Four months may not seem like that long to not run a race, but it's felt like forever. Maybe it's simply the magnitude of how crummy I've felt, but it seems like I haven't raced in ages. While I love running alone, nothing beats joining a group of fellow runners to push ourselves on race day. Whether it's 3.1 miles or 26.2, the excitement never gets old.
My friend Nikki and I registered to run a 10k together back in October, and my surprise surgery threw a wrench in it. We haven't been running together lately (mostly because I haven't been running at all), so this race was fulfilling both my running and friendship needs. I had a rough Crohn's day on Saturday, and my husband was not amused that I was still planning to run on Sunday morning. But I felt better when I woke up, and my soul needed it even more than my body.
The last two years I've won my age group at the Super Bowl 5k, but I knew that wouldn't be the case this year. This year I'm focusing on feeling strong; not the number of miles I'm running or speed. I pushed myself hard during the race, and Nikki graciously stayed with me even though she can run much faster. I ran a respectable 25:15, and I felt like myself again.
|I made myself smile. I did not feel like it.|
Last week was also a fantastic one professionally. On the second day of my new job last fall I ran into a respected municipal attorney with whom I'd worked for years at a large event for local government officials. He congratulated me on the new position. As we clinked glasses he said, "Welcome to the outside; to the vendor world." Then he quipped that working for a membership association (which I'd done for 8.5 years) makes staff feel like they're on the inside, but in reality cities are paying dues. He opined that really I'd been a vendor all along and didn't know it.
I have to admit I felt hurt by it. I had poured my entire heart and soul into representing Michigan's communities. These were my people. Of course I was on the inside. But that comment has stuck with me. As I attended the Michigan Municipal Executives conference last week (comprised of city, village, township and county managers), I wondered how they'd perceive me. Would they see me as an insider, as an outsider in a vendor role or had I really been on the outside all along?
The week shattered any and all notions of my being an outsider. From the very first reception I was greeted with hugs and jokes, and it was as if I'd never left. I had come home. I had the best week, and I realized that my feeling like part of the team has nothing to do with where I work. It is tied to my passion for making communities better. It is rooted in the relationships I've spent years building. That conference is one of my favorites, and as I have for years I left feeling inspired by the work these men and women are doing. One manager told me the conference felt "normal" again with me there. Another said I was doing a great job mentoring young female managers, and they were taking in everything I said and did. It was so gratifying to be with my people again.
|Hanging out with a few of my favs in Kalamazoo|