My last run in 2011. And it was glorious.
First, our Moms on the Run running group was rolling deep...15+ mammas for this run and I was pumped. Mainly because it meant everyone would bring beer so we would have more than enough to tie on our early morning buzz. Second, which is really related to #1, I hired a babysitter to watch the kids. So no guilt about needing to rush home after leaving my poor husband with our kids all morning. Third, and to your disbelief I know, was the most important. I have had a lot on my mind lately, and I needed a good, hard, long run to work it out. (yes, that was supposed to sound dirty....if you have ever taken one of my classes you know that's how I roll)
I think it is pretty common amongst women, especially moms, to always have on the strong brave face. Holding it all together, because, to be honest, we don't have time to lose it. We have jobs, families, houses to run, and children to raise. F, we are the glue that holds it all together. So getting sucked into stuff that might be eating at us just isn't an option. Until, or course, it eats away too much.
I had reached my 'wall' and I needed to break through it. Only, I don't know how to break down on my own. For some reason, I need to feel it on the road, before I can feel it in my head. Running is very symbiotic to my life, and I knew what I had to do.
If you have seen the Biggest Loser, it's amazing what the trainers can get out of their clients during an extremely difficult workout. They spill the beans about everything going on in their life, how they got to where they are, etc. It's not because of the questions the trainers ask, but simply because the contestants are exhausted. They can no longer hold up the wall that they have been keeping up around them.
In the same sense, when kids are exhausted, they are an emotional nightmare. And that is exactly what I needed to be.
To push past a wall in my running breaks me down, and in doing so, gives me the strength and confidence needed to break down walls in my regular life. If I can achieve something once thought impossible in racing....then I know I can do it in real life. Like muscles, you have to break them down, in order for them to grow stronger.
I started off my 10 miles running with the wifey, and our crew of 15+. Feels good to be such a bad influence on these girls ;). The wifey and I haven't run together in what seems like forever, so it was a nice treat to have her by my side. She let me know early on she didn't want to keep my pace for too long. And that was ok with me, I needed to run alone today. To have no distractions, to let my emotion flow through my head, and hopefully soon, out of my body.
She backed off at about mile 3, I put my other ear bud in, and cranked up Pandora. The path was full, so it was easy to keep my strong pace (yes, we all know how I do with an audience). Checking my pace, 8:30, then 8:05, then I settled 'comfortably' at a 7:45 pace.
I flipped at 5, and got to see all the hot mamas run past me. I lifted my shirt for the sports bra flash, and gotta love that I got it back from a few of the girls! God I love my running club!
I took my Gu at mile 6, and sped up to a 7:05 mile. And then I quickly backed back down to 7:40. At about mile 7 I started to feel spent. With the training I do I really have no business running this pace. But, I was on a mission.
I promised myself I just needed to hold on til mile 9....and the last mile would be smooth sailing. And that it was...sortof.
As I crested the last hill, and began my downhill coast to the end, I sped back up. I fought to finish strong, and I got faster with every step. I could feel my wall breaking down, as tears started to roll down my cheeks. I was broken. I pushed down the wall I had been trying so desperately to hold up. And it felt good.
As I sprinted to my finish and stopped my Garmin right at 10 miles, the tears rolled out like a flood gate. I turned around to walk, and got hi-fives from the runners I had passed just a few steps back.
I walked down to the water, sat with my head in my hands for a bit, balling my eyes out, and then- took my shoes off and walked into the water. Now I know they say that salt water is the best therapy you can get. And on this day, I got it in all 3 forms. Sweat, Tears, and the Ocean.
So here's to you 2011. I left a portion of you that needs to stay behind out there on the beach. The rest of you is coming with me to 2012: The. Best.Year.Yet.
And how can it not be with friends like this?