I know there isn't a running blog reader out there in blog land that hasn't heard about this relay called Hood to Coast. You know almost 200 miles, 6 people in a van, 12 people on a team, friendships, bonding, no sleep, incredible stories, etc. In fact, I'm pretty sure that many of you non Hood to Coasters might be sick to death of hearing about it. Stick a freaking relay fork in it already, right? Yeah, I get that. But the truth is, those of us that experienced it, experienced a pretty powerful weekend that is hard to really capture fully in words. Almost impossible really. Many of us who were on the Nuun Hood to Coast teams had not only a Hood to Coast experience but also two or three days in Seattle leading up to the relay. During these days, we met new bloggers, went on scavenger hunts throughout Seattle, decorated vans, stayed in hotels with strangers, and were immersed in a sea of SOCIAL-NESS. This is where I kind of felt a little bit like I was drowning. And I wish I could have a do-over or a chance to try this amazing experience again with my social A game more intact (less of the introverted awkward Amanda that has been showing her face so so often lately). Let me try to explain...
If I would have asked my husband and close friends to describe me a year or two ago they most likely would have said things like:
- Socially confident
- High on LIFE
- Energetic beyond words
- Lives Passionately
- Says whatever comes to her mind (this is still mostly true but I don't roll with it as well anymore)
- Life of the party
- Lights up a room (not saying that about myself...but that's what my husband would always say about me).
- Does well with big groups of people
- Extrovert, Wild, Easily connects with others
- Speaks her mind clearly
These things are all still part of me for sure. Definitely at my core. Definitely Amanda. But I've had a hard time seeing this Amanda lately and honestly, I think those close to me might have a hard time finding this Amanda too. During so much of my time in Seattle and on the relay road from Hood to Coast, I found myself really struggling with how hard it was for me to be the FULL Amanda. I was only half of me. Or at least I only showed half of me to others. I wasn't prepared for how hard it would be for me to be in such a large group of strangers. Most of whom were social networkers to the HARD CORE. In fact, more often than not, we were sitting in groups and 8 out of 10 women were staring at Our phones using twitter, facebook, blogger, etc. more than communicating with the people next to us. I'd never seen anything like it. Don't get me wrong, I was one of those people at times...on my phone. Not judging. It was like we all had a license to be socially not social but still social. Do I make sense here? In fact, many girls were tweeting to each other from across the room. As funny as it was, I also found myself feeling so disconnected with so many. And thankful for the many hours we went without cell phone service during the relay course. Again, I was one of those on my phone but it was nice to have the break.
We had so much time to meet a lot of people and make many surface connections but I never felt like I really found the time to connect really DEEP with too many of the women. This was my fault too. I came home craving vulnerability and deepness with people that really truly know and love me. There were so many times during the weekend when I felt like the awkward high school Amanda that didn't really connect with any one group. I know I'm not making much sense here because on the other hand, I found myself really drawn to certain people and just starting to open up to them Amanda Style...but then it was time to transition again. I found myself feeling guarded and over compensating with a social Amanda that just WASN'T me. Maybe this had to do with the fact that there were so many people to connect with and I do so much better when there are fewer people that I can go deeper with. Rather than going really deep with anyone, I was surface with a lot. And I felt misunderstood in ways I can't explain.
I came home thankful for the connections and the opportunity (SO Thankful) but also questioning what really matters to me. I found myself questioning human relationships and what I want from them. And I questioned why it was so hard for me to be Amanda on this trip. Why was I so guarded? Why did I feel protective of myself? Why wasn't I able to connect deeper with people? Why was I so socially awkward at times? Why was I only able to give half of myself? Just NOT MYSELF. And I know this has to do with some other things in my life recently that were digging at my heart. But I'm sad for the distractions. Sad to have missed out on the relationships and connections because of my own social overwhelmingness ( I know that isn't a word).
Since being home, I've kind of pulled myself into myself. Lots to think about. Lots to process. Lots going on in my life. At the same time that I was disappointed with how I felt socially, there were so many other highlights/lowlights of this trip:
- The Nuun Staff was incredible. They treated us like running royalty. As I said before, we wanted for nothing.
- So many sponsors that contributed to our experience. I will list them soon and share some of my favorites: Warrior bracelet, Swiftwick compression socks, Tiger Tail massage roller, Oiselle shirt.
