I seem to have the ability to suffer through stomach issues, banged up body parts, blisters and dehydration, but when it comes to sitting with certain emotions I struggle. About two months ago I received a phone call from the Director of Alumni Affairs at Tilton School, where I graduated high school from and worked for two years. With excitement she informed me that I was unanimously voted into the athletic hall of fame. Immediately my heart rate changed, images started flashing through my head and I began to fret about being publicly honored. Within that brief pause as my emotions became chaotic I lost my window of opportunity to even attempt to wiggle my way out of the ceremony. Without hesitation she continued with the fact that she already checked my race schedule and noticed that I was free.
Giving sincere compliments to others seems to come easy to me. I like encouraging other people as I take satisfaction in helping others achieve their goals. I enjoy watching their journeys. With this said, I find it both interesting and disturbing, that I often times have a hard time genuinely allowing myself to process and accept other peoples praise towards me. Openly sharing my success with others can be difficult for me. I run because of the feeling it gives me and have a hard time seeing how that equates to anything particularly special beyond what the action creates directly inside of me. All and all I feel like I shy away from attention. Simply stated, I run because it is what I love. Things have started to change though and with more attention for my running I have been trying to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. If I can pull it off I think it will be benefical to me in all realms of life.
The weeks leading up to the event helped me to recognize that I have some work to do. This whole event has helped me realize that despite the difficultly and uncertainty I need to affirm and validate my feelings, whether good, bad or indifferent. It is okay to feel the way I do, but I need to work on believing in myself. If others feel that I am deserving then I need to allow myself to accept that I have earned that honor. On that Saturday morning as I accepted my recognition as an individual I felt odd, but I did my best to soak up the cheers from the crowd and the smiles from my peanut gallery. My feeling of uneasiness did change when my family stood next to me as I felt that the group of us better represented my achievements.
Without their continued support and belief I wouldn't be the runner and person I am today. I am also grateful for my close friends who attended and supported me as I navigated the day. In the sport of ultrarunning we race as individuals, but without my friends, family, training partners, fellow competitors and sponsors I wouldn't have the same ability to do what I love. I can say that I do feel honored to have become a member of the Tilton Athletic Hall of Fame and even recall as a student wondering if I would ever earn a plaque on the hall with my name on it.