Be sure to read that in the melody of the song “1,000 Miles.” by the Pretenders

I had quite an interesting weekend. This weekend has probably been one of the most “different” weekends of my life. 

Friday, my friend Jamie and I went zip-lining, which had it’s scary moments, but generally was just really awesome. There was one point on the trip where the guide said, “This is where my record breaking line is, where we do the vortex spin. I need a volunteer ….. How about you Matt?” Thinking about who I was just a year ago, there is no way in hell I would take a risk hearing the word vortex on a zip-line (not that I would have zip-lined back then). I just said, “alright”, went, and spun around over and over again right on the edge of this crevasse, walking down and spun off of it. The record was 14 – I got 8 spins, but it was still pretty awesome. There were 7 lines in total, all with different little tricks like that. I am glad that I went, something i can cross off of my list of things that I did.

The next day was the Duo Duel Race (the reason we went to p-town in the first place). There were tons of people there – the biggest race I had done, which was a bit intimidating at first. I had been running all last week and felt my times were not the best. The way this race worked is that I would run the first leg of the 10 and then use a snap bracelet to tag Jamie to do her leg of the 5k. Now, there is some debate about what my actual time is. The official race results say that I got 25:35, and that our total time was 54:08, which both myself and Jamie’s mother knows is inaccurate because we have a photo of Jamie crossing the finish line at 54:00 on the dot. Also, when I hit 3.0 miles, I was at 24:25, and I sprinted the rest of the way, which would put me at just around 25 – they said they saw 24 something as I was coming in. My GPS app said 25:45, but I almost have to take an entire minute off of that time as it was for running 3.14 miles (not 3.11), and I did not turn off my app for quite a while after I stopped. So, I want to say that I had 24:59 based on all of these variables, I know for a single fact that the official results are off by at least 8 seconds. 

OTHER THINGS THAT COULD HAVE MADE THE RACE GO BETTER : This is a list of things that were new, or slowed me down during the race!

  • We wore vests – this was part of a joke from the summer, but our team name was “The Vest of Friends”, and we wore vests. It was chilly in the morning so I wore a tank top, a long sleeve (albeit thin) hoodie, and then the vest. This created such an amount of heat exhaustion, I thought I was going to die.
  • Mother fuckin’ hills – I have done hills, usually medium in nature, short, but numerous. This hill, as I came upon it, turned the corner, but looked only semi-daunting, but as the hill continued as it wrapped around Portland and I kept running uphill, trying to hold (as I knew if I stopped running or jogging, I would be out for the race) . Usually the downhill piece of the hill makes up for what you lost on the way up, but this incline was so intense that I had to slow it down to make sure I did not overshoot. This was a new experience, and threw me for a loop.
  • My stomach – My advice to you is always go to the bathroom before the race, I did not this time, I thought it was best to keep everything in it’s current state as not to disrupt my general feeling, but right around mile 2.4, things started going downhill, I had to use the restroom, and I know this feeling was slowing me down. 

Considering these three factors, I may have been able to get a time more like 24:30, but I still ran my best 5k (assuming my time is 24:59, which we will haha). It was a different type of race (timer anklets?), but glad I did it, it was fun. There were some elite runners there (lots of times in the 17 – 19 minute times). I know I will never be at that point, give my allergies and asthma, which I am not using as an excuse, but I have a very difficult time regulating my breathing. I am fine with this, I don’t run to get placement, I do it to prove to myself that I can.

Because my stomach was less than ideal, when I came in, and actually until I returned to Orono, I forgot that crossing the finish line put me at my goal of RUNNING 100 MILES.

For those who knew me a year and a half ago, you might see what an accomplishment this actually is. Before March, I only ran to the pizza table, for seconds. Running 100 miles is something I would have scoffed at a year ago, something I would have thought, “Why would someone do something stupid like that?” I am such a different person now, I feel like things that I think are “stupid,” I should not judge so harshly because in 1 year from now, maybe I will be doing it. This whole journey has been a learning experience, one where I feel more more open to changes, and doing things I did not think I would do. 

Running 100 miles is not something I set out to do 6 months ago, my goal was to run a single 5k, and then I ran 97 more miles after that, in races, practices, during the night, the day, the misting rain, feeling great, feeling like crap, and everything in between. Mind you, this is only outside running, I probably have run about 20 miles on the inside track since March, but I haven’t tracked that as much, and outside running seems more in line with my goals of running. My goal is to run 100 more before the end of the year. This will be a lot harder considering winter will be coming up, and I do not think winter running will be my cup of tea (but I do plan on starting something to be active in the winter). 

After the race, we went over to Turn Two Skate shop in Portland because it was time for me to purchase my very own skates. I tried them on, and they were a bit snug, but given my running socks and the fact they will need to be broken in, it made sense. I got the wheels changed out the red wheels for green ones, I got a helmet and some laces. I am going skating tonight to try them out, I am sure it will feel weird at first, as I have gotten really used to the crappy rental skates. I laced them up last night, and already ready to go skating! 

Overall, I accomplished a lot this weekend, filled with fun and newness. The old me hated new situations and got really uncomfortable, but the further along in this journey that I get, I realize that, as Chris Powell says, “Get comfortable with uncomfortable”. Nothing that is comfortable will make you grow or change as a person. This is not to say that routine is bad, but we have to invite those moments of difference in our lives; that is when we learn the most about ourselves. Believe me, I have learned more about myself in the last year that I have any other previous time in my life (maybe minus my formative teenage years). It feels great to allow yourself to change and learn more about the world and yourself as you get older. I was just thinking the other day about the phrase, “grow old and our hearts swing right,” and how the opposite is happening to me, I am more open to possibilities, I feel more accepting of so many different things, and it feels very liberating. On the way home, Jamie and I had some good conversations about similar life changing type of things, but I will save those notions for another blog! 

Keep on keepin’ on!