50 Days – “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

It was Saturday morning, way too early to be up after a very long week at work, as I stared out an airplane window, bound for Phoenix. My mind drifted back over the last few days. Did I have everything I needed? Water bottles? Check. Running gear – cold and warm? Check. Javelina 100 mile finisher belt buckle? I looked down and smiled. Check! When Erich had asked me to pace him, I was hesitant at first. Not because I didn’t want to be there, but I had taken quite a hit after my figure competition and I honestly didn’t know what I was capable of at that moment. But there was really nowhere else I would rather be. If I had an opportunity to give him the experience he had helped me have two years ago, I wanted to do it.

What else had happened this week? My days were a blur of set visits, production meetings, casting, managerial issues, sandwiched by mornings at the Academy. Oh yeah… now I remembered.

“I have a new goal!” I said to Eric on Wednesday, as both of us delivered our well wishes to each other. Just as I was getting ready for my adventure, he was off for a relay race in Vegas.

“Oh yeah?”

“What’s your 5k?” I smiled.

“18 minutes,” he fired back. I gave him a look showing I’d caught his BS. I followed him over to the 5k leader board and there it was… 21:06… 1 minute and 18 seconds off my PR.

“Wanna race?” he asked.

“Thanksgiving! At the Run for the Hungry!” Kellie shouted from the back office. Great… now there was a witness!

After thinking through the time that I would need to prepare, we settled on Derby Day, in April, a challenging course, but with 6 months to prepare I would be ready. Sitting in that airplane, I realized that once again a goal had chosen me. I can’t explain exactly why beating Eric is so important to me or why I’ve somehow recaptured my motivation with the idea of it. Maybe I finally found something that will challenge me as much as my ultras did. How ironic… I thought, staring down at my buckle… the 100 mile finisher plotting out 6 months of nutrition and training to take on a 5k. Eric is a better athlete than me, for sure, but I promise I want it more than he does!

This weekend, I had a big job ahead. I would do everything in my power to give Erich the race he gave me. But when I return, it was time to focus. Tomorrow Jaquelyn will email me my nutrition plan and Carl has started helping my plan my CFE training. Ultrarunning taught me mental strength, and through my figure competition, I learned how nutrition can affect me both positively and negatively. I would need to apply all of this if I was going to accomplish my new goal!

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