“So a runner and a nun walk into a bar……”
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of running with Lisa Batchen-Smith on the Texas stop of her most recent adventure. Lisa successfully completed her goal to run a 50 miler, in each of the 50 states over the course of just two months. And you thought you were busy and tired.
Running Hope Through America is a project that raises money and awareness for a number of children’s charities including AIDS Orphans Rising. Lisa is running with Sister Mary Beth who at 61, will run in her full habit: a black wool tunic over a white shirt and underskirt, black headpiece and a black woolen belt and sneakers. If this is not your normal running attire, then you have no officially lost the ability to blame your clothing for anything that would ever cause you to under perform. (*Sidenote-I did ask Lisa if they considered asking some one to make a “Dri Fit” habit. They said the tried but were denied. Here is a word to the wise, do not say no to nuns. And certainly do not say no to a super nun who will run your ass into the group. Sorry Sister.)
Lisa’s many accomplishments include total domination of some of the toughest adventures on the planet. The highlights include two finishes for the Marathon Des Sables including the only American female to ever win the event, nine finishes of the Badwater 135 Mile Ultra Marathon, one “Double Badwater”. For clarification purposes a Double Badwater is where an athlete runs from the floor of Death Valley (lowest point in the US) to the summit of Mt. Whitney (highest point in the US). At this point, you aren’t done yet. You must run back to the desert floor where one hundred and twenty five degrees in the shade may constitute a cold front.
More than once in my life I got just what I needed when I least expected it. The Texas stop was early in her trip and her team was starting to get the feel for a life on the road. After more than 20 days, she showed up in Texas in pretty rough shape (we later learned she was running on a broken foot). This most accomplished athlete and woman was by her own accord near a physical and emotional limit, with lots of miles left to go. She said it, but she sure did not show it. Lisa did not make it look easy, but she did make it look possible.
My adventure with her on this day reminded me how very important it is to surround yourself with good people. Lisa was an extension of her team. The vibe that they carried was infectious to those who were fortunate enough to run with her. An adventure like this takes a ton of great personal fortitude. It also takes an environment that supports a certain level of crazy :)
Now this doesn’t mean that your community should only consist of those who throw rose petals in your wake and follow you around like paparazzi. Nor does it mean that you should not seek out those who will challenge your way of thinking and viewing the world. It does mean that you should seek out people who are positive. Not oblivious, but people who are confident that good choices and smart actions lead to great adventures and even better lives.
That’s where Texas and a rag tag group of runners come together. Quite a few people showed up at 5:30am to run with her. Some were friends, but majority of those in attendance did not have a previous direct connection. There was a really special energy in the air that was reminiscent of a group of deeply connected friends. We didn’t have to say much to be in tune with what those around us were feeling or thinking. People went their own pace, respected the space of others and were drawn to an experience bigger than themselves. It was hardly what I was expecting.
By the time we had taken our first steps, I kept asking myself why I did not seek this out more? New adventures and new people rarely have guarantees, and for the record I don’t want guarantees. I crave a life that is full, fun and consistently challenge the perception of myself and those I encounter.
As I wondered why I did not take the leap to put myself out there for new people more often, it did get me to thinking about my very novice bread baking experience. On a rare day one might say that I could turn out a pretty good loaf of Egg Harbor Bread or a super thin rosemary pizza crust. When I get it right, I am very pleased with myself like any good baker would be. However, one of the things that prevents me from rocking some dough more often (when I say this my wife really wishes I meant money) is that I want to get it perfect every time, I want my creations to be legendary. I struggle attempting to even start if I don’t think that it is going to be epic bread. And if I don’t have all the ingredients, you can forget about substituting.
My day spent with Lisa was just one of those magical moments that will be hard to duplicate. But rather than attempt a duplication, I can certainly try to take some of the highlights of the recipe and take a chance on new ingredients. I don’t have to eat the same bread all the time, but I do need to eat. On this day my heart was full and I am working to make sure it stays that way.
Find your Flow!