enjoy running, where I am truly free and embracing each moment of this gift, that has been given to me.
Maybe one day I'll want to BQ (Boston Qualify for you non runners out there) and have the desire to push my body through the pain for those PR's? Isn't this what every long distance runner dreams of...running in the Boston Marathon? This year, I'll be watching the Boston Marathon on TV, looking for that one hippie runner that achieved a BQ and stayed true to her/himself, while training, to earn a spot in the most prestigious marathon. It will be the runner dressed up in a costume or high-fiving the crowd or stopping and taking photo's along the race course or perhaps, flashing the peace sign to the camera. Maybe, just maybe, that hippie runner will be me one day? But I would have to let go of all the things that I love about running.
A BQ or a PR is nice but it doesn't define who I am. I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I am perfectly okay with enjoying the run and finishing! I push myself out there but also enjoy the run so that I am not finishing feeling exhausted. I rarely look at my race times and often my friends will tell me my finishing time. I refuse to wrap up my identity in a number. I am more than that. I want to be an example to those who thought they never could be a runner. I want them to look at me and think, "if she can do it, so can I." And I want to inspire them to dream big and chase after their dreams fearlessly. There is nothing in the way of achieving what you want except yourself.

So throw caution into the wind and stop thinking about what you want to do. Instead, just start running toward your dream and figure it out, as you move forward. If you want it bad enough, you will overcome obstacles, and you will achieve your dream. Just Believe it can happen. And Enjoy the journey along the way!

                                 Me at the start line of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon 2014

                                         Peace, Love and Happy Running,

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