I have always been the kind of girl that fears putting all her eggs in one basket. Why? Because I am terrified to make the wrong decision. I question myself a lot. The question “what if” is on constant reset in my head. What if I fail? What if I succeed? I prefer to try several different things then to focus solely on one. In my head, I refer to myself as an average Josephine – someone who is average at many things rather than good at one. I feel safer in this space. I think it makes me feel as though I have an adequate buffer – like a really good insurance plan.
I wear many hats; woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, manager, dreamer, athlete, and President (charitable organization). Most of these come very naturally to me with the exception of President. I have worked very hard to learn how to be a President and how to lead a charitable organization, despite not having any formal training. I don’t want to get too much into that right now but let’s just say I have learned a lot in the past 10 years as the head of S.Au.S.
I want to talk about me as a “woman” and what has selfishly fulfilled me over the past decade. I was lucky enough to discover running. I discovered running by fluke and have become obsessed with it since day one. I beg anyone who wants to talk running to come on over for a coffee because I can talk about running for hours and hours. To discuss running is to talk about a passion I discovered later in life. My ultimate goal as a runner is to be the oldest lady to cross the finish line. The one that people either scratch their heads in disbelief or are moved to tears by my shuffle.
Today while I was struggling during my long run I had a lot of time to think. Basically I want to share my thoughts on being a runner, a marathon runner in particular. I have been running for 13 years now and have trained for 9 marathons:
Montreal Marathon, Quebec
Green Mountain Marathon, Vermont
Hudson Mohawk Marathon, Albany
Ottawa Marathon, Ontario
Hudson Mohawk Marathon, Albany (Boston Qualified)
Boston Marathon, Massachusetts (DNF – 2013)
Boston Marathon, Massachusetts
Vermont City Marathon, Vermont
Ottawa Marathon, Ontario (DNF)
(at last count I had run 18 half-marathons)
I have had people say to me (when referring to marathon running) – “awe- it’s easy for you now because you have run so many”. The short answer to that is “it is never easy”. If it was easy then what would be the glory in doing it? NONE! When we are at our strongest we want to run faster and when at our weakest we simply want to finish the race. Outside of training we have our work and our personal lives that come into play. If Keyan decides to wake up once or twice the night before a long run then that comes into play on training day (like last night). If there is a lot going on at work with deadlines to meet then that plays on my psyche. Sometimes the daily stress of our lives cause us to use food for comfort and when we eat badly it affects our running too. While on today’s run I often thought of my body that is now 11 years older then when I ran my first marathon. Hence why today I thought to myself “Audrey you have to reset”. I have to erase my past performances and focus on rebooting. I have to rebuild my stamina and endurance. I have to respect the process of starting over and focus on the now. Since my qualifying for Boston I have gained 10 pounds and have slowed down tremendously. I can’t simply wish myself to be where I want to be. I have to work hard to get to where I want to be.
When I think about how far I want to go I realize I have a long road ahead of me. Like anyone else I want it now!!! I want to be 10 pounds lighter and 45 seconds per kilometer faster. I can’t simply wish that but I have to work on it – I have to commit to it. In spring of 2018 I had my first DNF (did not finish) and it really played on my self esteem. I accepted that I didn’t finish the Ottawa marathon because on that day all I had was 17 kilometers in me but struggled to get to 27 kilometers to where my husband was.
I have to reset. I have to remind myself why I love running. What running has brought to my life. How running has saved me. I have to thank my aging body that although slower I am still able to run. I have to readjust my goals. I already know that this marathon will not get me to Boston but I also have to remind myself that being in the race is what is important. If my ultimate goal is longevity, then it’s not always about a PB (personal best).
I am sharing this with you because as a woman who wears a lot of different hats “athlete” is an important one for me. It is selfishly all mine. It is where I go to clear my head. It is where I go to stay sane. It is where I find a desire to want to live a healthier life. Running has uncovered things about me I didn’t know existed. Running is my yoga, my meditation and my sacred place. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to leave the gadgets and gizmo’s at home and feel ourselves in our bodies. Look around at the beauty and be thankful for being alive.
You may ask yourself why do runners feel the need to share their stories? Some see us as people who like to brag…for those people I say did you ever think that we merely want to share what we consider to be something pretty freaking amazing. We secretly hope to inspire you so that you too might reveal a new passion. Regardless of the race, distance or training program running makes us feel more alive then when we are not running. Not everything on social media is a look at me kind of thing but rather a hey why don’t you give it a try you might like it. Running has changed my life and even in this time of reset I am extremely grateful.
We all have our stories and I want to thank you for allowing me to share mine. I simply wanted to share other facets of myself in this blog entry. If you are interested in sharing your stories with me then I encourage you to do so. If you are interested in learning to run PM me. For all my runner friends out there I welcome any words of encouragement to help with my reset.
Thank you for reading