Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horses for Courses...

Think about your typical runner dude and what comes to mind? The guy with 3% body fat wearing those little shorts with the slits up the side and a lightweight tank top, flying down the road with feet barely touching the ground? That's who I see. Mostly I think about his expression, his eyes intent on his goal, and a little bitty smile on his face ….because after all he’s totally in love with his run and the feeling…the really amazing feeling.. he gets as he flies through the air.

He’s the mustang. I just stole the name. Actually I had it bestowed on me and I think it had more to do with the song than my running style. But I’ll take it. The mustang is hardy, lean, wild, fast and ferociously loyal…and can run and run and run.

Then there’s the REAL me. I’m your Clydesdale…large, sturdy and strong. Bred for work. Also the mascot of Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer. Just saying. But you get the visual. I just plod along. I heel strike and I don’t use my arms enough. Look up any Bright Room photo and you’ll have confirmation. It’s not pretty. But I run. And I am a runner. Freaks me out really.

Freaks me out as I’m a reasonably normal mini van driving married mother of two kids. I am at least 20 pounds overweight and I will continue to blame my children for each 10 pound butt cheek I possess until someone finds an easy way to solve it…that doesn’t include sacrificing margaritas or the odd glass of wine. Or two. I’m really just a regular girl. But, I can do extraordinary things. And I am surrounded by others who can do extraordinary things. Some know it already, and some are just starting the journey.

I run marathons. Seriously. Isn’t that like the coolest thing ever?? It never ceases to amaze me that an everyday person like me hangs out with extraordinary people who run marathons. That 26.2 miles is a long way to run all in one go. A really long way. A marathon takes heart, guts, sweat and tears and that’s only deciding to sign up for the training … and paying the fee. The race itself becomes a blip on the radar when you think about the journey you travel to get to the starting line. The MTT schedule totals us at 800 miles all done. And that’s if you run according to the schedule. Yet here I go again.

I am blessed to run with a group of extraordinary women ( some celebrities too no less!) who are also training for the Richmond Marathon, among other things. There is a pretty decent age gap between all of us… and we are all very different… yet in so many ways we are all very alike. Because we all love our run, we protect our run… and treasure it for everything it brings us, be it fitness, sanity, company, friendship, motivation, inspiration, each other… even fashion advice. And tall socks.

My runs with these women provide me with some of my favorite things in the world, excluding margaritas …although I would never rule that out. I could drink and run. I could. Maybe not with the nice glass with the salt around the …ok focus…back on track …back to favorite things, many of which have to do with running:

The sound of feet hitting the pavement in unison.
Chafing. Together. (not really a fave but worthy of a mention)
The light of the morning sun peeking up over the horizon.
Knowing that while the rest of the neighborhood is sleeping,
we are completely in the moment.
Constant laughter and the occasional gossip
Knowing we are running toward something, even though it’s different
for each of us.
An outlet for whatever might need to be let go of that morning
The feeling of inclusion, something that has eluded me off and on over the years

Mostly, it’s knowing that they’ll be there tomorrow to run with me again. And the day after that. That’s the coolest thing. I don’t have to run alone.

Best thing about this is that I’ve know these women, these runners, for only about 8 weeks now. It feels like I’ve known them forever. And I hope they are in my life for as long as they can stand it.

I’m the Clydesdale running with the Mustangs…but every now and again I embrace my inner Mustang. No matter which breed you are, there’s a slice of the other breed within you somewhere, whether it’s your past, your future, your self image.…and as one of my “celebrity” run buddies says often, “ it’s all good”.


  1. LOVE. I teared up a bit. I NEED to run with you ladies!

  2. love this! made we want to move to RIchmond =) this 5'11 Clydesdale hears ya on everything! Keep rocking it!

  3. I totally get this. Fantastic post!