“If you have a body and move it regularly for physical health and mental sanity, suck it up you’re an athlete.” Sally Bergesen.
If I had to describe 2015, I would describe it as a high frequency, high amplitude sine wave. There were a significant number of ups and downs but a constant movement forward. The ups and downs were hard to take, but forward is always a must; and my forward led me to the point where I had a couple of epiphanies.
My first came out on the trails earlier this year and that is; I am a runner. All of my life running is something that I had a love/hate relationship with. Even when I was a child and my cousins would do races on my grandparents farm; I always came in dead last. This year, though, I had a moment where I realized just how much I loved it. Granted, I will never be Sally Bergesen or Anna Frost, but I love to run. It’s the absolute best part of my day getting out on the trails and clearing my head. One of the biggest lessons I learned this year was that when I cut the cord and stopped running with music out on the trail I actually started to run better. My running became more present and more focused. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still slow, but I’m happier. On most days, anyway.
I realized I am not EVER going to be a fast runner. What I do have, though, is endurance. There was a quote by Gunhild Swanson, the oldest finisher of the Western States 100 that encapsulates my running style perfectly; “I can’t out-sprint them, but I can certainly outlast them.” The hike up Hurricane Hill with my brothers where they dubbed me ‘Mountain Pony’ made this crystal clear to me. I may not get there very fast, but I can go all day long. I think this is why I’m actually excited about the Utah 50k with my brother. He’s the fast one in the family and likes to rib me constantly. Perhaps this is where the tables are turned and Big Sister gets to have the last word.
Second, is a more recent realization and one that I am not 100% comfortable wearing just yet, but that is; I am an athlete. I remember the first time that word was used referring to me. I was attempting to do kettlebell swings at CrossFit and one of the coaches said to me after I made a minor correction they wanted in my swing form; “Excellent correction, I see you are an athlete.” No, no. Really, I’m not. When I hear the word athlete, I think of my idols; Amelia Boone, Sally Bergesen, Anna Frost, Rose Wetzel. In my mind those are athletes. They are powerful, graceful, strong, and fast. Definitely not words I would describe myself, especially in the graceful category. Yet, somewhere along the line it had snuck up on me and bit me in the ass.
Huh. Maybe nearing 40 I’ve finally figured out how to operate the controls of this body of mine. I say this and then I look down at the scar on my left knee acquired from landing Superman style not once, but twice, during a trail race. Then again, maybe not.