- I wore a running skirt for the first time in my life. And it was a sparkle skirt. Granted, the entire team wore the skirt so I wasn't alone but this was a first for me. Never say never.
- I was injured. And hurting more than I wanted others to know. This was a bummer. But I'm proud of the way that I rolled with it. It is what it is. My first leg (leg 10) was started feeling really good. My sore feet/heels felt good and my right hammy didn't seem to bother too much. My first mile was 6:48 and felt like I could continue that pace FOREVER! At mile 3 of the 5 my right hammy said Hell NO! Hurt so so bad. I finished with a 7:27 avg but barely hanging in there that last mile.
- I iced and rolled and rested the best I could but by my second leg, I was still hurting and limping ...at least my stride was with a limp. But I made the best of it and did what I could do. No coffee, early in the morning, and hurt = 9:11 average for 7 miles. It is what it is.
|Happy to be alive! Happy to be running for such a great company! Happy despite pain and injury. Happy that the sparkle skirt was covering my "too much van food" ass.|
- I quietly cried when I got to the van after that second leg. I felt so discouraged. So frustrated. So deeply disappointed. I wanted nothing more than to shine...for ME. Socially, physically, spiritually, etc. And all I could find from myself was HALF of ME in all these areas. Such a weird and confusing feeling.
- I don't think too many people could tell that I was struggling this weekend. I was pretty quiet about my feelings (I think)...again, not like me. Instead of opening up and being deep with the other women, I shut myself in tight and gave superficial and surface. :( This makes me sad. I want a do-over.
- My third leg. So proud. So happy. I knew that if I pushed too hard that I wouldn't be running for a bit. And I'm not running right now. But it felt good to push past the pain. It felt good to feel happy and run faster (but still limited). My 7:37 average for my last 3 miles may not have been the 6:45 that I had hoped for my last leg but I finished smiling and proud. I had learned that it wasn't about how fast I went...it was about discovering something new within myself. That I could run strong despite pain. That I could push past mental heaviness.
- The ride home was with some girls that I wish I would have had so so much more time with. But I'm grateful for the 2 hours I did have with them.
- I hope I can do this again. I hope that my sometimes social withdrawal and disconnectedness this weekend won't keep me from getting chosen to do this another time. I know there was so much Amanda that didn't come out. However, I will always be true to myself....I won't apply in any other way than what is true to me. And take me or leave me...I am who I am.
- Twitter. I'm not so sure I could be a huge twitter user and still be present in my real life. Kudos to those who can do it though. I did learn quite a bit about it and I have one solid foot in the twitter world but I'm so sure I will ever go deeper than that. It just seems a little too much like what I was talking about this weekend....connecting with a whole lot of people on the surface for others to see but not really going too deeply with anyone. But maybe this is just me. How I work. I'm open to seeing if it holds something else for me from what I can explain right now.
- I found myself feeling way older than 33 this weekend. And I guess that's always how I've felt with people...older than I am. Much older. Like, I think I connect more on a deep friend level with people 20 years older than me than I do with people only 5-10 years younger. Maybe I'm an old soul...ha!
- I'm so thankful for the people in my life that love me. Truly love me. And connect with me deeply. I'm thankful that I have this. I'm thankful for vulnerability and depth. I'm thankful that I can share my life so fully with the handful of people that I have as close friends right now. And I'm thankful for the people that value me for me.
- I'm also so thankful for the new friendships in my life as of this weekend. There were a few people that stood out to me more than others...a few girls that I really found drawn to. And even though I didn't go too deeply with them this weekend, I know they are still there and I have time to connect with them. I made friendships that were the most unexpected and I was sad to see the weekend end so soon before I could really get to know them.
- I may not have come home feeling like I was able to fully SHINE in the Amanda way. However, I did come home feeling like I had gained new wisdom and insight about life, relationships, love, and human connections. I'm grateful for this. So much.
Lots going on in the next couple of weeks. We are off to Asheville, NC to see if it is a place for us to move for a bit....a new adventure on the horizon. A next chapter in our life. Excited to see what life has to offer. I've got the feeling that I'm really on the edge of something big in life....the next BIG Amanda thing. Maybe that would explain my lull and unusual behavior/feelings this weekend.
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