Sometimes running gets in the way of training, and it's just what you need. An ode to the SoCal Volée
I should have spent the past two weeks amping up my training in prep for an upcoming spring trail run. Guess what happened. Running got in the way…
A year ago after moving to LA I had lost my interest in running. I had spread myself to thin, trying to serve too many people, doing “all the things” but not listening to my own running needs. This created burnout and I took a break. I found running love again via trail running but as I reflect on the past two weeks I realized something else too, I have fallen back in love with being of service to the running community.
This month was the LA marathon. For those of you that know me, know I love marathons. I may be on a break from them right now, but my heart will always have a special place in it for this distance. My love is not actually about the race, it’s more about the journey it takes to get to the finish line. I love the challenge and structure of the training, I love the way my body evolves during the training season, and I even have a soft spot for the agony of defeat that always teaches me something. This is why I had to be a part of the LA marathon this year in one way or another.
As the LA marathon runners of the Oiselle Volée squad began increasing mileage for their upcoming race, I coordinated meet-ups in the hopes they could log the miles and share the journey with others. Each week I saw these runners bond, share stories, encourage each other and most importantly keep coming back for more. I heard many comments on how running with others, and knowing you weren’t alone in the madness of a marathon had made this training season a much more enjoyable experience.
Then came race day. We set up the Volée cheer station, and passed out cowbells to friends and family. As the morning went on, Volée members started showing up, not there to run but to support our team as they reached the hurting point of the race. One by one as the runners came by I heard the sounds of the marathon: the cheers and the clank of the cowbell. However, what caught my attention was the runners. Our Volée team lit up the course as they passed the cheer squad. This bad ass lady gang was all smiles; seriously every single gal looked fierce and strong as they flew by. I know there was pain, but what I saw in their eyes was a joy, a joy I could relate to. The joy that comes when you realized the journey of the last few months has brought you to this point. The joy of nearing the finishing line, knowing you’ve got this. That is what the marathon is all about!
Without even running this race that I love so, the Volée sent me home with a full heart.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. Back to my running, and I was scheduled to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in San Diego. Truth be told, while I had run a lot this winter, I hadn’t run a lot in the past couple weeks. I had spent alot of time preparing for marathon meet ups, and gave that a priority over time for my own training. I know this is slippery slope for me and I tried to be mindful to incorporate some sense of balance during those few weeks. After witnessing the power of running at the LA marathon and receiving so much gratitude from the LA Volée I honestly had no animosity of not making time for my training. I had gotten back my joy in helping others reach their goal and that was more valuable to me than training runs.
When I stepped up to the start line of the Hot Chocolate 15k with a few of the San Diego Volée team I had a feeling this hilly course could be a bit of a struggle. The weather was perfect, I felt great, but I knew I didn’t have enough training in to hit a good race time. Just as the negative thoughts started to enter my mind, Natalie (the other SoCal Volée leader and an all-around amazing person) suggested our group of three take this race slow and make it a fun run. We ran at a comfortable pace, walked the hills and stopped at every single sweet station (because who doesn’t love marshmallows and chocolate when running). We laughed, told stories and had the best time. It had been a long time since I had ran a race, where I wasn’t taking myself so seriously. Instead of struggling to hit a time, I noticed the beautiful scenery of San Deigo’s Balboa park, took pictures of the blooming flowers, high-fived the aid station volunteers and fed my soul with the time spent with my team.
I know I will not run races in that manner very often, because as a goal oriented runner, I need to meet running goals to drive me forward. Being a part of the SoCal Oiselle Volée compares to no other run crew I have ever been part of. The support, the love, the gratitude is always there from another runner just when you need it the most. As I crossed the finish line Sunday, I was again reminded that sometimes running gets in the way of training but sometimes that is exactly what I need.