Slow Down

“Life itself is the best (and the only) timekeeper.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru

The fall equinox is not only a welcome sign that cooler temperatures are ahead of us along the coast of Virginia, but it also marks an astronomical turning point of the seasons. Fall is here. Scientifically speaking, on the equinox, the orbital plane of the equator is geometrically aligned with the center of the sun. Neither the north or south hemisphere is tilted away from or towards the sun. On the equinox our world is perfectly balanced. 

As we move forward, we will experience more darkness than daylight. Our days will get cooler. While our days are rapidly losing light, my body is begging for a slow down. I’ve resisted it, I’ve ignored it, but it keeps finding me. My heart is whispering slow down.

Fall Equinox Sunset
By nature I am someone who tends to trip over my own feet. I have an idea or a thought, and I plow forwarded before I can complete my own sentence. I’m half way out the door before plans are ever finalized. I have a goal, and I’ve created a plan of attack before I can digest what it means. I figure things out as I go.

When I started my new job at Eastern Virginia Medical School, everyone asked how it was going. The only response I could give was Good. It’s really making me slow down. And that is exactly what this job has done. It has slowed down my brain. It’s made me more intentional. It has made me find satisfaction in small details. It has provided a perfect balance for my natural tendencies to move fast. It has provided me a natural equinox

As my brain has started to slow down, it has also started to unwind. I’ve felt myself become more relax, less stressed, and less overwhelmed.

While my heart has been whispering slow down, my desire to run faster has been fueling me. I’ve kept running a priority as work and school began. I’ve run sub 7 pace on speed workouts, tempo runs are getting faster, but I haven’t been satisfied. I’ve wanted more. My long runs have suffered, and they haven’t been as fulfilling. I’ve analyzed it from every perspective. Is it summer? Is it ego? Is it the running plateau I’ve been on for months (maybe years)? Is it not running PRs? Why don’t my speeds workouts translate to race day or distance?

For all the time I’ve spent thinking about and analyzing my long runs, my heart keeps whispering slow down. Maybe this isn’t my season to race. Maybe this isn’t my season for distance. I don’t know the answer to why I’m not satisfied, but I do know I won’t find the answer until I listen.

I don’t run to set personal bests. I don’t run to be fast. I don’t run to win. I run to be my personal best and that has nothing to do with pace or speed. I run to win at life and that has nothing to do with distance.

Yesterday, on the day our world was geometrically aligned with sun, I headed to a group tempo run, and I took a detour. I headed to the gym first because in that moment that is where I wanted to be. I rowed and threw slam balls and did pull ups instead of starting a tempo run with my team. When I finished my work out, I chased the team down the boardwalk. I ran some easy solo miles while the sunset. I stopped half way to stand along the shoreline. After days of rain and flooding, the sun peaked out before it set as a reminder that nothing ever remains the same.

Hitting Pause
There is a season for everything in life. Right now my season is about slowing down, unwinding, and enjoying the small details. I’m not sure how that translates to running, but I do know the only way to find out is to listen to the whispers of my heart that have never steered me wrong. I’m slowing down and that isn’t defined by pace or distance in the exact same way that personal satisfaction and personal bests are not defined by pace or distance. Life itself is the best timekeeper, and my bests are defined by living. Right now my living exists in the quiet, simple details that can only be enjoyed by slowing down.

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” ~Sylvia Plath


Living the Layers: Opening

In the moments when I felt myself sliding downward this summer, I continuously asked myself over and over again: What do you need? 

What do you need to get out of bed?

What do you need to engage with your family?

What do YOU need? 

Some days the answer was simple. I needed to live my layers. I needed to run. I needed the gym. I needed to move or make a healthy dinner.

Other days the simple answer was complicated. I need to feel alive.

In my downward spiral of hot, heavy and stuck, I felt every ounce of the self imposed armor I have built around my self. I was trapped within myself.

When do you feel free? 

One moment always comes rushing back. It’s not my wedding day or the day I gave birth to my children. It isn’t traveling through the Sacred Valley in Peru or floating down the river in Thailand. It is one very small moment. The moment that always floods my memory is more a feeling than a memory.

In the middle of the night in the middle of the streets of Austin, Texas in the middle of a music festival surrounded by my Nashville family, I ran. For whatever reason, we all collectively decided to race to the stop sign. It was a full out sprint to see who would win. When we had all completely the task at hand, I remember laughter filling my body. I felt free.

