I suppose it’s inevitable that when you get to the end of a training cycle, project, etc. you stop to reflect on the leg of the journey you’ve just completed, and while I’ve done my fair share of reflecting on the specifics of workouts and paces, mostly I find myself pondering what it means to me to be on this particular journey. I am both a physical and, for lack of a better word, sensitive, person by nature, and I’ve found much credence in the idea that if you want to find your true passion you just need to imagine yourself at 10 years old. Our 10 year old selves had no imposed filter for joy, and for me play was 100% physical. My best friend and I were known to the school nurse as the Blister Sisters because we were always coming to her after intense bouts of monkey ring challenges for bandages. After school I biked, I ran around the woods behind my parents’ house. We stayed outside until our noses (and gloves) were crusted, until it started to get dark and we were forced in for dinner. Summers were swimming, barefoot games in the grass, more swimming. The sensitive kid in me had an intuitive handle on herself, which paid/pays off in being able listen to my mind and body.
I’m not questioning my desire to run; 10 year old me understands this as necessary (and fun). But sometimes I wonder if I’m waiting for someone to give me permission to go hard, to go all out/all in, and, to borrow the words of many others out there, to dream big. I’m not 10, I’m 37, but I’m still trying to get stronger to make it across that row of metal rings (and I’m still not willing to come inside until I do). It’s not “just” running, it’s not exercise, though if you’ve found your way here I’ll assume I’m preaching to the choir. It’s a legitimate desire and love for training, racing, goal-setting. (Sorry, more preaching.)
I don’t let many people in my non-virtual life in on this grand dream. I’m rocking a Clark Kent/Superman kind of a vibe, which on some level is okay. I mean, no one can accuse me of being that runner at work at least, minus the brief period in which I was hanging race bibs on my cubicle wall. (Discreetly, might I add, facing in toward me.) Is it really so different from my neighbor who proudly advertised his love of The Simpsons and craft beer? Perhaps, but I find my race bibs to be more motivational and happy-making than Homer. To each his own?
Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m a 37 year old woman trying to run more competitively. I want to break 1:30 in a half marathon, but I’m also hoping that’s not a ceiling. I’m not banking on luck, I’m working hard, and I’m working consistently. Underneath my dress pants are muscles that are frequently tired, and sometimes sore; the days that I have the hardest time walking up the stairs on my way to my desk are my best. I’ve got a drawer full of emergency snacks, and if you’re looking for a partner in carbs, I’m your girl.
Speaking of carbs…
Yours in poetry and motion,
*Photo credit: Yohann Aberkane