fitness and nutrition, friendship

Six Miles of Smiles

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do it this year. The Peachtree Road Race. An Atlanta tradition on the Fourth of July. It would be my seventh in a row. I do like streaks but I still wasn’t sure.

It would be different, of course, just like most of life these days. They spread the event over two days. Much smaller crowds. Vaccination checks or virus screenings. I did it last year solo (virtual) and it was not so fun. But I had a friend ask me to join her so I jumped in. I chose July 3 since I figured it would be different anyways, and it worked better with my travel schedule.

The day-before number pickup event was a disappointment. The usual convention hall of shoe and running pouch vendors, waffle samples, music, and ebullience was just a handful of folks with official merch and the public transportation folks to ease race day travels. I left feeling sort of glum.

Waking on race morning is always hard. It often follows a night of broken sleep, anticipating the event and challenge to come. I made it to parking and on to the train. It was so much easier to park and ride, but I did miss the usual crowd of runners we participate with. I made it to the start line and saw my friend, a ray of light! I took my traditional start line pics and we were off and running.

I hadn’t trained in running much so I had no expectations for my performance. The energy was totally different in the race with dramatically fewer people on the course. But it didn’t take long for me to start feeling lifted. The people on the side of the course seemed especially excited. I made eye contact with many of them and smiled. It was more personal this time around.

And then I smiled for the next six miles. My friend was often ahead of me but we still connected a few times. It was surprisingly cool out. With fewer runners there was far less of the usual bobbing and weaving around the different paces. Smooth sailing throughout, really.

It actually felt a little emotional to be there, running and smiling after the grueling mental marathon of Covid-19. I nearly cried at times, but I still never stopped smiling. I thanked the police, the volunteers, the people who came out to hand us water, even all the trash collectors who line their trucks up across the cross streets to keep the runners from being plowed down by anyone who would wish harm on the runners of the World’s Largest 10K.

I watched the miles and milestones tick by. My legs ached. I thought to myself, I am creating the future. I am putting my steps in and my votes in for hope. For health. For persistence. For triumph.

I crossed the line just under 4 minutes faster of my time two years ago. I felt so great for having done it. The one Coke I allow myself each year tasted as sweet as it ever has. It is wonderful to be out challenging myself and participating again. May the miles we still have to go be as joyful.

perspective

Half Way

50% Of the year is gone! Just like that. I feel like I blinked. Good thing I have a ton of pictures, journals and memories to recount my shenanigans from a-z.

I’m feeling pretty accomplished at the half way point. How about you?

I’m feeling thankful for my experiences this far. After living through a pandemic, I value each and every experience. How about you?

I am learning new things in 2021. I’m even joining a book club that isn’t really about books. How about you?

I’m taking risks this year. Some may yield results while others may be about the journey. How about you?

I’ve had my fair share of struggles. I’ve learned to dust myself off and get back on the saddle even when my pride is bruised. How about you?

I’ve had my learning moments. Owning them all. How about you?

I have enjoyed traveling a bit. This may be my favorite part of the year so far. Exploring new places while meeting new faces.

I look forward to many things each day but one fun part of my day is flipping my daily calendar. Not my work calendar. Not my carpool calendar. My special flip-the-unexpected calendar page. My gag gift from a dear friend. Who would have known this gem would make my year so fun. I even exchange daily posts with friend who has a unicorn calendar. While hers is all lollipops, gummy bears and happy motivational moments, mine is full of shits, giggles, swearing and many other not so polished or perfect sayings. That’s probably what I love the most about it. Maybe it’s the swearing will help note that gets me through the bad day. Maybe it’s the you are magical as fuck signage that gives me some extra pep in my step. It could be the PSA needed for people around stating this is an Asshole FREE zone! Or it could just be a reminder of where we are in the year. 

Half way to somewhere hopefully. Half way past the bullshit of yesterday. Half way to 2022 and my next birthday. Whether half full or half empty at this point in time, I’m reflecting on what is. What was. What can be. 

Who am I. Who was I. Who will I become.

Who’s with me. Who’s yesterday’s news. Who’s ready to meet me.

As I wrap up this post full of questions, I offer you a dare. Dare to be different. Dare to make the second half better than the first. Dare to dream. Dreams can become reality. Enjoy what’s on the horizon.