Back again. Mo is back. Tell a friend.
Hey Salty readers and my fabulous fellow Salty writers, I missed you! The Salty bosses were gracious enough to let me take a hiatus from contributing while I explored some changes in my life and took some time to figure out what was really important to me. Don’t worry, nothing crazy happened that didn’t turn out fine in the end. I didn’t experience a traumatic loss, injury, divorce, pregnancy, job loss, career change or anything else that would have caused a major upheaval.
I did, however, get overwhelmed and overcommitted because a couple of things happened right around the time I stopped contributing: my dad was diagnosed with cancer (he’s better!! he’s doing really well!) and I was at the beginning of a really cool journey that I think I’ll be on for quite some time.
I started a non-profit animal rescue for tortoises and box turtles! (Which is fitting, because I’m molasses which is slow and so are turtles!) It’s actually a lot of fun and a cool endeavor, but it’s also one more commitment, or 21 of them at this moment!
All of that isn’t why I came back. I came back because I’m a runner, and I thrive on this connection with the rest of the running community. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I became a social runner at all. My entire life I’ve run on my own, until I started doing a few long runs with a local running group while training for my first marathon in early 2014. This summer, I started doing intervals with a young, naïve friend who I convinced to sign up for her first marathon. She’s not a long distance runner in our sense of the word, although she used to regularly take first place in high school track where her distance was the 2-mile. She’s a great pacer, reigns me in during the first few intervals so I’m not too gassed to keep pace on the last few, and she always beats me on the last one. One of these days I’ll pass her though. The best part is that she lives about halfway between my house and my office, so I can stop in to run with her on the way to work and then she lets me use her shower.
I don’t do as many solo long runs as I used to either. There is one girl in our little community running group who has always intimidated the snot out of me, because she’s really fast and she makes it look so easy. She’s got a couple of BQs under her belt, and I’ve never run with her much because she runs with a group which typically takes off and separates from the rest of us. A few weeks ago, I pulled away from my half of the group I and caught up with the front runners. And passed them. I was in front of everybody, for a minute. And then she caught up with me, and we finished the last half of the run together. We gabbed the whole way back, as women of similar age and interests are wont to do. It was one of the faster long training runs I’ve completed, and I was invigorated!
She mentioned that she and her family were working on buying a new house and moving, but we didn’t get into details. It wasn’t until later that I found out she was actually moving into my neighborhood, just about a quarter mile down the street from me. When the stars align, they do it big. Now we do our long runs together from time to time, and encourage each other. She’s faster than I am, which is exactly what I need if I’m ever going to get any better.
I ran the Austin Marathon in early 2014 but didn’t really race much after that. The day after the 2015 Austin Marathon I got an e-mail that there was a 24-hour registration sale for next year’s race, so I did the only logical thing and signed up. It wasn’t really ever a choice, was it? Not after that first one. Running isn’t a choice any more, it’s a drug, and I’m much happier when I’m on my meds than when I’m not.
Here’s the thing about the Austin Marathon: it’s hilly. I wondered if there’s ever a chance for me to BQ; not necessarily to actually make it into the race but just to qualify for it (although of course if I ever qualify I’ll enter the registration lotto). I’m not strong enough [yet] to qualify on a hilly course. I got to playing around on the Boston Marathon website and looking at feeder races, and I noticed the Houston Marathon is one of the top 25 feeder races for Boston. The Houston Marathon is mostly flat. The Houston Marathon is exactly 28 days prior to the Austin Marathon.
I signed up.
So here I am, taking care of 21 rescued tortoises and box turtles, running with other runners, and training for back-to-back marathons. It’s been a good year, thanks for having me back!