26 August 2009 By Rachel’s

Slowing Down Can Make You Fast

I just returned from a fantastic weekend where I drove with a good friend to Ketchum Idaho for the final La Sportiva Mountain running series race. Before I get going on this, I will say that this company and everyone I have ever met whom is associated with it is absolutely amazing. Youthful, happy, strong, fast, and beautiful is what each person I have met emulates. Buzz Burrell put out a fantastic race report on the closing event which includes a quote from me which I am happy he shared.

So instead of focusing on the race as a whole, I will tell you my experience.  I came into the race knowing I would be one of the strongest female contenders.  But to reach my goal of ending the series in third place, I knew I would still need to be smart.  The first mile of the race was pretty flat and on the road.  I am very good at that sort of thing and decided I would go out at a good tempo in my awesome hot pink Newton running shoes to really get the blood flowing in my legs, and to get a great start before hitting the uphill single track, which would encompass the remainder of the race.  I hit the hill at the same time as the incredible Megan Kimmel.  I knew that if I tried to keep at her pace, I would blow myself up and not have nearly the finish that was possible.  So instead, I listened to my body.  My mantra the entire race was light on the toes and listen!

The first part was easy as my nearly weightless Newton shoes kept me on my toes. If I started to feel the lactic acid build up in my legs, I would back off a bit.  As soon as I felt better, I would let my body dictate the pace.  I breathed and let it flow. I held in my heart that I would run the entire race which I did.  I also knew before I started the race that I would place second.  I know some would say that it is silly to decide how you are going to do before you start, but it is not that. I could feel and see it.  My body has had some health struggles over the past year and I know I am lucky to run and race my much loved bicycles the way I do.  Especially when I know I am doing well, and that I am capable of doing that much better when I am fully healed.  When the time is right I will show that.

By listening, I finished my race with so much energy!  I was excited and happy and encouraged that I know in near future races my body is ready to go that much stronger and faster.  If I allowed my ego to get in my way and try to stay with Megan, I wouldn’t have been able to breathe properly.  Listening to what my body was saying at any given time would have also been ignored.  I most likely would have ended up walking out of breath and frustrated.  And that second place podium finish?  I am happy I don’t have to think about that!

Views from the finishing line atop Baldy were incredible

I like to apply this small moment in my life to the big picture.  When I get crazy and feel out of control in my life or any aspect of life in general a few things can happen.  When I just continue to run full speed ahead without thinking it through or listening to the small clues life, or my own inner self may be telling me, I often fall hard or at least have a very big mess to clean up.  I may get frustrated and tired and give up on goals and dreams that would otherwise have been possible.  Instead when things get out of control or perhaps the next step in my journey doesn’t seem clear, I am learning to slow down for a moment (or three!) and breathe  in the quiet of my mind.  For me, I find this when I do my daily yoga practice or go to my favorite creek to ice and be around nature and peace.  I use this as a platform to leap from as I spiral myself upwards into my journey called life.

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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