Saturday, October 3, 2015

Being Grateful

If you haven't heard, Hurricane Joaquin was suppose to drop down on Hampton Roads and ruin everything I had planned this weekend. This weekend was supposed to be my 1 year anniversary of my first half marathon, Crawlin Crab. I was pretty bummed. So was my wife, my running friends and everyone else. Even though the hurricane went offshore and it will probably be nice, J&A Racing did the right thing by cancelling it for the safety of the runners and spectators. The sad part is I will miss the rescheduling because it is the same day as my full marathon. I was also bummed because I was going to race and PR again. That won't happen and that kind of sucked.

But then my running buddy, Steve posted an article on Facebook called, 5 THINGS SUCCESSFUL RUNNERS NEVER DO and it dawned on me. #5 was "DON'T FORGET TO BE GRATEFUL" which hit me really hard. Sometimes we get so caught up in this notion that the race is the most important thing. But the last quote said it best, "We forget that the true beauty of running is the ability to do it at all, that our bodies are letting us engage in this wondrous process of rapidly placing on foot in front of the other. To be able to run is a gift and one that should not be taken for granted." For me, that is so true. Last year, I was just happy to finish my first half marathon. And sometimes we just need to be reminded.

So today, I am going to be grateful for everyone I have around me when it comes to running. I am three weeks away from my first marathon and I am super stoked. I have an amazing family that supports me (which I appreciate because I know how much time I have been away somedays). I also have an amazing training team, running partners and pacing group. Instead, I am going to talk about them.

First off, if you follow me on Instagram or on here you probably have noticed the #trainjanda hashtag. Here in Hampton Roads we are pretty lucky to have an awesome running community including our local running store, Running Etc, local running groups like Tidewater Striders, and our local racing company, J&A Racing, which organizes the Shamrock Marathon weekend and many more big running events. The cool part about J&A is that they have a training team. The best part is that I have been part of it since last winter. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into by pacing but it sure has been awesome. We also have an awesome coach in Ryan Conrad who runs the training team. He is the perfect fit to lead and organize a program like this training team. I have been lucky enough to be part of it for almost a year. I am also to call so many of these peeps my friends. So many of them.

I actually have the best group, 12+ minute pace group. Every weekend they come out and keep pushing themselves. Some of them are newbies, some are veteran runners and some are in between. But all of them are awesome. They literally motivate me each week. Do you know how cool it is to run with someone on their longest run ever? Or their fastest run ever? That is all I do every weekend. I get to basically watch them kick ass and be awesome. That is why my group gave themselves the nickname #teamawesome. And they are truly awesome people. I could go on and on about all of them, past and present. I can’t say enough about them because truly they are epitomy of awesome. I also need to thank them for all the great moments I have had with each and one of them.

Then there is #deezrunninghoez. HA. During the Shamrock training team, I didn't really get to meet a lot of the difference pace groups, especially the quicker groups . But after Shamrock the training team kept on meeting up and I starting running with a few around 9 minute pace. At first I was pretty nervous because I didn't think I could keep up because I hadn't run that fast long distance before. One of their favorite stories is me asking them if I could tag along. From April until now, I have been running with them ever since and having amazing training partners is worth its weight in gold. I was just lucky enough to meet these crazy kids. Somewhere along the line we gave ourselves the nickname #deezrunninghoez and it has since stuck. And since it was one of them that gave me the idea of being grateful for what you got, I wanted to talk about each and everyone of them.

John aka Chili Dog himself. John is the silent leader. He is a veteran of running and the Navy. He is typically quiet but pretty funny once he does say something. He is very terrible at calculating distances for runs (My first 16 miler was a wee bit longer thanks to him). But he keeps the eye on the prize every week and keeps us up to date with our countdowns to our races.

Kim aka Juice. I don't even know what to type here. But she is the meaning of being a bad ass. She is a multi Boston Qualifier. She has run like 1,000 marathons and she runs faster on tequila. She also has the biggest heart and most positive personality you could find. She is always a cheerleader not just for me but to every runner she meets.

Amy aka Happy is my long lost DMB pal. She loves to gel numerous times on runs and everytime she does her paces goes up about a minute. She is nicknamed Happy because she literally says hi to everybody we see running (including the little kid on the bike she almost kicked over). She is like the sister I never had.

Steve aka Trouble. I don't know how he got his nickname but I am guessing it came from his wife, Becky. Steve is a machine. First off, he started running about the same time as me and Crawlin Crab was his first half marathon too. Crazy how paths cross. Second, He is also our elderly member of the group. Sometimes he forgets that he's almost twice my age. I really hope I can be as fast as him when I am older. He is just constantly the always a positive guy. And has a great name too. He is the glue of our gang.

Then there is Mandy aka Meghan aka Amy2. Lol. Mandy joined the training team for the fall and she is training for her first marathon too. She started running with us during mid summer and has been killing it too. I actually think she has the most 20 mile runs under her belt (I think she has run everyone's 20 milers even though we are all training for different marathons). Mandy is also another awesome person to talk with and run with.

Somehow they gave me the nickname Beast (As of last night, my official nickname is El Burrito).

But today I am grateful for all these people. As I have to taper the next two weeks, I will think about all the sweat and miles I have put under my feet with all these people and remember how grateful I am to have such awesome running friends. I can't thank them enough.



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