(Re)Discovering the fun of running
Disclaimer: Runner's World supplied me with an entry to the 2015 Runner's World Festival presented by Altra. All thoughts are my own.
Bee stings. Karaoke. Trail walking. Selfies. Pat Benatar. Bart Yasso. Running.
It's tough to connect the dots on all of these things, but they were all part of an unbelievably awesome weekend in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at the Runner's World Festival presented by Altra Running.
It's also tough to really define the word "fun" and what these past few days meant to me. For so much of this year I have been "running just to run." No major goals in place and very little focus on racing. When I first got invited back to the Runner's World Festival, I hesitated on going. Having participated twice and being in a different frame of mind all year, I didn't initially feel right going.
The more I thought about it recently, though, I realized that this event was the perfect place to celebrate "running just to run" and make it a goal to get out of this lackadaisical mood about running that I've had for so long.
What transpired over the course of 4 days was simply amazing. Connecting with other bloggers and friends I've met through social media over the past few years was easily the best experience I've had with running.
To talk with others who have experienced the same things over the years -- the struggles, the PRs, the "why am I doing any of this" moments -- was exactly what I needed.
This weekend I learned how to have fun again with running thanks to hanging out with a group of people who were there to complete the crazy task of 4 races in 3 days without a big goal in mind.
I did things I thought I'd never do, such as walking most of a race for the new trail race at the event along with fellow blogger Larisa. For the 5K/10K Saturday I joined Dani (Weight Off My Shoulders), Matt (No Meat Athlete), Doug (Rock Creek Runner), Nancy (Little Fancy Nancy) and my roommate for the weekend Linzie (Sharp Endurance) taking selfies at every mile. We even had Brian from Altra Running join us and got Runner's World Editor David to hop into a photo at mile 5 in the 10K.
I was THAT runner that I thought I would never be -- selfies, really?? -- but I had a BLAST doing it. I have to file all of this under a "do it at least one time" recommendation to everyone now.
For the half marathon, I experienced a variety of many worlds -- starting with Linzie initially, finding Brian once again, and then having Dani, Doug and Nancy catch up to us a couple of miles in.
I was struggling though -- my legs weren't used to this much running and walking in such a short time. I managed to hang with the group at various times in the race, but 10 miles in I had to slow to a crawl and simply finish.
Overall it was such a great feeling to go out and have FUN. Times didn't matter. Pace was always irrelevant. Reconnecting with my love of the sport took precedence over everything.
But what about the bee stings? And Pat Benatar? And Bart Yasso (again)? Well... bees attacked me on the trail before we even started ... a group of us landed free tickets to see Pat Benatar ...
And I got the pleasure of having Bart drive me around for a little while ...
And what about karaoke? Um, yeah ... we won't get into that right now.
It's all a small part of so many crazy, awesome, unbelievable things that happened this weekend that will be difficult to explain, but I will try in future posts.
Meanwhile, here are a few more Instagram highlights from the weekend ...