Between the weather, work being busy, trying to get the house organized and packed (which I was informed that I am failing miserably at), and PMS, I think I have used up all of my excuses for not sticking to my training plan. Instead, I have been hibernating, sleeping in, and being a lazy slob in general.
Then, I looked at the calender. I am running a 5K in 11 days and I have yet to log enough mileage to qualify as even “mildly substantial.” Womp, Womp.
So in the spirit of failure and un-achieved goals, I forced myself to put on warm clothes and go to the park for a run. When I left the house, it was lightly snowing and it had just started to cover the streets and sidewalks. The wind chill was measuring in at 19*F and I was dreading everything that was to come. Except maybe the iced coffee I knew I would buy on my way home.
I wanted to start out nice and slow, since I feel like I always go hard and then burn out too quickly. This was advantageous for two reasons actually – the beginning of the trail was covered in patches of ice which were disguised by mud! Yikes!!
I love the Bridle Trail at Schenley Park. I love the way it slowly wraps around the side of the hill. I love how surrounded I feel by natural beauty while at the same time being smack dab in the middle of the city. The Bridle Trail is never crowded nor is it desolate like the rapey trail by my house.
I think it holds a special place in my heart because I have a lot of good memories here. When I first moved to the city, I was a mess both emotionally and physically. I remember coming here for a 5K with my roommate and walking it IN FLIP FLOPS while slightly intoxicated. I had no idea what I was in for. That’s so funny to me now for some reason!
Several years later, I did another 5K here – the Greenfield Glide – with some of Christina’s immediate family. There are actually quite a few cousins missing! Yes, this is only PART of her immediate family. Yes, everyone is super close and we see each other all the time. It is amazing.
We all either walked or ran in memory of her Uncle Pat: a marathon running, Golden Gloves boxing Irishman with the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. I will never forget watching his widow cross the finish line last, emotionally flocked by her adoring children and grandchildren. It brings me to tears just thinking about how powerful that moment was.
I walked that particular race because I was afraid for people to see me struggle. I was so new to running that I didn’t even know what chip timing was, so I didn’t even have a chip on! I laugh thinking about how Christina’s dad was breathing down our necks the whole time, power walking right behind us and challenging us not to let him pass us. At one point I’m pretty sure he was smoking a cigarette and still managed to finish just ahead of us! I wasn’t laughing about that 20 lbs. ago but it’s humorous now.
I think of these memories almost every time I run at Schenley and it makes my heart happy. I must’ve spaced out at some point because I ended up missing a turn and making a wider loop than I had intended. I ended up having to climb a MONSTER hill only to be welcomed by all of the stairs which take me up to Schenley Oval and eventually my car.
Miss Negativity (aka the little voice in my head) was bitching HARD the whole time. She was throwing herself on the ground and kicking her feet and stomping around and sighing and insisting that she just was not going to do the hill or the steps or any of it. SO THERE. Hmph.
But…I had to get back to my car.
When I got to the top of the hill, I had survived. Surprise, surprise. And so I made it a point to run the Oval as a sort of victory lap/middle finger to show her that I would be the one to determine where we went and how we got there thankyouverymuch. I actually continued to run the whole way back to my car. Who knew? I finished strong on my so very tired legs, with a huge smile on my face, wings in my heart, and an unusual silence where Miss Negativity is usually filling up space.
I chose to become a runner because I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I wanted to be active and become a healthier person. I never could have imagined all of the things that running has given me. Then again, running hasn’t given me anything really. Running has proven to me that I am capable of so much more than I can imagine. Again and again I am surprised at every one of my achievements. And yet, I continue to improve every day. So, really I gave this to myself.
I am at a point in my life where I honestly feel like I am the best version of myself that I have ever known – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And you know what? That’s a pretty awesome feeling.