I ran the Four on the Fourth race yesterday as part of Le Tour de Carrboro, a local series of races. Last year, I ran this race as my first race with the Fleet Feet No Boundaries training program. I started out walking to lose weight but then, I needed to transition to running, and I wanted company. OK, I also wanted someone to make me actually run. There is nothing like peer pressure to keep one moving forward. Our training program ended with this race last year. It was hot. I was heavier. I was slower. I finished. I remember how exciting it was to cross that finish line (in the back 1/4 of the pack – did I mention that I live in an EXTREMELY fit town? People actually run to the races, run the races and then, run home while I am still dripping sweat trying to get to the finish line).
Fast forward to this year. 70 pounds lighter. Several minutes faster. 4 half marathons, one 10 miler and several smaller races in between. It still felt great to cross the finish line (still in the back 1/3 of the pack, super fit people are just faster) but it was bittersweet today.
See that extremely cute brunette in the picture with me? That is Natalie. She was the Program Coordinator at Fleet Feet for all the training programs. She is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met. I called her before I signed up for NoBo (as it is affectionately called around here), certain that there was no way I could ever join a running group. The website for the program said that there was a place and a pace for everyone. That no runner would ever be left behind. Despite this, I was sure they were not talking about me. Honestly, how could anyone ever wait for me to attempt to run? I told Nat all of this. She could not have been more encouraging or more reassuring. So, I signed up. I showed up for the first meeting. Not only did she remember our conversation but she hugged me and introduced me to others and I immediately started chatting up some other women (did I mention that I can make friends anywhere? Port-a-potty lines, at the grocery store, anywhere. Yes, I am one of THOSE people who talk to you while you are minding your own business). Those women are now my best running friends (BRFs, to borrow a term from my 26Strong Coach). I can’t tell y’all enough about the impact Natalie has had on my running life. She believed in me as a runner before I believed in myself.
Natalie just left the Fleet Feet program to take a job at a leadership institute. She will be wonderful in this position. I will be sad when I go back to Fleet Feet for the Fall Half and Full Marathon Training Program on July 29. But, I am sure the person who is going to run the programs, going forward, will be equally wonderful.
My point of this post is to never underestimate the power of positive people in your life. I am surrounded by positive people in my running life (not so much in other areas of my life) and I firmly believe that it impacts my performance. If you can dream it, you can achieve it!
Onward to full marathon training on Monday. Gulp.