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What’s my story?

ultrarunning

Pace and I running the trails at Wells Mills Park, NJ. This has been a part of my story for the last two months.

Readers, forgive me. It’s been two months since my last post.

This is the point where you, my readers, absolve me of my blog transgressions. I’ll wait.

Okay, thanks.

It’s not that I’ve been at a loss for words – far from it. My draft folder is FULL of the ideas I’ve had since my last post about the Double Anvil. To mention just a few, I’ve got drafts (soon to be posts) about our run across Zion National Park, what our food shopping list looks like, what it’s like to train for a Double Anvil, how to gear up for a season that features two (or more) big races, and one titled “Dreaming Big Isn’t Glamourous.”

These posts are all in various states of readiness – some just need to be proofread. Others are just sparse outlines.

So, what’s going on with me?

Yes, I’ve been busy. But, that’s a lame excuse. I’ve always been busy, yet managed to find the time to work on my piece of the internet. I love to write, and I love that I have loyal readers, and happily welcome the new readers that find me through one post or another.

Ultimately, this is a fulfilling space for me. And, I’ve missed it.

I think in some ways, I have been a little lost, trying to find my story. For three years, many of you read about my quest for the Kona Qualification.

What a great story that was, right?!

It was exciting and heart breaking and ultimately fulfilling to tell the tale of a small town girl who sets a dream bigger than her abilities, but reaffirms the adage that–at least sometimes–hard work can pay off.

There were fun characters, plot twists, and a happy ending. How can I ever top that one?

I no longer have a single story – and in terms of my mental health, that’s a very good thing. The singular focus of trying (again, and again, and again) to qualify for Kona drained me–physically, yes, but more so mentally. While I came out of that experience a much stronger athlete, I almost didn’t have anything left to give by the end of that 2014 season. (This experience is the inspiration for my yet-to-be-published post on why dreaming big isn’t glamourous. It may look pretty in the finish line photos, but the journey to get to that place can be soul-sucking at times.)

Today, my story is a much more intricate narrative, with a wide range of loosely connected plots: stoking an intense competitive desire to see how far I can push my body at ultra distances, pursuing adventures that have nothing to do with racing or competition, enjoying my community of athletes, who allow me to coach them to their dreams. And, yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with running or triathlon.

There’s a part of me that wonders how much of this is even interesting to anyone else. Lately, when I sit down to write, I’ve been haunted by this feeling: No one cares about this shit.  This feeling has paralyzed my writing a bit, and I’ve been working on moving past it. I need to remember that I’m writing for myself, too.

This past weekend, I spectate-trained during two local triathlons that my athletes and friends were racing. As I’m in the middle of training for the Vermont 100, I ran the bike course while the athletes rode. Since these were local races, there wasn’t a huge throng of spectators – or any spectators – along the bike courses. There I was, with my loud voice, running along the grassy shoulder of the road, trying to come up with all of the ways to encourage and share my joy of sport:

IMG_6018“Nice work!”‘

“Get it, get it, get it!”

“Who’s having fun? That’s right! You are!”

“Looking fresh!”

“Looking strong!”

And so on.

There was also a bullhorn at one point. That thing is going to be SO MUCH FUN when I spectate at Lake Placid this year. Look out friends and athletes: I will be on the HORN!

On Sunday, as I was run-cheering, I felt that old familiar feeling that makes me feel warm and sad, happy and longing all at once: the weepies. I was just so happy to be out there running, cheering on these people, who were pushing limits, finding their inner strength and learning so much about who they are and what life is or can be. 

You guessed it: I started crying. Happy crying. Finding my story crying. Feeling like I was a part of “it” crying.

When I started this blog in 2009, I just wanted to share my experiences. If I had readers that went beyond my mom, then great. As it turns out, my mom rarely read this blog when she was alive, but many of you did (and I hope still will despite my two-month hiatus).

This blog is not only a creative outlet for me; it’s also an entry point to a broader networked community of like-minded individuals who like to push their bodies to learn about life, who know that in the moment when you feel like death, you are the most alive. Your comments and your emails make me smile. They tell me I’m not crazy, despite what those who are not a part of our community might say.

We are running a life together.

I will continue to write about and for this community, about our experiences, struggles, dreams and triumphs. I’m going to fight this case of imposter syndrome that I’ve been dealing with for the past several months years. I hope you’ll stay on, even though my story is more scattered, and my dreams are invested not only in my own experiences, but in the experiences of so many around me.

I’ll keep pushing my limits. That’s my story. Thanks for reading and being a part of it.

8 comments

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  1. Harith K

    I’m in a point of my life, where I’m trying as hard as I can to maintain a plant-based diet.

    Your blog has been one of the inspiring sources for this to happen, and I decided to check on your blog today, and to my luck you have a “grocery shopping list” draft on your computer. YOU BETTER POST THAT SOON!

    But in all seriousness, your story has touched and inspired me much more than you think.

    So yes, let’s keep running a life together.

    Peace,

    Harith.

  2. Valerie

    You’ve got a big fan in your family. I’ve loved every single challenge and adventure that you’ve blogged about over the years. Keep sharing. Love you to pieces!

  3. Steena

    Yes, get those drafts proofed and posted! I savor your posts! 🙂

    1. Maria Simone

      Ha! Yes, ma’am!! Thanks so much. <3

  4. Kelly

    I can just see it now… crying while on the bullhorn in LP 🙂

    1. Maria Simone

      Oh, Kelly, you can even begin to imagine. That place just does something to me. I love it there in all of the ways, and IMLP is my favorite IM. I feel like it always will be. 🙂

      So much weeping and fun!!! I cannot wait to watch you cross that finish line, my friend. I’ll be the loudest one out there.

  5. Matt

    Always enjoy reading your blog. Just what I needed on a tired Monday morning

    1. Maria Simone

      Thanks, Matt!!! Happy to help a Monday Mush. 🙂

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