There are very few moments in my life when I haven’t been aware of myself. There are very few moments where I’ve trusted, where I’ve let go, where I released my control and my fears. I’ve been collecting these moments my whole life: the trail run with the gentle breeze when I opened my arms up to connect with the trees, submerging my body in the cold waters of a waterfall in Utah after fear kept me paralyzed on the side of the cliff, swing competitions with Cole in the neighborhood park. I remember every single one of the moments, but I remember the feeling the most.

I share so much of myself freely with those around me and yet I guard myself from myself. I hold myself back. Within me is a hand that is always resisting.

This summer I gave in.

“But the soul wants you to go beneath. It leads downward. It says, ‘Don’t ignore the signs. Follow your longing down. Go beneath the surface of your troubled mind, your bad moods, your repetitive mistakes. Go beneath the surface questions to even deeper questions.’ The soul asks questions like these: ‘What is that weight that holds you back? What inside of you is saying no! Are you willing to look at yourself? To take responsibility for your own life? Are you willing to let something die, in order for something new to arise? What must die! What wants to live?’ The soul tells you to root around in the dark stuff for the deeper questions, and to let those questions lead you from darkness to the light.” ~ Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

This morning I woke up to grey skies, the promise of a restorative run on Saturday through tropical storm rain and winds, and one lingering question.

Why don’t I allow myself to be enough?

I know the answer is deeply rooted in my past, in my personality, and in fear I carry with me. I know why. This summer I allowed myself to stay in that space to feel all that I had been avoiding.



“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ~Rumi

Perhaps for the very first time I am not trying to fill the void left behind by the absence of the hot, heavy and stuck summer. I’m leaving myself open. As a breath I’ve been holding on to for my entire life takes form and gains strength within my own body, I’m consciously avoiding old habits and behaviors. This time I don’t want to hold myself back. I want to stand in my own skin and know that today I am enough. I’m done collecting moments of being alive. I am ready to live alive.

Those moments of feeling alive, they all have something in common. Movement and Nature. They are my secret ingredients for living my life.

I’m figuring this out the only way I know how – by racing to the stop sign.

Thank you Josh for the weekly motivation

My Gift from the Sea 

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” ~Anne Morrow Lindenberg

How many times can I return to the same book? Every summer Gifts from the Sea calls my name.  Some summer I read the entire thing. Some summers I read a chapter or two. Every summer I read it. 

This summer has been special. This summer I am home with my boys. I’ve been the beach Mrs. Lindenberg so gracefully describes. I’ve lied empty, open and choiceless. The sea hasn’t left me disappointed yet. 

I’ve received so many gifts from the sea, and not one of the gifts has been tangible. 

I’ve been gifted time -time for myself, time for my family. 

I’ve been gifted strength – physical strength and emotional strength. 

In this moment of pause, I’ve had time to process one of the deepest scars of my life. 

I’ve gained a clear vision of what I want and what I’m willing to welcome into my life. 

While I cherish all the gifts I’ve been given, the greatest gift is one I’m giving myself. I’m letting myself off the hook. Mom-guilt is something I’ve always carried. 

If I didn’t work, my house would be less cluttered. Our home would feel less stressful. 

If I didn’t work, Chet would have a better bedtime routine. 

If I didn’t work, I could shower Cole with the one on one attention he craves. 

If I didn’t work, I’d have more of myself to give to my marriage. 

If I didn’t work…

The list was endless. 

During this moment of pause, I’ve realized that none of that changes based on my employment status. 

Working or not, I’m the exact same mom. Working or not, I’m the exact same wife. Working or not, I am exactly me. 

Perhaps the greatest gift is knowing that being a working mom or a stay at home mom doesn’t change who I am. What influences my ability to give to everything I love is how well I take care of myself. Boundaries are important. Environment is important. As I begin to transition back to being a working mom, I now know how important it is for me to continue to hold on to the gifts I’ve been given. 

Taking time to care for myself is important. Taking time to care for my family always happens. 

My journey to continually find my strength is one I cherish. I’m holding on to it tightly. 

Healing is a process. 

Having a deep sense of what I’m willing to give myself to will always guide me to where I belong. 

And the mom guilt, it’s no longer welcome. It’s the one thing that holds me back. My boys are loved. My home is my refuge. 

“I want first of all… to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints–to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.” ~Anne Morrow Lindenbergh 

Soon this new chapter will begin. As I begin to navigate this new space, the best gift I can give to other is to take care of myself. 

This next chapter is going to be a good one. It is my gift from the sea. 

