I spent the past week in Austin, Texas attending the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Annual Convention. My partner librarian and I drove to Austin together and roomed together in the beautiful Hotel Van Zandt just blocks from the Austin Convention Center. We spent our days in informative sessions learning all about new ways to incorporate technology into our library instruction and ways to help teachers achieve this in their classrooms. We also got to dine at fun restaurants and explore Lady Bird Lake, known to locals as Town Lake. And, of course, I got to run the town of Austin each day before our conference.
Vacation running is simply the best. There is nothing like exploring unfamiliar terrain by foot. I almost always get a little lost, but that’s actually the way I like it. With GPS no one is truly “lost,” just maybe slightly off the grid. I love exploring parks and trails and when it’s time to go back to my car or hotel I always struggle to find my way out. What I finally end up doing is getting out of the trails and up onto the city streets. From there I can more easily navigate my way back to my car or hotel using my GPS. There is one other thing I typically do when running unfamiliar trails … I typically fall down and get a blood blister on my hand and/or a skinned knee. This usually occurs when I inadvertently take the rugged “off trail” version of the trail I’m running. It happened this past week to me on the Town Lake Trail, along with me getting lost.
The fact that I get lost and fall down when running is very appropriate for me. I am never going to be that girl that has everything going for her completely and is flawless in every way. I’m not sure if that girl actually exists, but all I know is that I am very far from being that girl. I am the girl that sometimes snorts when laughing, frequently blushes after I’ve said something suggestive or inappropriate, and the girl that gets lost and falls down. That’s me. For me, running is all about getting lost and falling down. It truly is. I have completely lost myself in running and in turn found myself. I have also fallen down more times than I care to count, both literally and figuratively. I struggle with my running. I have never been one of those runners that says something like, “wow, the last ten miles of that marathon just flew by!” That’s not me. Maybe one day it could be me, but I seriously doubt that would ever be me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the struggle, I actually love it. I love the challenge. I love persevering. I love making mistakes with my running and fine-tuning my approach. It’s just that running does not come easily to me. Running is a huge mystery for me and I’m fascinated by how much my confidence goes into my success as a runner.
Besides the excitement of vacation running, while in Austin I also received the news that I had won an entry into the Katy Half Marathon. I was wavering back and forth as to whether I would sign up for the race, so when I saw there was a contest I could enter, I quickly entered. I received word that I had won on Wednesday evening. We traveled back home on Friday and the race packet pick-up station was on our route home. I was able to quickly pick up my packet and use the facilities before we traveled the rest of the way home.
The race was the following morning on Saturday. I have to admit, being out of town all week made me worry that my performance at the race would be lackluster, but I really surprised myself. I not only shaved a good three minutes off my half marathon time, I qualified for the front corral for my beloved Chevron Houston Marathon next January. The race was well organized and the volunteers were excellent. I even got a sweet finisher jacket out of the deal! The Katy Half Marathon will definitely be added to my short list of races. I look forward to running this race again.
So, even though I frequently get lost and fall down when running, it will never keep me from taking risks. I will also continue to put my name out there by entering contests and applying for ambassadorships. The thing I have learned in the last year is that in order for me to be my own best I have to take chances and prepare for rejection. This also opens me up for success.