I was feeling nostalgic and looking through old photo albums, and I realized I was coming across so many moments in my life that I would label as fearless. Some were mine, some I witnessed from others — but all make me stop and remember those times for the awe and inspiration I felt, the pride, and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment afterward. There are so many moments I could share, but for now, here is a small photo slideshow with some of my top Be Fearless moments over time.
A year ago, I came back from Costa Rica with their mantra of “pura vida!” or the “pure life” in my mind and heart. A few days ago I returned from Italy with much of the same feeling, but in their own words. I learned so much about the slow food movement in Italy, and all about making wine and olive oil and other amazing foods, but that is for another blog post. (Some of you may have already seen my photos.) But out of the food and the culture and the scenery came one concept: that life can be fulfilling and content in the simplest means possible, if you just let it be so, and embrace it with open arms.
When you make apple juice, Stefano, the owner of the agriturismo we stayed at in Southern Tuscany, says it’s like this: “Apples….stop.” When you make meat, it’s “Pig. Salt. Stop.” His simple directions became a recurring theme for our G Adventures tour group, and one that we laughed at, but all took seriously. We all wanted to work for Stefano and live on a farm by the end of the trip. We all wanted the simple life.
Last fall, I said I wanted to push my limits and sign up for a half marathon. Yesterday, I ran my first 13.1 mile race, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in DC…and I will say that it easily is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and one of my proudest moments. To some, a half may not seem like a big deal, especially to advanced runners. But to me, it was one more step to Be Fearless this year — especially knowing that at one time, I hated running.
I’ve written before about why I run, and now a little more than two years into doing races, those days when I dreaded going out for some laps seem so long ago. Now, when I miss a couple of days, it feels like I missed a meal, or I forgot to put on my watch. When I hear that friends are signing up for running programs or races, I get excited, because I know how positive they’ll feel once they start. Case in point: my good friend Kim ran her first race, the St. Patty’s Day 8k, a couple of weeks ago, to celebrate one year of being smoke-free, and to end her Couch to 5k program. I was supposed to run it with her, but had to go out of town last minute, but nonetheless, two other friends joined her and crossed the finish line with her. I’m proud of you, Kim! That 8k was my first race two years ago. Additionally, my friend Alanna ran her first race with me, a 10k, this past fall, ran another one soon after that, and signed up for the half with me and two of her friends (that’s all of us in the picture). There was so much excitement when we all met up after finishing the race, all of us proud because we each ran the entire thing, and had inspired each other, and ourselves, to Be Fearless.
After a half of course, comes the talk about what’s next. Some say they’re ready for the next one, some say they would never do a marathon. Some say they were crazy for doing the half in the first place. Everyone has their own comfort level of course. Mine? I immediately thought of signing up for the Woodrow Wilson Half in the fall, and thought that maybe in a year, I could come back to do the full Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. You can do anything you put your mind to, of course. I’m sore, and I was tired, but it was a happy sore and tired. I had never run more than 10 miles a few times, and I went into the race wanting to run the whole thing, and although my legs were all spaghetti for a few minutes after, I enjoyed my French toast and Bloody Mary later because I deserved it!
I said I would run a half, and I did. Etc. etc. etc.