Kindness is Quiet

“I’ve decide it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.” ~Nadezhda Mandelstam

When I hit publish on the first blog post, So much more than no means no, I felt like an eighteen year old version of myself. I trembled. I took a shower and cried. In that shower and with those tears, I washed away the fear. I became empowered. 

I couldn’t sleep Monday night. A crack in my silence had formed, and I needed to get it out. I needed my words, my story, my voice on paper. In the dark while my house fell asleep, I wrote. 

Yesterday I went to hit publish again. It was time to scream: I was raped. I trembled. I took another shower and cried. This time it was a release. My body was squeezing out every what if I have ever played in my head. I was releasing every doubt, every bit of self blame, and every insecurity I’ve ever held. Putting my story on paper and hitting publish gave me my voice back. My story was no longer my burden to carry alone. I gave it back to the universe. 

Every single one of you caught me. You stood beside me. By reading my words, you offered to carry the weight with me. 

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. You all have flooded me with love and compassion. You’ve lifted me up. You’ve celebrated my voice. You’ve made me feel safe. You’ve trusted me with your secrets.
At first it was my dear friends. The people who love me best today stood beside me. Then it was the people who loved me most during that year of my life. My heart exploded. I took the most comfort in the support from the people who have always provided it. Then friends of friends started reaching out followed by people I’ve never met. The ripple effect was beginning. My screams were being heard around the world.

Then I started to hear your stories too. My heart broke every time I received a message. I will carry your weight too. I will catch you. You are not alone. We are all stronger together. The words of support I received belong to you too. Please read them all. They are yours to keep. 

I couldn’t hear them when I was raped. During that year of my life, I heard the hatred. I felt the anger from all of his supporters. It was all I noticed. Eighteen years later, I see them for what they were: A small pack of teenagers who needed to be angry at someone. They were small in comparison to all of you. 

You didn’t just show up yesterday. You’ve been here the whole time. 

Kindness is quiet. It doesn’t scream from the rooftops. It doesn’t flood the streets of town with energy and anger. It doesn’t need to. It is kind. It is gentle. It is authentic. But what if it did? What if kindness flooded the streets with the same energy as anger?

In our broken society, we see and hear the broken.  We feel the anger. We highlight and focus on the bad, but kindness is everywhere. 

I am so sorry I couldn’t feel your kindness more. It was everywhere. From the boy who was brave enough to still like me the summer after high school. You brought me strawberry gum and candles because you knew I loved strawberries. I liked you too, but I was afraid. I no longer trusted the intentions of men, and I couldn’t see that you genuinely liked me. To the friends who didn’t know what do with this topic, neither one of us knew how to navigate the space. So many of you said sorry yesterday. I am sorry too. At eighteen, none of us should have to know how to deal with this. I’m sorry I didn’t trust your kindness. I’m sorry I let myself believe that no one believed me. To the people I let it, to the people who chose to love me, thank you. You are brave. You are strong. You suffered beside me, but I took all the attention. It was my burden to carry, but it spilt over on to you. Thank you for being strong enough to figure it out with me. 

I’m going to beg you all one more time. If you’ve taken the time to read this, help me make kindness loud. Today our world is flood with anger. It’s flooded with ego. It’s flooded with entitlement. It’s running for President. It’s raising our children. It’s shaping our future. 

Let’s make the world noisy with kindness. Be kind to your neighbor. Accept people for who they are. Celebrate our stories. Let’s assume we are all doing the best that we can, and let’s help each other do better. You all have showed me how to do it. 

Show up. 

We are stronger together. 

A few years ago, I got an email from my rapist. He wanted to know why I did that to him back then. I considered ignoring him, but I couldn’t. My response was simple. He has a different memory from that day. It has taken me my entire lifetime to recover from what he did to me, and I hope he can find his happiness as well. 

I tip toed around my story in this blog post: Loving Kindness. I wasn’t brave enough to share my truth then, but my heart found forgiveness. Today my heart has the same wish. 

May I be filled with loving kindness

May I be well

May I be peaceful and at ease 

May I be happy

May you be filled with loving kindness

May you be well

May you be peaceful and at ease 

May you be well

Please keep sharing. Please keep celebrating the young woman who was raped in Stanford. Let her feel our kindness. Share her story. Share my story. Share your story. But let’s heal the hearts of our rapist and their families too.  We have to stop the cycle. It doesn’t come from healing the survivors. It comes from healing the attackers. I hope that the Stanford rapist’s dad is able to fully examine how he lives life. I hope the rapist becomes aware of his evil. I hope my rapist can heal and do something wonderful with his life. I hope we can all heal. 

