Trail Run Thursday Week 3: Joy of Community

Hello, hello! I know I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately, but bare with me. I come and go and you’d probably much rather read an enthusiastic post than some dribble that rolls out because of obligation. No obligation here, alright guys? So! First & foremost Happy Thursday! As you might have noticed I’ve rolled over from Throwback Thursdays to Trail Run Thursdays where I ramble a little bit about running. Coincidentally, it’s not always just running – it turns into a story about life too ya know?

Well, my running ‘schedule’ got a little crazy with my travels and all of the adventures of life last week, but I managed to get in some runs Wednesday-Friday, so I’d feel somewhat prepared for the Palace Saloon 5K on Saturday. This is a race I’d been looking forward to since my very first 5K last August. All through college I saw the t-shirts around town, and when I “became a runner” I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. Well, as it got closer it held a new significance in my mind because from what I’d read, it’s one of the fastest (and oldest) 5Ks in Tallahassee. I had a goal for myself to break 25 minutes in a 5K this year, and I knew if I worked hard this could be the one. As it got closer and all that craziness went down, I decided not to put too much pressure on myself because I wanted to enjoy it and there would be other races if it didn’t work out. Well, Saturday was a cool morning and I met up with my cousin Tim and his group and we did a couple warm-up runs. We met at the bank by McDonald’s and the rest of the group hopped in the truck to drive over to Messer Fields. We jogged there. At the crosswalk Tsige was standing there and I got so excited I screamed! At that point, I didn’t have her phone number, so it was the first time I’d seen her since our last trial run and her husband had been running Boston and I had been dying to talk to her! We hugged and dove into conversation, it was really nice and somewhat of a relief. We hung out at the fields for a bit and then went on another warm-up run. I was feeling good and excited (plus it was cooler than I thought it’d be because the sun wasn’t shining, so it definitely helped with that!) I ended up racing with Tim for the first 1.5mi and that really helped me hold onto the pace I needed. At the hill, I just told myself – if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. I ended up finishing with a new PR of 24:40 and it was such an exciting feeling. I found people I knew during the race, and I love that too. I might have my goals, but I don’t ever take it too seriously – it’s too fun for that! I saw and talked to a sorority sister, a friend from Gulf Winds, my running buddy Tsige, my boss’s wife, and the list goes on. My cousin Sara lives right by the Palace so she came over with her dog Darla, and we all hung out for a bit. It was just a really fun morning, I was on that high of endorphins and adrenaline, mixed with that excitement I had for achieving that personal accomplishment. Plus it was exciting to see all the blue and yellow ribbons in support for Boston, (and the really awesome banner they had made for everyone to sign to send to the Boston Athletic Association!)

Those are post Palace pics!

Later, I’ll fill you all in on my Orlando concert experience of seeing Andrew McMahon on the Beacham on Saturday night, but that doesn’t really have to do with running. It does have to do with how awesome the weekend was though, and how much got packed in, and how I think it caught up to me since I went to bed at 930 on Sunday night! Following post-race hangouts, (and a little bit of beer and a taste of bloody mary because it was the Palace after all) I went home and showered and ate breakfast and headed on over to Orlando. Sunday morning after a great visit with JD and Tony I got back in the car and came back. I changed into my running clothes at a rest stop in Madison, and I arrived over in Southwood just in time for the 5.2 at 5 for Boston memorial run. I am so glad! There was an incredible turnout (more than 1,000 people!,) and it was a really inspirational experience. We sang the national anthem together, and “Sweet Caroline” and it was really touching. Tim and I ran together again (he slowed his pace down for me.) It was a hot, muggy run (because I wouldn’t normally run in the sun at 5pm) but it was wonderful. We hung out in the parking lot chatting for a long while afterwards, and like I said – I was exhausted! I didn’t even feel like making dinner, so after picking up a tuna sandwich from Jimmy John’s, and taking a shower – I crashed.

Tim, me, and Carson post-run in the parking lot.

Someone had a remote control helicopter flying over the crowd, and it turns out it was a video camera! My friend Brian sent me this video – it’s pretty cool, check it out!

Monday, the events of the weekend kind of caught up to me. There was so much excitement, and activity, and driving! I was feeling kind of sluggish (I’m sure my off kilter eating habits weren’t helping me out any.) Part of me was thinking I might  not go to the week three meet-up of Trailblazers, but by the end of the day I was like no! I was disappointed I missed last week, and it’s such a good start to the week! Plus, Tsige called me and having a running buddy is so encouraging. Of course, then I got stuck in awful rush hour traffic on my way to the trails and there was a disabled vehicle making the road I was on one lane, with one of those trade off deals, so I was late. BUT because life is awesome – there were people waiting at the crosswalk, to run with the “stragglers” through Forest Meadows. So, I made two new friends and we did two laps through the woods together – talking about all sorts of things. Central Florida, Mexico Beach, kayaking, cycling, motocross, (those last two I listened intently obviously not having experience in those areas haha) how we got into running – all sorts of stuff! After we made the loop two times, we were back at the entrance and mingling for a minute and then the group Tsige had been running with finished up. She was so nice about how she’d been worried I’d get lost because I was late and she kept an eye out on her phone in case. Running friends are awesome friends. I joined that little group and we did one more loop! (So much for “taking it easy” on Monday, I had planned on doing 2.5 or 3 miles, but that turned into 5.) But it was awesome because it gave me a new surge of energy, and those trails (of course!) were beautiful.

It just made me extra grateful for the community I’ve found in running. All of these days. At first I thought it might be a bit ambitious, or taking too much on pushing myself a few days in a row – but it was totally worth it. (And why I took two rest days this week, so I’ll be in shape for the Rose City 10K on Saturday.) It just filled my already full heart with an added appreciation for these people. I am just very content with where I am in life right now, and it has been a long time since I could say that. The fact that it’s not very conditional is so key, and important, and extra exciting. These new relationships I’ve formed (and older ones that were strengthened) just give me a new perspective on life. It’s been a really cool experience to get to know new people of different ages from different backgrounds, and to see support of each other in action. Picking up running changed my life, but I’ve seen it change even more as I’ve built relationships with people through running.

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