At some point, people stopped asking me if I hoped for a new PR when I signed up for a race. My inner circle of running sisters know I have slowed down. They know that life is just so thick and full right now that just showing up for a training run and making it to the starting line is something to throw a party about right there. And they also stopped asking because, ahem, I’m getting older.
But wait, can’t you continue to PR as you get older? Of course! If that’s what season you’re in…do that! I did that a few years back and it was fabulous and hard and I never thought I could do 6 races in one year and do well in all of them. But I did. And I love the photos of me during that year. I’m thin and spry and have a spunky short haircut (maybe it was the haircut!)
And this is a different season. Now, when people ask me what I hope for in a race, I tell them I’m planning to have a good day in the woods.
But this doesn’t mean I am lowering my expectations, lowering my standards. It means I get to have this time in my life, too. I get to have it ALL.
Trail running right now–on this very day–means I get to touch and taste that same delicious newness I experienced at the beginning of my journey. It means I get to remember and feel what is most tender and meaningful to me. I get to celebrate something I deeply love; being outside, being with trees that have been waiting for me for decades. All the sounds feel closer. I can hear the tiny crackle of rocks shifting under my shoes, the piercing voice of a red-shafted flicker, a squirrel’s giggle from high above me.
I don’t have less. I have what is important.
And it’s a knowing I wouldn’t trade for a PR now.
I told my daughter the other day that when she was a baby, I couldn’t wait for her to talk because I was so excited to learn what she thought about the world, to hear her voice read a book, to sing. And now, when I look at her baby pictures, I remember what it was like to know her simply by looking into her eyes. I knew what she needed just from the way her little fingers reached for me.
And that’s a knowing I wouldn’t trade for all the words she knows now.