I am the new kid.
In running groups, at work, in my new, daily life here I am the new face in the crowd.
It’s not a bad place to be, and if you know me just a tiny bit, you’ll know I thrive on having people not know what to expect.
In Boston, I fell into regular patterns; the same tried-and-true running routes; the same running partners I could count on, the familiar… the known.
Now? It is ALL unknown.
Tonight, I went for a run with a group from a local running store here. My friends at work invited me (because they are awesome) and I knew it would be a good way to meet people and get the lay of the land.
And for the first time in a long, long time I felt intimidated just THINKING about going.
I run slowly. For real. I have fast buried in me I’ve been able to haul out for some 5ks, but on the whole my pace hovers right below 10 minute miles.
I know better than to be intimidated by runners, simply because we all started someplace and I’ve only met one runner who wasn’t supportive of just running despite my pace.
I also know better than to worry about such silly things when I just moved to a new place, haven’t established any routines yet, and am most proud of the fact that I can get to Wegmans and back without winding up in New Jersey.
But, I still had that moment today.
That moment where the girl who started running 2 years ago spoke up inside my head and said “this is why you never tried running in the past– you were scared you would suck.”
In just over a week, I’ll run the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon back in Boston.
And I don’t care what that girl says about hitting her goal pace, or wanting to break some personal record.
Why won’t I care?
Because tonight I remembered running has always been about more than goal times and paces (though DUDE is it amazing to crank out a new PR). It’s always been about how it makes me feel.
Tonight, running with a great group of people, in this strange new place I’m learning my way around, I felt joy.
And I kissed a mule.
And to think, for just that split second today, I debated not going.
Maybe I am getting stronger. In all the ways that count most.