Friday, July 19, 2013

Hi, My name is Tonya and I'm a dweeb...

It's true.  I'm a dweeb.


A boring, studious, or socially inept person.

But I'm okay with it.  You see, on my long run this morning I ran into one of my personal inspirations, Sarah Lavender-Smith.  She's a runner, a blogger and facebooker.  Generally, I love her adventures and her writing. Specifically, she plays a role in my running history.  I think it was pivotal.  When I discovered the Golden Hills Marathon I was very excited, but a little worried about the hills and elevation change of the course.  Some running friends even cautioned me NOT to enter this race because it would be too hard for me, more than I could handle.  But somehow it called to me and I wanted to do it.  So I set out on my first official training run on the course.  I had decided to train on all segments of the race, why not start at the beginning.  So I did.  But the beginning is basically a four mile hill.  Somewhere around mile three I decided that I had, in fact, gotten in over my head and was delusional if I thought I could continue on for another 22 miles after trudging up this monster.

Deflated, I returned home and decided to find some race reports.  Let's see what others thought of this race.  The very first blog post I read began with these words: "I have never been in such a morose mood during a race as I was around Mile 26 in my first 50-miler".  Written by Sarah Lavender Smith... Nevermind that she was running a 50 mile race and had already run 26 miles, she was talking about the very same hill that had nearly smashed my timid hopes of entering my first marathon.  It meant that I wasn't the only one that struggled on that hill.  This was huge.  It gave me permission to move forward.  So I'd do what I could on the hill (which meant powerhike) and I would bravely attempt my first marathon!

I have since been grateful for that shot of inspiration.  And in the year+ since finding her blog, I have continued to find inspiration in her writing.  I can relate to so much of what she writes about.  I admit to being a bit obsessed with reading running blogs and race reports but what I really appreciate about SLS is that even though she has won races (including the Golden Hills!) she strikes me as an everyday, down to earth person.

I am entered into the GHM again this year with the hopes of bettering my time.  So my focus has been the hill...  I will run it at least once a week (weaved into a variety of different loops and distances).  So today when I had just struggled up that hill and decided to take a pit stop at the only bathroom on the route, you can imagine my surprise to find SLS standing there!  She was clearly taking a break and I decided to take the opportunity not only to introduce myself but also to tell her how she had played a pivotal role in my running history.  This is where the dweeb part comes into play.  I think I probably came across as some creepy stalker fan.  But I decided that I didn't care.  I think it's okay to be a dweeb when your intent is to give compliments to someone.  She had admitted to being in the middle of a horrible run (ha, me too) and I hope that hearing how she had inspired a complete stranger would somehow give her a little boost.


  1. Oh my gosh, this makes my day! First of all, kudos to you for cranking out a blog post. I only blog about every two weeks, and my blogging is always taking a back seat to other things. Secondly, I'm the one who felt like a loser for pausing so long in the middle of a run and checking my email on my phone (which I rarely do, unless playing hooky to run long on a weekday, as I did today). I'm so glad you introduced yourself. We all go through different phases in our training. When I come back from injury, for example, I feel like a complete beginner again. Today was a struggle because I felt slow and slightly injured, so I had to lay off the self-criticism and give myself permission to be slow, and stop comparing myself to when I used to run faster on that stretch. Bumping into you was a nice break and boost. I hope to cross paths again.

    1. I crank'em out posts when I get inspired but my blog is often a lonely neglected place, too. Cudos to you for giving yourself permission to take it for what it was. This is MUCH easier said than done. I am so hard and critical of myself/running/etc... and that's one of the things I so appreciate your writing; your humility and honesty. Although is wonderful to read about glory moments, what I most look for and relate to are the times when people/runner's struggle. I struggle so much and in those moments it's helpful to remember that we all do. Because we are all trying to better our selves and our running, in whatever manner or level that means. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post. :-)

  2. If it were easy, everyone would do it! (both running and blogging) OK now after spending all morning running I REALLY need to get offline, shower, and get caught up on work!