The month of July brought much excitement and travel for me. My job as a teacher does not require that I continent hop, or even state hop. I work 10 minutes down the road, for Pete’s sake! In fact, prior to this month, the last time I stepped on a plane was August of 2009. But, I was presented with a great opportunity to travel to Phoenix, Arizona for an education conference and I couldn’t pass it up. A fellow teacher and dear friend of mine would be my travel partner and room-mate, making the trip even more appealing. When my husband and I sat down to plan our family vacation for the summer, we realized that the day after I returned from Phoenix would be the best time for us to leave for a week in North Carolina. If you’re the mathematical type, that equaled 10 days of me being away from home, with a brief few hours in between flying back from Phoenix and leaving for the drive to NC. For a homebody like me, this whole thing was a little intimidating. I decided to try my best to put my type A personality on hold, go with the flow (goodness, even typing those words feels wrong) and fit in my marathon training where I could.
After a flight, or series of flights, that included delays, tornadoes (!), pilots that were misinformed about the time our flight was leaving and other travel injustices, I arrived to Phoenix Wednesday/Thursday at about midnight. Due to an overload of caffeine and some jet lag, I was wide awake at 7am PST and ready to run. First, let me share the view that greeted me from my hotel room balcony.
Holy mountains. Cleveland is beautiful, but when you look out at the horizon you are likely to see trees or the lake, if you’re nearby. Mostly green or blue things. Not mountains. Having these massive geological forms become part of your horizon is breathtaking. I loved it. And, in spite of temperatures in the 80s at 7am, I was thrilled to be running in this beautiful place. The hotel concierge provided me and my running partner a map of the area that included a 5 mile loop. We headed out at a solid pace and I felt great. I had no water, no Gu, no supplies with me other than my two feet. I didn’t regret my lack of supplies until we (or I, depending on who you ask) realized we were a little lost and our map was suddenly missing (or thrown in the garbage, depending on who you ask). Thanks to a kind public bus driver and a quick phone call to the hotel, we were back on track and wrapped up 5ish miles in a solid time. I saw jack rabbits, small lizards and plant life that is completely foreign to me.
Fast forward to North Carolina. After returning home from a day of flying, I showered, slept, repacked and headed out for a 12 hour drive to the beach. Thankfully, my dear husband loves to drive and was content to let me rest in the passenger seat and make sure the kiddos and the dog got fed and were happy along the way. Marathon training picked back up that Tuesday. For the second time in less than a week, I was hundreds of miles from home and carving out a route and time to run. My view this time?
The Atlantic, in all her glory. Running in North Carolina included the sounds of the ocean waves hitting the sand, the view of the clouds rolling in on the horizon and the joy of being in a vacation town, where every one seemed genuinely happy to be there. The smell of donuts and bacon rolling out of various cafes and diners, the many other runners hitting the beach and the road in the morning like me. At one point, an older man stopped to ask me if I was a professional athlete. I giggled like a school girl as I explained that I was instead a “late in life runner” who was trying to be an athlete. Then I ran back to our rental house and announced “I think we should move here, immediately.”
Two different states, two different settings where I could have blown off running, used my jet lag or my unfamiliarity with the area to shrug off my training and lay like a vegetable on the couch. But, I didn’t. I stepped outside my homebody self, tucked my running gear in to my regulation sized carry-on luggage and reaped the rewards for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.
So, want to hear about my giveaway? The lovely people at the Color Me Rad 5K offered me an entry for their upcoming Akron, Ohio race on August 17th. I can’t run that day, but I’d love for one of you lovely readers to win my entry and do something outside of your comfort zone! Color races are gaining popularity and are a great opportunity to do something new and different, especially if you need a break from the monotony that training can sometimes bring. Want to win? Enter using any of the following methods (leave a separate comment for each) and I’ll choose a winner using random.org on Monday, August 5th by 9am EST.
1. Leave a comment below telling me what you’ve done to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be running related!
2. Follow me on Twitter @Go_Run_Jess
3. Tweet about the giveaway. Something like: I want to win a @colormerad5k entry from @Go_Run_Jess! http://wp.me/p2FDy4-b5
4. Tweet again-daily for additional entries. Just make sure to come back and enter a separate comment for each tweet!