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I am like a wildflower when it comes to life, especially my running. In 2012 and 2013 my life was plentiful and full of thirst quenching rain. When spring 2013 came, a life long dream came true and I ran the Holy grail of races– I ran the Boston Marathon. I bloomed that Spring, the bounty of previous years yielded a near perfect flower when I ran that day. Just as seasons come and go, so did my bloom. Soon after crossing the finish line, my soil became dry, as the year progressed, drought struck me. I thirsted for a bloom, but no matter how hard I tried, there was no turning away from what was presented to me.
Just like in nature, the past year is a reflection of the current state of flower. For me, this means that this spring there will be no sublime fruit. In other words, I will not be returning to Boston this year. After a long, well thought out decision making process, and a long conversation with my friend, Holly, I have decided to withdraw from this year’s race. There are many factors that go into this, but I feel it is in the best interest of my family, and my health, to not participate.
If I were a Greenhouse flower, my climate would always remain the same–my conditions would never change. Those predictable circumstances always yield the same results. These flowers are breathtakingly beautiful. It is such a perfect refinement, you can not resist admiring them. These are the runners who execute race after race with near perfect accuracy, and consistent, successful results. They stick to their training, and rarely wavier from their prescribed paces. They are magnificent–I could never, and would never, want to take that from them, but this is not me. I’m shaggy and unkempt, sometimes rugged, and able to withstand drought.
There have been many years in my life when I have resisted being wild. I wanted more than anything to be the perfect Greenhouse flower. I would force, and expect for this to magically happen, only to be left feeling dead inside. Insufficiency forced me to look within. There was nowhere for me to run, and nowhere for me to hide–a wildflower is a wildflower– you can’t change that, nor should you try. After much reflection, I have come to appreciate, and even prefer, my wild beauty. I am OK being feral and unruly. I have welcomed the unknown by allowing the forces of nature to guide my running.
I run when and where I want to. I run with loved ones and friends who in the past would have been “too slow”. I am humbled when the person I used to fly by, now is passing me like a high speed train. I slow down if it hurts. I sprint when it feels good. I run long on a whim and I stop short if I’m tired. I allow my running to come through me from above. I don’t question or force. I am not winning races or qualifying for Boston, but I am free.
I feel the wonder and charm with my sport that I did when I first started.
There is this pardoning that comes with being a wildflower–it feels unprocessed and organic. There will be rainy years that produce great bloom again, and I look forward to that. However, this year is a year of recovery and restoration, and I’m very much at peace with that notion. I accept the aftermath of the great aridity of 2013.
Some may say that there is no greatness to a field of wildflowers. Some may walk past and not even notice them. In my eyes, there is a unique and deep beauty to them– one that you really have to stop and ponder. I have a deep appreciation for the struggle, the tenacity, and the will the flower must endure to survive. There will be no bountiful bloom this year–I’ll recover, and wait, and wait, and wait, but don’t be surprised if one Spring comes along and you walk past a field so full of color, you won’t be able to stop yourself from pausing to gaze at it.