Hey friends! Happy
Monday Tuesday to you! Sorry, I am a whole day late with this. For a little motivation this week, I just want to share a cool experience I had this past weekend. It provided me tons of inspiration, and I hope it does you too.
Over the weekend Handsome and I spent about 15 hours in Lawton, Oklahoma, mostly so I could run the Spirit of Survival half marathon. It was such fun! Just as a running event, it was wonderful. Incredible scenery and perfect weather, a decent workout, felt happy about my overall performance, and came home healthy and injury-free. All great stuff. But much more importantly I was, once again, deeply inspired by other people. That’s what I want to share with you.
I love it when this happens, especially when I am a little unprepared for the spiritual jackpot. When life gives me the chance to meet either strangers, average but amazing citizens, or people I have been watching from a distance and then they blow me away with their generosity of spirit and genuine niceness. This happens pretty frequently. I’m very lucky.
This time the headline connection was with Bart Yasso, world renowned runner and coach, actually dubbed the “World Mayor of Running” and also the “Chief Running Officer” for Runners World magazine. My first exposure to his writings was months ago when I started researching how to gain speed. He has developed a method of interval training called Yasso 800s that is supposed to almost guarantee you a certain marathon time. Exciting!
Okay. I met Bart (Mr. Yassow?) briefly Saturday night, just before his hilarious and deeply moving presentation, and he autographed his book for me. “Marie- Never limit where running can take you. ~Bart” Very cool. Then the presentation was a solid hour of belly laughter and teary eyed listening to the most incredible stories from his life and running career. My biggest takeaways: NO SELF PITY. And, You don’t know when you will be crossing your last finish line, so always be grateful and happy.
That alone would have been enough to inspire me. Then early Sunday morning, totally by fluke, Handsome and I were walking in the dark down the sidewalk, making our way to the start line about half a mile from the hotel, and Bart walked right up to us! Good morning and all that, so friendly. We all three walked the entire way together, just chatting, and I tried hard not to skip and do cartwheels because I had gobs of extra energy. Bart shared even more encouragement, lots more positive vibes, and agreed that here in Oklahoma we have some of the loveliest sunrises and sunsets as anywhere in the world. He resides in Pennsylvania but has travelled the globe for running events. This compliment to my home state made my heart swell. As we walked and chatted, the purple sky to our right was just beginning to crack open, all pink and glowy as it so often does.
So, certainly, meeting this gentleman and gleaning a personal slice of his wisdom made the weekend extra special. I cannot wait to finish reading his book and share more with you guys.
Handsome and I arrived at the starting corral early and enjoyed the view of the American flag, the happy people everywhere, just all the love that was there. Really, truly a lot of love. Why am I always surprised when a running event is about more than just running? We said goodbye to each other and kissed, and soon everyone sang the anthem along with Miss America 2009. Somewhere in the half marathoners’ corral, my new friend Corey found me and we had fun giggling and scoping everyone’s shoes, because we share a love for Brooks.
I forgot to tell you about Corey!
Much earlier Sunday morning, about two hours before start time, Handsome and I were eating a delicious breakfast in the hotel lobby when I saw a girl I wanted to meet. She was dressed in sweats and eating a bagel and banana like me, so… I sort of blurted out a weird greeting in her general direction, no matter that she was four tables away. The subtext was, “Hi! You’re a runner, I’m a runner, obviously we are gonna be friends, right?” It started like that, basically. Then she mentioned she’s from Austin, Texas, and I was like, “Oh my gosh we have friends who live there, do you know Jon and Margi?” That is why I shouldn’t eat breakfast in public. I could literally hear Handsome’s eyes rolling.
Fortunately this running girl from Austin was endlessly friendly and also seemed chill for some early morning random conversation with strangers, so we spent about half an hour getting acquainted while downing last minute carbs for the run. Now? It’s possible we really are going to be friends. She is both a Half Fanatic and a Marathon Maniac. If you think those are arbitrary, purely descriptive phrases for people who just really like to run, let me assure you that it actually means you have to do a lot of work and run some seriously challenging consecutive races to qualify for membership in either of these very real clubs. Corey has earned both stripes. AND she is a brain cancer survivor. AND she and her husband are thinking of starting a family soon. I mean, you guys, she is the real deal; but somehow she put me at ease instead of making me feel like an imposter runner all over again. She was so nice. We saw each other later that morning at a turn-around near mile 8, and I almost hugged her but was tangled up in earbud cords.
The weekend was full of different people, each offering a unique dose of inspiration.
There was the lady who sling-shotted ahead of me then fell behind then sling-shotted, again and again throughout the race. She was running alone and dressed from head to toe in survivor decorations and affirming words. Toward the end of the race, maybe mile 12, I heard her cheering to the open air. “You can do it! You got this! Keep going!” She was aiming the wonderful messages at any and all passersby, but also I think at herself, and it was the sweetest thing. Her singular energy drummed up spontaneous applause and cheering from everyone.
Local running celeb and world record keeper Camille Herron was there. Wow. Just a class act in every way. After breezing past the crowd and winning the women’s half, she returned back down the course to encourage runners. With zeal! I though I had extra energy. This lady blew my mind. I couldn’t stop giggling with happiness, and I cried a tiny bit when I saw her running and clapping low and strong for people. I might have introduced myself and begged for a photo but literally could never catch up to her. “Speedy” does not cover it.
And there was the married couple from Saturday night who welcomed me to sit at their dinner table during Bart Yassow’s amazing presentation. Their names were Robert and Laura. They were completely forthcoming with their own running and life stories, and they even posed with Tiny T for me like it was no biggie. Didn’t even flinch. On Sunday, Laura found me on the course once and we cheered for each other, then I found her at the finish line, all smiles! We hope to see each other at the OKC Memorial next April.
One more big, juicy, heartfelt thank you to husband, also basically my running sponsor, haha! He is the one who texted me that day early this summer, “Check your email woman.” And in my inbox sat registration confirmation to this race. Then he insisted I get new shoes. Then he downloaded all this amazing music, per my request. Then he drove me to an event in which he personally would have had zero interest without mine. He endured not-homemade Italian food so I could be fueled up. He did everything, even took pictures and tried hard to pay attention when I relayed my excitement and did a poor job repeating other people’s stories. He is a truly wonderful spectator-spouse. But you know what’s even better?
The best thing my husband has done is to say that I inspired him to run!! This is huge. He actually ordered a pair of running shoes and intendeds to try the treadmill. Bam. Tiny T and I think things are just now getting good.
Once again… Surround yourself with positive people, okay? Simmer in passion of all kinds. It matters. Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re pursuing, seek out the leaders and trail blazers in that field and learn from them. Dive in. Try stuff. Try harder, do better, stop worrying about being embarrassed or looking fluffy in yoga pants. Just smile at the thought and get started.
Positive vibes are powerful. Accept them, internalize them, emit them.
Over and out.
“Never limit where running can take you.”