Monday, August 7, 2017

Ode to the Goddesses

 Burning River is a 100-mile race basically in my backyard. It is a big deal. I've volunteered for it the first two years I was aware of it, and I have run the 8-person relay for it in the last two years. Last week's post is about my experience on Leg 5 of the 8-person relay for the Mother Runners.

This week I want to write about my training. I firmly believe that when I commit to a race, I need to be completely prepared for that race. This means that after running the Cleveland Marathon I decided to stay at the 16 mile long run until Burning River so that I didn't lose any fitness along the way. It just seemed silly to start over only to increase again.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I have to start over again with training. Haha! Just kidding. That is Sisyphus. My  shoulders don't look that good.

I also trained for the race by running with the Burning River Goddesses. They are a group that trains together for Burning River, but I have found that they are more than a training group.  Bear with some sentimentality for a minute (Oh--just shut the hell up. I'm never emotional. Just deal with my feelings for once).

Here is a tissue to deal with my issue.

When my regular training partner dropped me like a hot rock (is that even a saying?), the Goddesses picked me up. Jenn and I have run together when I've done trails; we also ran Ragnar together two years in a row. She told me I had to run with the Goddesses, and she promised that they would help me train for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, even though they don't like non-trail routes.
Jenn after our Ragnar Ultra in WV

 I was really feeling low, and they stepped in and pretended that there is nothing wrong with me (even though deep down I feel like there is). They saw me through my 20-miler before the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and let me tell you, I was SCARED TO DEATH about running that alone. They were supportive and accepting and amazing.

My joke with the Goddesses is that each run is a venture into something vaguely illegal. I've decided that I'm going to train my kids to bail me out of jail if the need arises on a Goddess run. No, I'm not going to elaborate on this.

My runs with the Goddesses have taken place on just about every trail in Merriman Valley and just about every hour of the day or night. We have run on flat surfaces like the Towpath and death-hills like Candy-Ass Mountain.  We have run at 7 am and at midnight. The Goddesses are everywhere at every time.  They are incredible.

One day Jenn posted about these super-cool hoodies on the Goddess web page. I wanted a hoodie, but I didn't want to infringe on the group, so I asked if I could buy one even though I wasn't running Burning River with the group. The positive responses were overwhelming; some Goddesses informed me that I was already a Goddess, and I gratefully bought a Goddess hoodie.

The night before the race, I met with the Mother Runners for the pasta dinner. Marta from the BR Goddesses had texted me and said she would be there for a drink after the packet pick up. I found her in the bar, and she was so kind and encouraging. She even gave me a magnet and a body marker (which was the gift for all Goddesses at their dinner). I was touched. It's difficult for me to feel like I belong anywhere, and Marta has definitely made the effort to include me every step of the way. At that point I knew that I wasn't running with a Goddess bib, but I was running with a Goddess spirit, and it gave me strength and confidence.

Marta and I ran the Medina Half Marathon together.

We also drank beer together.

What does it matter how outsiders treat you when you know you are a Goddess?

This is my ode to you, Goddesses.  You are strong and amazing, and the added bonus is that you are kind. Thank you, and here's to many more trails and many more beers.

Reminder: The early prices for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race series will go away in a few days. Register now!

Who makes you realize that you are a badass?  I hope you have a group like the Goddesses, and more importantly, I hope you make someone else feel that way. As always, I hope you Run Happy, Peeps!

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