It is not us versus them. It is us. It is all of us. 

Help me make kindness heard. I’m so tired of anger being the only thing we hear. 

May you be filled with loving kindness 

May you be well

May you be peaceful and at ease

May you be happy


I get nervous. 

I get nervous. Every few days, once a week, every now and then, I feel the anxiety attached to taking a leap of faith. Sometimes it consumes me. Other times it quickly leaves. 

Questions roll in looking for an answers. What are you doing? Where are you going? What’s next? Answers are no where to be found. 

This is the thing about leaping. You have to commit. You can’t jump and panic half way. You’ll tumble down, down, down if you let yourself over think. Once you leap, the only choice is to fly. 

A few years ago Christian and I took our mountain bikes to a local trail. It was new to me. I hadn’t looked at a map. I simply followed him. As we biked, the fall foliage quickly covered the trails. It was slippery. I felt unsteady. I couldn’t see where I was going. I got nervous. I started to panic. Where are we going? Which way does the trail go? What’s up ahead? 

Patient at first, Christian looked back to reassure me. All I had to do was follow him and the trail. The more unsure I became, the more I doubted him and our journey. All I had to do was follow him and the trail. 

Anxiety got the best of me that day. I got mad at him. I found my way back to our truck, I tossed my bike aside, and I sat there mad while he biked. I missed the entire experience. I never learned where I was headed or what was next because I didn’t trust the journey. 

Right now I’m half way through my leap. I’m in the phase where trusting is essential. As much as I’d like to think I’m digging in to the work needed to delivery me on the other side, I’m not. The real work right now is letting go. I’m still leaping. No work is required. I’ve already leaped. Can I trust the fall enough to truly let go? 

When the nerves creep in and the questions start to take over, can I trust myself and my intuition enough to continue to leap? 

I’ve stood on the edge of mountains and wondered will I catch myself? I’ve climbed mountains, and I’ve reached the middle wondering if it was smart to do this alone. I’ve always kept going. I’ve always leaped. I’ve always climbed. I’ve always been rewarded. 

Trusting the Fall

Every time Christian and I bike together, his favorite thing to yell at me is a moving wheel doesn’t fall over. You just have to keep moving. Anxiety and nerves make me stop in my tracks. They make me fall over. 

Right now isn’t the time to make my way back to the truck. It’s not the time to toss my bike aside. Right now is the time to embrace the experience. It’s time to live my husband’s advice. 

Like a bicycle, like a wheel, life only builds momentum when you keep moving. In life when taking a leap of faith, you have to trust the motion of rolling. Sometimes faster. Sometimes slower. Sometimes with no clear direction. But always further than yesterday. 

Take me back!

Courage: the Path to Thriving

I thought 2015 was my year to thrive. I thought my focus would be on thriving, on blooming, on flourishing. I feel myself thriving at work. I focus on thriving in my relationships at home. I desperately want to thrive in my running. But another word keeps finding its way to my heart: courage

The Shamrock Half Marathon is twenty-two days away. Every single time I re-engage with my training, a curve ball happens: snow, lack of sleep, higher intensity at work. A focused training plan constantly gets moved to the back-burner. At the end of each run, I look at my garmin to see my running pace. A pace in the mid-nines doesn’t feel like thriving. I want eight minute miles, but I can not possibly thrive in all the areas of my life right now if I have a strict focus on my running. It’s not the balance I want in my day-to-day. As the days get closer to race weekend, I’ve felt anxiety about my own ability to run.

I have a competitive spirit. I like to thrive. I like to do my best. I like to push myself. I like to feel like I’ve overcome my self doubts. I like for my spirit to win the battle when my head says I can’t. Will I be happy running a race in the mid-nines when I have much bigger (and faster) running dreams?

While I’ve been desperate to thrive in my running, a different word keeps finding me. In order to thrive, I need to have courage: courage to let go of the race clock, courage to not let my success be defined by a finish time, courage to show up and to push myself out of my comfort zone, courage to show up with an open heart, and courage to go in with all my heart no matter the outcome

“Courage, dear heart.” ~C.S. Lewis

Running is never about running for me. Running is about my heart.

Today I ran six miles before our town gets buried by more snow. I was joined on my run by only the sound of my feet as I navigated snow-covered paths, sandy trails, and shoreline. As I ran, I couldn’t get this quote out of my head.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a featherbed.” ~Terence McKenna


I came to my blog to find it. I wanted to read my own words. I needed to see the story that belonged to this quote. When I found it, I smiled.

