It takes a very big person to admit when they’re wrong, doesn’t it? It probably won’t happen again so I hope you all really appreciate this post!
Since I returned from a whirlwind tour of New Balance and New Hampshire, I’ve been thinking a lot about all my experiences and the feelings I had about them. As I’m approaching 40, I find myself actually caring about what my feelings mean. It’s kind of annoying.
Let’s start with New Balance. When I was first invited (via Melissa Burton at TheValentineRD) by the company to be on a blogger team for the Reach the Beach relay race, I was thrilled! It came with a ton of perks, not the least of which was touring the New Balance factory in Lawrence, MA and getting new running kicks.
There was just one problem – I run in Brooks. Always have. For 13 years.
So when I got the email asking about what size shoe did I want, I wanted to respond with “I’m going to run in my Brooks. That’s cool right?” Yeah, not so much. Instead I responded with “Size 7 – can’t wait!” What I meant was, I can’t wait for the disaster that is me running in non-Brooks running shoes to unfold. I’m super optimistic like that.
A few weeks later the New Balance 880s arrived at my doorstep. The following day, I brought them to the track with me…and I also had my trusty Brooks in my car, because I’m a realist. Well, if you’re a runner then you know from the first few strides you take in new shoes, whether or not they’re going to work. Guess what? They worked! They worked real nice.
So, yes, I was wrong about only running in Brooks and not being able to have my toes ever touch the inside of a different brand of shoe. Who the hell am I? Cinderella? Certainly not. I’ll take my glass slippers in various brands, please.
I’m growing. It took 39 years, but it’s happening.
Now, for the second thing I was wrong about – relay races. You see, I was really excited about my very first relay race. I wanted to experience all the fun that was promised. I’ve read countless blog posts about how thrilling they are, what an experience it is, and how it makes running a team sport. I wanted to be a part of that, and finally the opportunity had come my way.
Except I didn’t really experience all of those warm fuzzies. Here is where I think the problems were:
I’m High Maintenance
I did not know this about myself until I spent two days in a van, without showering and using port-o-potties as my only bathroom. I know what you’re thinking – how can I not know that I’m high maintenance? I don’t know!! But now I do, so cut me some slack.
It’s kind of like how I hate the actual sleeping in a tent part of camping. I love the s’mores, the camp fires, the drinking but I cannot sleep in a tent. Same goes for relay races. I love the running, the people, the atmosphere, but I cannot sleep in a van.
I also cannot use port-o-potties for more the one race (read: one time), or brush my teeth by using a water bottle and spitting onto the asphalt of a parking lot. It’s gross.
A huge part of the problem was that I was away from my family for four days. At first I was thrilled to be far away for all the neediness that is my three boys (yes, I’m including my husband) but after two days, I was ready to go home. I missed them terribly and I actually started crying when I got pictures of my kids, during their very first track practice, from my husband who was with them. Where was I? Still in the f****g van!!!
Like I said to my teammates, when I run a race on a Sunday, that is a lot of time away from them. I consider half a day (when all is said and done) on a weekend to be a lot of solo time. I love my family and I miss them when I’m away for too long. I did not have this issue 10 years ago. I’m old.
I’m Too Competitive
This, I absolutely do know about myself. I now know that I like my races to have a definite start and finish, that doesn’t take days, with hours of waiting and downtime in between. Call me crazy but I like to actually run when I’m in a race and not spend hours waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting to run again. It sucks.
I thought long and hard about if I were actually on a competitive team, with a chance of placing in the top 10, would I have liked it then? The answer is a resounding “NO!” In fact, the only thing I really loved about the race was my teammates. We had a blast. We laughed, we ate, we decorated the van, we made fun of each other – you know, all the usual stuff. That was fun.
And, in this 1:27 minute video, it seems like an amazing experience. And it was, just not one I want to have again. Kind of like childbirth.
The highlight of the race, believe it or not, was my run at 1AM. I absolutely hated the hours leading up to it because it involved almost no sleep, ‘waking up’ at 11:30pm and climbing out of the van into the cold, and using a port-o-potty with only my headlamp to guide me. But, when I was finally out there running, it was awesome! After I pushed myself mentally and physically through 9.4 miles at a 7:43 pace with killer hills and over 30 kills (‘kills’ are when you pass people along the way) I felt like a freakin’ super star. So there’s that…
If I need to state the obvious, then I will declare that New Balance invited me to be on their blogger team for the Reach the Beach Relay, which included a free race entry, the lovely van, clothing and running shoes. They were extremely gracious hosts and I absolutely loved the two representatives who literally took care of us for the weekend. What should be blatantly obvious are my own opinions in this post, which I was in no way compensated to write.
Have you ever run a relay race? Love it or hate it?
Do you only wear one brand of running shoe? Which one?
Have you ever been wrong?