As if running down the west coast of California in a van full of the Internet wasn’t enough, when we were gathering to begin that journey I agreed to run another half marathon come June. Truth be told it wasn’t really about the running at that point, just like running Ragnar was more about getting to hang out with amazing people in a small confined space for 48 hours. This was about going to the city of Forks where the Twilight books are based, then going to run 13.1 miles. Essentially the conversation in Nicole’s apartment went something like…
Me: (looking at the million twilight books and critical essays congesting her bookshelf) Are these all of yours?
Nicole: Yes, I’m obsessed. Don’t worry, we’re running a half marathon in Washington so we can go to Forks.
Me: Umm, THAT’S AMAZING.
[incoherent ramblings about amazing glittery vampires and how running is clearly supporting the cause by having a race in a neighboring town]
Nicole: You should definitely come.
Me: OKAY, YOU CONVINCED ME.
This trip was incredible on so many different levels and I was legitimately on a happy-high for weeks after retuning. I wish it was possible to bottle up that emotion to experience over and over again because it breathes new life into you, and gives me such a healthy dose of perspective. When is the app for THAT coming out? Smug-as-Fuck-omatic app, someone get on that.
Above all else this was a huge self-realization weekend for me and here were some of my big takeaways:
Get Your Chi On.
You guys, there is so much nature out there! Which I mean, duh. But when I’m running the boardwalk everyday I look at the ground because I’ve seen it before and the taste of pavement is really not the best. But truly the northwest is fucking beautiful everywhere and I couldn’t get enough of it. I have over 200 photos from just day one of trees and we didn’t even have a full day of frolicking in the nature. There is something incredibly humbling about walking through a giant forest of trees and knowing that while we are all typing away at our busy lives, they’re out there making us air and being contributing members of the ecosystem. Thanks trees.
Love What You Love.
I also get so terribly wrapped up in money all the time. As in, I’m always straddling the line of “well I need to save for my future because offspring, and car troubles, and retirement”. Then the “hey, remember how you are in your 20’s and it’s okay to enjoy your life?” And then here are all these trees and beautiful waterfalls and God or Mother Nature or whoever was like “here are all the pretty things FOR FREE, you’re welcome!!” And just…I felt so amazing and zen when I came home. That is a real thing people – get yourself some zen.
For a long time when I knew I was not religious anymore, depending on the company I was with I would alter my answer of whether I was or not because I knew people would judge me for one answer or another. I absolutely hated doing that because I was either lying to myself or to others instead of just owning how I felt and what I did or didn’t love. The thing is, I could go on and on about why I love Twilight, why it was amazing to go to actual Forks, and why I excitement cried when I saw the Cullen house. (And I mean if you want to, email me.) But not everyone wants or needs to hear that but if someone were to ask, yeah I heart Twilight and I’m happy to talk about it. The difference is, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone around you any favors by pretending to be anything or anyone other than yourself. If you were obsessed with juggling or sloths or whatever, sure I might not get it. But I would respect that that is your passion and you owned it. It just doesn’t make any sense to me anymore to not be who you are 100% of the time. It’s exhausting and if you are surrounding yourself with people where you feel the need to be anyone other than who you are? Probably not the kind of people you need.
Being the Best Kind of Adults.
For anyone that has ever read my writing, you know that I have struggled with knowing and doing what I actually want, versus what I think I should be doing or wanting. Last year more than ever I focused on deciding what I wanted out of life, friends, and relationships and it is manifesting itself in what I am doing now. Four grown ass women decided to make money, register for this half, come spend all this time in beautiful nature and support a couple friends in making some magic happen. We chose to go to bed early, eat smart, wake up early to run, and all for what the cost of a box of crackers would be. In my world, that is what being an adult is. Having not just the ability to do something but taking action, and being honest about what you really want. So many people say things like “oh I wish I could do that” in response to x, y, or z things I’m doing. Well do you, really? Because if you do, then do it. Make it a priority. You are a grown up, you need to take the initiative to decide if something is actually what you want. If so, figure out how to make it happen.
Finding Your People.
Tying in to the Love What You Love takeaway, your people are the people that love you, no matter what weird things you love. Sure, some of the girls were not the biggest Twilight fans if you could call them fans at all, but regardless they came, they saw, and they were amazing. And when they want to fulfill some dream of theirs that isn’t necessarily my passion? I’ll be right there to support them and capture them excitement crying on video, because that’s what your people do. It’s no secret I’ve struggled to keep friends my entire life especially as I’ve so drastically changed my lifestyle over the years. But this weekend was definitely spent with ‘my people’. How do you know when you’ve found your people? When you don’t want to strangle them after spending a million hours in the car with them. They are willing to travel for their first half marathon and cover themselves in glitter. You can have deep conversations about kids and marriages yet also play the most provocative game of Would You Rather you have ever played. They are accommodating, understanding, hilarious, and wonderful people.
On top of all the self realizations and constant happy peaking of this entire weekend, at the end of it all I ran my second half marathon. MY SECOND. Last year at this time I had done a 5k and was convinced that I never wanted to run a further distance. The whole time during the race was something like:
“OMFG this race is the cutest! We are all starting together because its so small, because its the cutest! Look at all those trees!! So many trees. God the northwest is beautiful. SO MUCH FRESH AIR. Time for my bad boy romance audiobook. Yay. Mmm…grass, trees, COWS! We are in the middle of nowhere. And it’s lovely. I feel great. Legs, you are doing a great job, good for you. Water station! This is the cutest water station, they have cowbells. [around mile six] Well those miles flew by. This was the point in my last half that every mile was the furthest I have ever run. Why am I doing this again? I remember my leg hurt like a bitch last time. It isn’t hurting yet. You’re fine. Except I’m tired. My legs are getting tired. Fuck. Nevermind, everyone loves my glitter, glitter-high forever! Why are the mile markers so off of my gps…? How far are we running fools?! Is this really mile 10?? Oh my god these trees! It’s so fucking beautiful! Also this audiobook is great and I love, love. God, I want to be in love. Oh I love nature, and the people I’m with, this weekend has been THE BEST. Oh jeeze I’m having a moment. Am I crying? Or is that sweat? What is happening?? Aaaaahh too many emotions this needs to end. Okay, pull it together, just listen to the story. Okay I’m good. I love this story. My leg doesn’t hurt at all and I only have a couple more miles! Wait, why doesn’t my leg hurt? What’s wrong? Why does something have to be wrong, calm down. I just feel so good! These entire weekend has been so happy and this run feels amazing, this isn’t real! I probably actually passed out four miles ago and this is my hallucination in the ambulance. You are losing it, you have like two miles. Okay gravel. Why? Also, so many little hills. Why? Aaaaahhhh I see water!! Puget sound! Ice bath! I’m ready for this to be over! Where am I?! It’s so pretty! CONSTANT PEAKING. This is it. All of this. This is why I run.”
After I crossed the finish line this little man that looked like the grandpa from UP gave me a Gatorade and a medal and a hug. When everyone finished we took group photos before stripping naked in a parking lot to put on our bathing suits on (because we just all ran 13 miles, and we can.) and jumped into the ocean for a community ice bath. Which even though was terrible at first, but was also the best – like everything else this weekend. That race was the cutest and the best I have felt when running, I already know its going to be the race by which I judge all other races.
So what do you do when you return from a weekend of constant happy peaking with the best people? Well you appreciate knowing who you are better, and realizing what you need to be happy and how to make than happen more often. You plan all the adventures with these people because what is even the point of not partaking in life with people who are clearly willing to try new things? Life is too short not to know what you love, and love the shit out of it.