don’t blink

Remembering the reasons why I run…
June 24, 2014, 12:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This past weekend I volunteered at the Queens 10K in Flushing Meadows Park. I really didn’t need to volunteer as I have decided to defer my entry for this years marathon for next and will have a guaranteed spot.

I didn’t want to go because it requires that I have to get up at 5:30 a.m.. But I had told a friend I would go and so I went and it was the best running thing I have done since maybe ever.

I had lost the reasons why I run.

I’ve been meandering through training plans, making false goals, spacing out through runs. Grasping at anything to remind me why in the heck I run. I started the RW run streak. I have been enjoying the challenge of running everyday and the comradery with some others in the neighborhood who have joined in, I have especially enjoyed watching the newer runners or those returning to running begin to really enjoy themselves. But my own running has felt, empty, pointless, lackluster.

Last year I had the marathon it was the centerpiece of every workout, every strength training session, every running related thing was for the marathon. This year I came in uncertain and then became certain that I wouldn’t be running the marathon and this made me a little unhinged. That, and I was battling some serious mental burnout, both running related and otherwise.

But it wasn’t just the marathon thing. I could easily find another thing to train for, another goal to achieve. I just felt flat. Uninspired.

As I mentioned, I volunteered at the Queens 10K. I was lucky enough to get assigned to Course Marshall. Basically I stood from about 8:30-10:00 making sure nobody fell out on the course, and cheering on the runners. Now, I should mention I take cheering fairly seriously. Every runner deserves to be cheered for…every. single. one. And for that matter the last runner should be cheered for just as loudly and as enthusiastically as the first. Because nothing pisses me off more than running in a race and seeing the course marshall, checking their phones, doing the limp wrist lazy clap, or better yet just standing there slack jawed. doing. nothing.

So with that said I was set on super spazz and was a high fiving machine!

What a cure for indifference. Just watching the runners, lifted up the runner in me. And cheering for them and seeing that it clearly lifted them up during a tough part of the race, well it was gift from God. And that might sound a bit extreme but I have been very close in recent weeks to throwing in the towel. Thinking maybe I would try crossfit, or yoga (again) or Tri’s! But this solidified for me that I am doing what I need to do and what I love to do. Exactly what I needed when I needed it. And if that wasn’t enough I met Cynthia.

“When you see the flashing lights you’ll know that your shift is almost over…” That is what our team leader said before he assigned us to our posts. The runners became more and more spaced out…until finally there were the flashing lights of the car that closes the course. Before that car there was Cynthia. And she was awesome.

Face in full makeup and dressed in a Tutu, she was the last runner. I had the pleasure of joining her for her run/walk for about a half a mile. She was in fantastic spirits. She said being caught in the morning traffic made her late for the race and that got in her head a little and she admitted she hadn’t anticipated being the LAST one but that she would finish. When a very attractive, shirtless runner with a mane of dreadlocks offered some words of encouragement saying he would be waiting for her at the finish, she joked about how it was definitely inspiration enough to make her pick up the pace.

She was funny and determined, she wasn’t beating herself up or regretting anything. She was just getting it done the best she could  and in that way she is a stronger runner than me. Seeing the training run splits of fellow runners on Facebook is often enough to send me into a self deprecating tail spin. “Why aren’t I that fast” “What am I doing wrong” Maybe I should try XYZ” Cynthia did me the great service of showing me how to not care about what isn’t important. She was there to finish and have a good time. She had some goals and she met them good enough. Enough. It was enough. At the end of the race we hugged and she said she had a great time and that she would definitely do it again next year. Next year would be her redemption run. But by the way she said it and just her way of being I could tell it wasn’t the “out to prove something” redemption or the “poor me I have to save face” redemption. She seemed to simply want to improve on what she had already achieved. I would run with Cynthia any day. She obviously has this running thing way more figured out than I do.

I always tell people it shouldn’t matter if you are last. And I mean it. It really shouldn’t matter and more importantly it shouldn’t matter to you, you just shouldn’t care. But none of the other crap matters either. Not your friends splits, or the PR that you missed or the workout that was too hard for you to complete. At the end of the day it is all about trying your best. Just try your best.


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