My final days on traincation were fabulous, and, as always, it was incredibly hard to leave. Santa Barbara is my paradise, simply put.
Coming back to Colorado Springs was an adjustment. Not just the altitude (though I’d like to write on that at some point), but life in general. Things are different here. Sometimes it feels like I’m coming home, and sometimes it doesn’t. Proof I’m still finding my footing. It was great to go back to work and see my kids. It’s pretty special that my day gets better by going to work. My first day back I told a swimmer to keep her head down in breaststroke. “But I just want to smile at you!” she told me. Precious. I was also fortunate to spend a weekend in the mountains where I tried snowshoeing for the first time. I must say I don’t recommend going from 0 ft on Wednesday, to 8000 ft on Friday unless you want your watts to match your heart rate, but I don’t regret it.
A few more weeks and weekends have passed. More training, more work, more life decisions like choosing to go back to school and become a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC).
Life is weird like that.
It sneaks up on you.
Today wasn’t a great day. It started last night when I bit the bullet and decided to go back to having bangs. Hang with me here. This is a REAL commitment for a female athlete. They’re a pain in the butt for training, but are fun and I’ve always liked them. Well, as it turns out, in the year and a half since I’ve grown my hair out, I’ve developed a cowlick. I now have fringe that sticks straight out from my forehead. Splendid! My house key later slid between my car seat and center console, burying itself under the tracks on which your seat slides and is forever gone. This left me digging through 7 inches of snow to squeeze through the doggie door in order to get back into my house. Joy! Now my sister is flying in to Denver to spend a lovely weekend visiting and it’s dumping snow. Since my car didn’t make it up the street, there was no chance I’d make it to Denver to pick her up, so I booked her a shuttle back to the Springs. Fantastic! I don’t have snow tires, I can’t find my inhaler, I lost my watch and my paddles, and I had a crappy swim. AWESOME!
So when it was 20 degrees and there was 7 inches of snow on the ground, I was not excited to go for a run. I considered bailing. I was tired and hangry. But I had gotten Yak Tracks for Christmas and was almost looking forward to trying them out. The first step is always the hardest, right? I grabbed my cell phone and started a timer (no watch, remember?), and just went. My face turned into an icicle of sweat and snot, frozen in a disconcerting expression. Soon I relaxed. The snow was so fun, like running on clouds. My face thawed and twisted into something resembling a smile. I passed an older gentleman and commented on his shoes (racing flats, no socks, 7 inches of snow!!). We struck up conversation, I turned down the pace, and we ran together, both of us further than we’d planned.
We talked about sport. The joys of it. The way it can be so healing. The way it can tame demons, or help you run from them; but if you run, how they always catch you. We talked about past experiences, how far we’ve “made it” in sport. And we talked about the selfish nature of it all. To this I told him it was a common misconception, this belief that we must be so selfish to be our best. Yes, the successful ones are generally Type A, but we tend to forget what it’s all about. I told him there was too much joy in what I’m doing to do it alone. I was happy to slow my pace and talk about life. We’re made to be in community and connect with others, and I love the way sport allows us to do just that. He shared with me how he wished he had learned his lesson sooner. He found so much more joy in running now, for fun, than he ever did as a nationally ranked marathoner. His smile boogered face said it all. We parted ways, shaking mittened hands, and I ran off in such better spirits. How easy to have run on by him. How thankful I am I didn’t.
I turned off to another trail in the direction of my car, and caught up with some sledders/snowboarders. “Want to make a snow angel with us?!” Yes I sure did! The snow over my head and down my back was worth it. “Cool! Enjoy your run!”
Couldn’t have been better.