One year ago yesterday, I typed the same quote. One year ago yesterday, I was rejected by Operation Smile. I was told no when my heart was screaming yes. I thought my dream job had just slipped away. The lesson that I learned through that whole process is the one I try to live everyday. I will always show up with an open heart. I will always show up with my heart exposed. I will always give my whole heart to everything I do, because there isn’t anything that I want in my life that doesn’t deserve my whole heart.

I have to have courage to trust the process.

In twenty-two days when I show up at the start line, the only thing that matters is keeping my heart exposed. I will push myself. I will find the courage to trust my own strength and my own story. One year ago yesterday when I was told no, I knew without a doubt that I would never give up on my dreams. I refused to let it change my heart.

“There is one thing I won’t let today’s no stop me from doing. I refuse to stop dreaming. I know, without a doubt, that I will leave my finger print on our world. Maybe I’ll never see it. Maybe I’ll never have that dream job that reaches into the forgotten corners of our planet. Maybe I’ll never get the chance to nurture someone back to health. But maybe I will. Just maybe I will.” ~me

Neither my heart or my story care about the time on the race clock. My only goal is to cross the finish line feeling like I’m thriving. My only goal is to finish this race knowing that my running dreams can still come true.



The Christmas tree is now beside the curb, the new year lingers, and Chet’s birthday is less than a week away. With Christmas decorations put away, the house feels renewed. It’s a blank slate ready for a new year. From my rocking chair in the corner where the Christmas tree once stood, I watch Chet play. An excavator gracefully scoops uno cards into a dump truck to be transported to the landfill strategically placed on the front door mat.

I’ve been off work since last Tuesday. I still have six more days at home to enjoy these morning hours with my children. Mornings are best for Chet. He is well rested and the overtired, over stimulated meltdowns don’t begin until closer to dinner time. During the other fifty weeks of the year, my time during the weekdays with Chet are during the overtired, over stimulated meltdowns. Weekdays are filled with work and school, hurried efforts to get dinner made, and trying to make the most of our few hours together. Most of these evenings are spent tip toeing around Chet’s meltdowns.  These two weeks off from work have been my greatest gift.

As I watch Chet play and explore his imagination, I still can’t believe he is going to be three. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting at home anxiously awaiting his arrival. The look on my husband’s face as we sat in the delivery room when Chet refused to join us in the world is still fresh in my memory. Christian’s words still ring in my ears. The feeling of letting go still washes over my body. It’s a memory I’ll always hold close to my heart. As we navigated his birth, I had so much fear: what if it didn’t go according to my plan. Chet sensed it. He knew. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to welcome him into the world in the most peaceful way I could imagine. It was when I let go of the fear of the unknown, the things I can’t control, that Chet’s birth became about his peaceful welcoming.

Nothing has changed since that day. My hope for raising both Cole and Chet is to guide them down their own path in a peaceful world. As I watch them playing together now to build train tracks in the Christmas-less room, I realize that the only thing that gets in my way is my own fear and my own desire to control day to day outcomes. I forget to trust. I forget to breath. I forget to let go. I forget that life is about the process not the details each day.

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” ~Wayne Dyer

2015 is two days away. Chet’s birthday is in less than a week. We have a blank slate to write our story. So many changes are waiting for us: middle school, Christian working closer to home, and work possibilities that remind me that dreams come true….when you trust, when you let go, and  when you fill your day with love.


Breathing Room, November Edition

During the month of November, I had the opportunity to sit around the table with nine Operation Smile foundations from around the world. Countries from Cambodia to South Africa to Brazil were present in the week long meetings. In the list of the millions reasons why I love my job connecting with people from other walks of life is high on the list. Every day the world feels smaller and smaller. At a dinner one of the evenings I sat across the table from a colleague (now friend) from South Africa. She took my mala in her hands and told me it need to be cleansed. It was cold. The conversation flowed and we talked about my boys. She asked questions. I shared stories. As we talked more and more, she told me my boys are here for a reason. My heart sung as I heard these words. I’ve always believed that our children bring with them a lesson for us to learn. Cole taught me to love. Chet is teaching me to let go. My new friend has a different perspective. Cole is my healer. Chet has something even greater to teach me. He is my root.

This conversation has echoed in my heart in the days since we have met. I believe with my whole heart that Cole is a healer, but how in the world is Chet my root? He is the chaos in my world. He brings out the ugly in me. At the end of the day when I am exhausted and he refuses to sleep, he knocks me out of comfort zone. If anything he has uprooted all normalcy in our household.

