A person, animal or thing that runs, especially as a racer.
To move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride.
By definition, I suppose I can call myself a runner. Except of course, after I fell short this past weekend, I’d have to omit the word “swiftly” in order for it to be a truly accurate depiction of how I run.
When I first took up the sport, my purpose was strictly for the sake of vanity. I could spot a runner’s body from a mile away and I aspired to look the same. Though the physical aspects are still a big factor in my continual quest to improve my running prowess, a quarter century later I’ve found other benefits that matter just as much.
I’ve learned to use running not only as a means to exercise my body, but more importantly, my brain. Running provides me with a sense of solitude that I love and quite frankly need at times. When I crave a little escapism from my life, I use the running to literally run away! I tune out the chaos, put on my funky headphones and just Forrest Gump it!
However, I do consider myself a team player so when an opportunity presents itself for me to pay it forward, I rarely take a pass.
I should have known that committing to a half marathon in late April would be torture given the South Florida climate, but when I learned it would benefit the Diabetes Research Institute I couldn’t say no. Not to mention, the race wasn’t local, so I’d have to spend the night in a hotel that was more geographically desirable to the starting line. Hmmm, a night in a beautiful hotel? Sans husband and kids? Egyptian cotton sheets with a high thread count? AND a complimentary breakfast to boot? Screw the humidity… Sign me up… I’ll do the damn race!
The night before any long run is especially exciting because I get to go nuts with the carb loading! I sat across the table from my friend, another avid runner whom I recruited for the event, and we studied the menu in great detail. As anxious as I was to order my pasta, my pint-sized friend was even more anxious to order her glass ( umm, plural) of Pinot. Before I knew it, I was graciously accepting our server’s offer to bring me yet another Dewars on the rocks. (I couldn’t possibly allow my friend to drink alone… I’m a team player, remember?)
Most experienced runners will tell you that as with anything, some days are better than others. Realistically, every race can’t be your best. I was hoping to achieve my goal of finishing this half marathon in less than two hours. However, twenty seven minutes into the race I could already smell the recipe for disaster brewing.
HEAT + HUMIDITY + HEADACHE = HELL
Just because I wasn’t going to set a record didn’t mean I was going to give up. I’m a lot of things but a quitter isn’t one of them. In previous races, there have always been tons of enthusiastic spectators who helped to keep me motivated. It’s an adrenaline rush to feel the positive energy coming from random people when you need it the most. And when you actually know the people on the sidelines cheering for you… well, talk about a runner’s high! Unfortunately, the crowd at this race was slim pickens. And by slim pickens, I mean there wasn’t a soul in sight. All alone around the 7th mile marker, my only choice in order to keep pushing forward was to channel my inner strength. And then, something so unexpected (and fabulous) happened.
As competitive as I am, I’d never pass up the chance to get a good laugh even if it was at the expense of losing my edge. Since my edge was clearly gone by the third mile, I didn’t have to think twice as I got up close and personal to capture this great moment!
Watch the video below to see the two cheerleaders who gave me the incentive I needed to keep the momentum going! The image of the repetitive chanting from this dynamic duo had me cracking up for the next three miles. Sometimes, timing really is everything!
Beggars can’t be choosers, but by the eleventh mile I had already said goodbye to my new friends and the warm bug juice at the hydration station wasn’t cutting it. I really needed a stronger jolt of energy.
Music is a huge motivator and as far as I’m concerned, selecting the perfect playlist is a vital step to ensure peak performance! My taste encompasses many different genres of music; but all of which, when chosen correctly are intended to morph me back to a place or time that makes me happy and gives me a boost. For instance, when I hear the Four Seasons song December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) or pretty much any song by Blues Traveler, my brain instinctively takes me back to the good ‘ol days where I’m specifically sitting on top of the bar, in the far back corner, with a bandana on my head, drinking watered down beer out of a plastic cup. Or more generally speaking… being at every GWU graduate’s favorite place, The Exchange on 17th and G Street. (GW peeps, can’t you just picture it?)
The next few songs on my shuffle really didn’t matter because I was too caught up thanking my lucky stars for managing to survive four years of collegiate shenanigans! However, once the enormity of that miracle passed, I was back to relying on my tunes! Hot, sweaty and quickly running out of steam, I couldn’t actually see the finish line but I knew it had to be close. I needed something major to get me to the end. And then, just like that, as if he heard my plea for help, Adam Levine showed up! The sound of this man’s voice blasting in my eardrums was magical. After listening to three of his hits in a row who wouldn’t be re-energized?
If You Love Somebody you’ll want to Move Like Jagger through the Daylight
and hightail your ass right to the finish line!
I wasn’t thrilled with my official time but I completed the race and have a new medal to add to my collection. I supported a great cause and I learned that regardless of my less than stellar performance, I was still able to have fun along the way. Once my knees rest up and the weather cools off, you can be sure I’ll be back at the starting corrals to do it all again! I’m determined to keep it up so that one day I achieve my ultimate goal!
AND JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… On the outside chance that Adam Levine is reading this blog, I want to make it crystal clear that here I am waiting… and I DON’T have to leave soon! He can take me by the tongue and know ME whenever he wants. He can also kiss me ’til I’M drunk (which doesn’t take much) and he can show ME whatever the hell he damn well pleases! I really wanna dance the night away so I can show him that he’s not the only one who’s got the Moves Like Jagger and should he be so inclined, he most definitely can take me all the way!
Ciao for now.