I spent the weekend in a magical land called “Falmouth.” Now, it probably doesn’t sound very magical; in fact, if you say it slowly enough, it actually sounds like “Foul” “mouth,” but it’s pronounced more like ” Fawlmuth” than how it literally looks. Regardless, this was the host city of the 36 Annual Falmouth Road Race (http://www.falmouthroadrace.com/) and I had the very good fortune of not only running the race, but also staying for the weekend with a very dear friend and her family.
Now, so what you say? What makes that so magical? Well, Falmouth is a beautiful place, you see. It’s a quaint New England town with all that you’d imagine (cue music from Angela Landsbury’s “Murder She Wrote” television show from the late ’80’s). It has winding roads, cute shops, people who have lived there for years. Of course, it’s a beach town, so you’re never too far from the beach. But what made my trip so wonderful was that I was hosted by the wonderful family of my friend. Imagine a beautiful summer home ( her parents actually live there all year ’round) that has the most unique displays of collectibles in it; a magical, white fluffy japanese dog who steps lightly throughout the house; a pool surrounded by bamboo trees and vines; an outdoor shower where, without even a question, guests amicably agree to shower out-of-doors surrounded by teak and under a quenching showerhead; a garden where at any time, items are picked and assembled into the most delicious,healthy meals (we had kale soup one day) and best of all, a home where a family shared memories and laughs and supported each other to achieve heights of personal greatness in this most awesome of races. I went to bed after hours of learning about others, woke to the sound of birds singing, laughed harder than I have in years, ate better than I can remember ( and never once worried about the calories) and slept until 7 am ( which I never do!)
I was inspired by this weekend in ways I cannot even explain. The race itself was amazing. The course, as you can see on the website’s video, is beautiful. A bit hilly at times and the flats are long and without any shade but the spectators are so supportive. I encourage you to run this race next year.
My goal was to run it in one hour; I did it in 1:02:48. Not too bad. The achilles held up great. No pain during or after and even today, no discomfort. That is a very good sign. I also learned a very valuable lesson. A good friend and competitive athlete encouraged me before the race to “just have fun.” I took his advice to heart and really took time to tickle the kids along the course, high-five the spectators that had their hands extended and just had a fun attitude. It really changed the whole experience. There have been races where I haven’t talked to anyone, haven’t looked around at the scenery, haven’t shown any emotion until the end. And oddly enough, my times were not much better. I also stopped for water and had a few oranges. When I was done, I felt great. My recovery was a non-issue. I even ate two hot dogs afterwards with no repercussions! Now that’s progress!
I watched handicapped runners run with guides; I saw kids run with their moms; my friend’s mom ran the race after taking up running for the first time in her mid-forties; I heard stories of people in their 70’s and 80’s running; people who have run the course since it’s inception.. the list goes on and on.
The biggest lesson I learned and one of the most inspiring things I took away from my magical weekend was that in the end, you must believe in yourself. Belief in yourself comes from you, your family, the love they give. The support of your friends, your memories of achievements. Your ability to bounce back from adversity. Your positive attitude despite adversity. All these things collectively join to give you a foundation of support. Of self-esteem. And when you have that solid foundation, you can do anything.
Be well. Run strong. Find a local race and sign up. Be inspired.