This past Saturday I ran my favorite trails. As the miles went by I felt myself shed all thought. It was just me, the sound of the leaves under my shoes, and my breath. I felt free. My heart was floating in my body. As I ran, I stretched my arms out wide. I wanted to fly. I ran down the path and pretended to be plane. I high-fived the Spanish moss. I felt like a child again. I felt free. As I lifted my head to the sky, it started to rain. In that moment, the world and I were one. I understood. Life is about keeping your heart open and spreading your arms out wide to accept all that life has to offer. It’s also about opening up and letting go. My heart continued to soar as I ran down the trail. Why can’t I carry this feeling around with me always? Why can’t my heart always be this open?

It was when I asked myself that question that I understood the words of my friend from South Africa. Chet is my root. In his chaos, in his determination to own his own world, he is teaching me to stay true to my core even when the world spins around me. The lesson isn’t to teach him to sleep or to contain his temper tantrum. The lesson is to trust. The lesson is to know that it is safe to stay open and free in the midst of chaos. I don’t know how to do this yet, but I now know it is my lesson to learn.

It has nothing to do with late bedtimes or two year old tantrums. That is life. That is a normal transition of a child. Learning to remain open has everything to do with me being uncomfortable when I don’t have a solution. It has everything to do with me holding on to tightly to something I can’t control. Hasn’t he been teaching me this since before he was born? Chet’s exploration of life isn’t a problem. How I react to these moments is where I have room to grow.

“This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.”   ~Rainer Maria Rilke


ECSC 5k – Race Recap

“Light tomorrow with today.” ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This morning I lined up for a 5k knowing I’m not in racing condition, knowing that I’ve struggled all summer to find space in my runs, and knowing that 3 miles now feels like a long run. I know all of this, yet I was excited. The timing of this race just felt right. I was ready to test my new running philosophy: accept where I am at today.

But old habits die hard. I did my best not to speculate about finish times, to analyze the few runs I have worn my garmin on this summer to predict my outcome, or to stress that a PR wasn’t a possibility (24:50 for those of you who are curious, 7:59 pace). I only let my brain wander as far as setting a few loose goals for the race outside of enjoying myself and pushing myself on the course.

A perfect day – 27:xx, 8:59 pace (I am well aware that I ran this pace for 10 miles in April. Another true test of my new running philosophy. Could my ego let go?)

A solid run – Low 9s

Crap that sucked – anything over 9:20

I lined up next to a few friends and told them that who ever was having a solid day running was required to run.

Laura and I stuck together for Mile 1. I had previously told her my plan was to hit a 9 minute mile. At some point she kindly told me that if a 9 minute mile was my pace, I was running way too fast. We slowed down, chatted, and had some fun.

Mile 1 – 8:28

In mile 2 I encouraged Laura to go ahead. My stomach was telling me to slow down, but I knew I was in a good spot if I could just hang on. Panicking mid-race has been my weakness this year. When I saw 8:28 on my watch and my stomach started to rumble, I felt panic taking over. My focus quickly become to sit in a pocket that felt comfortable. Don’t panic. Relax. Don’t panic. Relax.

Mile 2 – 9:35 (I may have got a little too comfortable this mile)

Mile 3 was about hanging on. My hip flexors are tight lately. I like to lead with my pelvis when I run. Instead of focusing on the miles or the finish line, I focused on my body. I did my best to keep my hips under me. I did my best to keep my upper body relax.

Mile 3 – 9:16

In the final stretch I found a familiar face. Teresa, the overall female winner today, came back to run me in. She helped squeeze out the last bit of energy I had left in my legs. She reminded me to lift my knees and to use my arms. She took over my thinking since my brain had shut off.

Final stretch – 6:58 pace

Official Finish time: 28:00, 9:02 pace

Finish line fun with some great friends
Finish line fun with some great friends

Am I happy with this run? You bet!

It’s no secret my ego has been attached to my running ability for some time. It’s so easy to get caught up in the race to run further or to run faster. I got stuck in a place that let the pace on a race clock determine my level of success. Today that ego didn’t show up. I hope it’s squashed for good. I ran each mile as best I could. I have happily accepted exactly where I am at right now, not last year, not last month, but today! Coming to terms with this has been hard. My ego put up a good fight. But man, it feels good to kick that ego to the curb. It feels good to enjoy the run!

Today’s run was perfect! It makes me really excited about the fall races I have coming up!

Cheers to a very happy start!
Cheers to a very happy start!