**This post was originally written about a month ago. So no mention of the sub-4 mile, but as you’ll see when you read, that’s not really the point anyway.
So I’m surrounded by 8 guys or so and our bags, all of which/whom have been stuffed into this 10-seat vehicle whose designers clearly didn’t have the foresight to think that maybe it should have enough space not only for 10 people, but also for their luggage. I don’t know most of these dudes, save for Hugh in the seat next to me, Josh– the other American who ran the Armagh International 5k– a few seats up, and Finn– the English guy in the seat behind me– who I’m convinced I met the year before but don’t remember much about beyond that. I’m tired. Not just from a hard road 5k the night before, but also because I’ve slept for a meager five hours (plus an hour nap, I guess), after a night out. Sure, the night before was a bit (read: a lot) less tame than last year. And yeah, 3 AM is only 11 PM on the East Coast anyway. But still, in this moment of misery, my only real consolations as Finn keeps me awake and forces me to crane my neck towards him with chat about training, America, and indoor track– in this moment, my only real consolations come from the chocolate fudge cake in my lap that I’ll eat on the plane and the thougt that I’ll be able to sleep on the six hour flight back to America (after which, I’ll immediately head to the theater to see Black Panther in IMAX).
And then it hits me: my life is actually awesome.
Like, who does this? I just pissed off to a foreign country on a Tuesday to run a freaking race that some other guy paid for (shouts out Run Rhody and More Miles More Smiles/Spewak Training, the amazing sponsors who provide our club with travel money), and as I’m headed back to the airport to return to the states on Friday, I’m treating this whole thing as a relatively average occurrence. Which honestly, even that is ridiculous! Just over a year ago–like literally, 53 weeks ago– I had never been out of the country; now, I have friends– shouts out to the Scottish girls, African brothers, Belgian bros, and more!– a family– shouts out to Ollie, Eileen, and the Armstrongs– and even old competitors who have moved overseas– shouts out to Kirk!– that I’m excited to see whenever I travel; I’ve been all over Europe and even to Japan, and I have a part-time job with an amazing and supportive environment at Brown RISD Hillel (Remember my last blog? Well that day, coincidentally, long-story-short the Rabbi offered me a job!) that allows me to do run, sleep, and do all this while working 20 super-engaging hours a week and not even living like a miser. (Like, I basically worked a 12 hour day on Monday. Except it was lit because half of it was getting coffee with students and going out to a bar with grads that evening, which is basically what I would have done with friends that night anyway. It also pays enough for me to take the bills from my parents and even for me to buy some things for fun).
So maybe I’m being a bit dramatic; maybe some of this talk about the awesomeness of my life is borne from the fact that it’s pretty much the only way I can justify to my mom that sitting around working part-time with my Ivy League double degrees and an MBA is a way better decision than working hundred hour weeks on Wall Street, bringing home bank, and staring at a wall every weekend; maybe I had gotten beaten by the funny looking Englishman across the aisle from us, losing both a win and over $100 that I firmly believe I should have had, because I miscalculated and sprinted too far from the finish the day before, and maybe Hugh, in his own early morning delirium, was totally confused when I turned to him out of nowhere to vocalize this sudden and intense appreciation for the privilege of being on this bus with these people at this exact moment in time. But man, I’m lucky to be here, and I love what I’m doing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wish I could say I was motivated by some external result, but honestly, feel more like arbitrary stepping stones that give me an excuse to stay focused as I continue on with this silly running thing. I get to travel around the world, meeting people and pushing my body to its limit in the spirit of competition. That’s what I really love.
So, in the immortal words of Marshawn Lynch: for the amazing places I’ve been, the amazing friends I’ve made and the support they give me every day; for the successes I’ve had, the setbacks I inevitably will, and the lessons they’ll teach me,
And even for you being one of the few people who actually read this blog post in its entirety,
Anyway, the whole group has been rolling lately, and I’m definitely feeling in good form. After the best cross country race of my season in December, I finally felt like I had a result to demonstrate that I’d reached a new level before stepping on the track after a better fall of training. And those results have shown. From the 7:52 3k, of which I soloed the last thousand meters, to the amazing experience of pacing the NB Indoor Grand Prix (I was a 9:34 3200m runner in high school– I’m not supposed to be in an IAAF race, even as a pacer!), to getting out here at Armagh and putting myself out there for the win [post-edit, and after breaking 4 minutes in the mile], I couldn’t be more excited for the season to come. Sub sub 8:30 and sub 13:40 are immediately on my mind, and I’m fired up to go after each of my goals in the coming season. You can read more about results in the press releases linked below.