New Location, New Career, Same Love

It’s been six months since my last blog. To be frank, my life has taken quite a few turns since my Yuengling’s Shamrock Marathon Weekend post.

JB photoLove: I broke up with my long-time beau. We ran many races together since 2016 and he will likely remain the greatest love of my life. But our love simply ran its course (pun totally intended).

Career & Location: In August, I started a new career as a professor in South Carolina. In late-September, I survived the post-Hurricane Florence flood, but my home sustained severe damage. That happened as I officially retired from the Army in October after 20 years of service. My home is currently under construction, but I should be back in my “new” home before Christmas.

The amazing thing about love and loss is that the most painful events underscore the simplicity of life. It took a while, but I’ve embraced these last six months and the many lessons about perseverance, patience, and perspective. Despite it all, my love-hate relationship with running continues to blossom, as does the second part of my life.

Kissed the Asphalt

Not to worry, despite the title I did not do a face plant! I did, however, score a new personal record (PR) during the Bishop’s Events “Kiss My Asphalt” 10K in celebration of Valentine’s Day. The event (which included a 5K race) was in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Green, Red, Yellow

The theme for this race was pretty clever. Runners that were single had the option to select a green shirt (“go for it, ask me out”). Those in a relationship could select red (“Ummm…no thank you, I’m with someone”). Finally, those in a bit of a pickle could select yellow (“It’s complicated…apparently”).

Connecting with Mother Nature

It was a cool 40 degrees this morning and there was no indication the sun was going to make an appearance. The weather forecaster predicted rainfall beginning around 10 am and I can attest, the sprinkles seemed to fall right around that time. The rain fell harder after I made it to the turn around point and remained consistent throughout the rest of the event. I must confess that I truly enjoyed the rain. I just feel more connected with mother nature and even the occasional sloshing through a shallow puddle doesn’t bother me.

Run in the Rain

Picture Courtesy of Run with Jess

The Body will Achieve what the Mind Believes

I credit my PR to a wonderful lady named Mary that I’ve had the pleasure of running with a few times over the last month. She is such a beautiful woman and a wonderful spirit! She is a fast, strong, and passionate runner who has even qualified for Boston (at least once). But she’s very humble and takes time to get to know runners (of various paces) within our Mom’s Run this Town chapter. During our first run, I learned about how she developed a love for running and somewhere along the way she said something that has stuck with me “the body will achieve what the mind believes.” She was very attentive throughout our run and could tell when I needed words of encouragement. When we finished, she grabbed my shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said “MeMe, you’re faster than you think you are, you did great!”

Today, I did not set out to accomplish a PR, I only intended to run my race, without assessing myself in the moment. There were moments where self doubt drifted in my head, but then I thought of Mary. I smiled to myself as her words reassured me, “MeMe, you’re faster than you think you are … the body will achieve what the mind believes!”

The Finish Line

Standing in the rain, at the finish line was my beau … smiling and taking a photo of me as I crossed. He told me “Good job babe!” while simultaneously conducting his typical quick assessment of my physical well-being and asking if I needed anything. Standing a few feet away under their umbrella were my Sole Sisters (Tamara and Monique) who ran the 5K, smiling at me with their finisher medals around their necks.

A special thank you to Armour, Mary, Monique, and Tamara … they were the reason I smiled today.

Kiss my asphalt

I always seem to have that same look on my face at the end of a race …. LOL!