Interesting title huh?
Trust me...it will make sense in the end and may even make you have one of those "ahh" moments! (Credit will be given where credit is due.)
Now, if you have read my blog at least once, you know that I am training for my first trail race of the season. I have been logging some great runs and am now in the planning and logistics phase. Like any race it will be marked, but I figure it is good to study the route and become familiar with the grade changes and elevation. Thankfully, I have access to some great 3D GIS maps of the courses to help with this.
This afternoon I took some time and laid the maps out in front of me to start studying. After about two minutes my head hit the table and I realized one thing: I can't read a map to save my life. Now, you may be thinking "How bad can it be? Surely you can read a little of the map." No, it is bad. It is so bad that it has been recommended that I download the "Where's My Phone?" app for my upcoming ski trip so my friends can come find me on the XC ski course in between all the scenic views and "beautiful mountain huts."
How can I be so bad at reading maps?
Really, it is not totally my fault. I grew up in the perfect "Norman Rockwell-like" town of Goshen, NY that never changed. Oh, and New York City right down the street? I have news for you, it is a grid. If you miss a street...go to the next one and turn. It is not that hard. Yes, Lexington is a city, but the busiest road is called New Circle....you literally drive in a circle around the city. My life has never really required me to read a map. When was the last time you pulled out a road map on a trip? Yeah, I thought so. You are probably like me and just turn on the OnStar or Garmin...problem solved. No worries. Talk about a "first world problem."
In all honesty, I am worried about this whole map reading thing. I need to learn how to do this. What am I going to do in CO...turn on my OnStar? I really don't think taking the Envoy up a mountain counts as trail running. I may need to take a course. Thank G*d my "pacer" creates and reads maps for a living.
One thing I did notice while staring blankly at the map was how important it was to follow the lines. This hit me as kind of funny. Trail running is such a free thing. It is so enjoyable because you are running in nature, taking in all it's beauty and just being free from all the restrictions of daily life. Just make sure you stay on the trail...stay on that "line". Be free...but be free on the "line".
Why did I find this funny? Well, mainly because over the past few months I have been trying to get in touch with the real me and get off the path I have always followed. Growing up I always just wanted to fit in. I did not want to stray from the "line" that everyone else was on. I did not want to "let go of my story." Now, the one thing I enjoy doing that makes me feel like I am finally getting off that path has me studying the lines on a map. To feel really free I still have to find my line and let go of my story.
Tonight at yoga, my instructor AnneDean really stressed the importance of "letting go of our story" for at least 60 minutes. I will admit, it was an emotional hour. It made me realize how far I had come in such a short period of time. Thru running I am finally getting off the "line" I have always followed and am learning more and more about myself each day. My map of life is changing and the freedom that comes with that feeling cannot be explained in words.
At the same time, I had the honor of viewing a visual poem created by Seb Montaz-Rosset (the mastermind behind all those awesome scenes on the Summits of My Life project). At the end of the video he asked a simple question. It was something to the effect of "Have You Found Your Own Line?". The poem was written and read by Charlotte Davies and was very emotional. It really captured the inner desire to be free from the daily stresses we as a society put on ourselves and get back in touch with nature. Get back to what we truly desire as humans on an instinctual level...as animals...to be close to all that supports and gives life and to share it with those we love. It really hit me because that is what trail running lets me do. It lets me feel free...to escape all the daily responsibilities but at the same time to take my loved ones with me on the adventure. I feel like a little spec running thru something far larger than I could ever understand. But...it was funny that it was described as a "line". It makes perfect sense but is ironic at the same time. So many lines.
I am proud to say I have found myself drifting off the "lines" more and more each day. As many of you know, transparency was the goal of 2013 for me. I think it is fair to say I have been doing well with it. I am doing things I never would have imagined. I am setting goals I would never have thought to. I am drawing maps for myself to happiness and freedom, and am so grateful to have such supportive friends and family to come along with me. And yes, I have accepted more people on FB (remember all my rejections and hiding?)...sh*t...I even sent out a request myself...to someone I did not know but admire as an athlete. It was rejected I think...but you know what? It was liberating. It was like "I'm going to do this right now because it makes sense". It may not have made sense....but it does not matter...and I am not embarrassed to admit it because I really doubt he has even read the page more than once...plus...the halfway around the world distance prevents any random meetings in the street. Normally I would have stayed on my straight and narrow path but for one second I was like "that would be fun" and I pressed that little button. Regardless of the outcome...I am proud of myself for doing it.
It feels good to let go of the traditional story line and just go with life. I am learning and loving every minute. Hopefully I will continue, unless I get lost on a XC trail for days and my GPS fails...then I will just be frozen...but even then...I will have "let go of my story" and strayed "from the line".
Back to the maps....back to the lines....writing the story of my race on the trails and in life. Oh...and here...here is the link to the visual poem. Just listen to her voice..her words...and his images. It is truly perfection.