Recently someone asked me where I was with my running, what's next? Or more accurately a lot of people have asked me that, but in one conversation I actually stopped bullshitting and accidentally answered the question. I've been waiting for voices.
In real life, I've joked a lot about where I am. Like, there's only so many "it's sucks but I'm still doing it" blogs the universe can really handle. Blogs where I try to tie every sad sack run up in a pretty bow and sell it as the dream. Dammit, that's what my journal is for. Or not.
Last summer and fall I talked so much about voices I started to worry if I was one step away from moving to an island and opening a healing crystal shop. But the voices actually existed. And now I'm starting to understand they were muses.
I'd like to argue two things about muses. They aren't only assigned to artists. And you can't sit on your hands waiting for them. Do the work, day in and day out and trust they will talk to you again.
The muses didn't visit me often or at all after my life flipped. Maybe it was because my life goal (the Olympic Trials) had been firmly checked off, or because the race itself hadn't lived up in performance based measure. Or because I "left" the people that I'd credited with handing me my racing flats again. Those all may have contributed, but bottom line is I had to find who I was as my own runner and person. What was the definition of success to me?
So how did I fan my tiny flame with no voices or muses? Honestly I borrowed muses. I found (faster) friends to run with, I listened to their muses second hand. And I was lucky enough to write a series leading up to the Olympic Trials for Freeplay Magazine Online. I chose the athletes I wanted to feature, when writing the interviews I got to sneak in my own burning questions. Hoping others may have the same ones.
Whether the answers came back written or the interviews were conducted over the phone, I could hear echoes of the voices these women were hearing. It was plain to see, hear and feel the muses that were with them. I was lucky enough to watch many of their races unfold live. I sobbed as I watched Steph's last lap, when Kate Grace won the Olympic Trials 800m, when I saw the news that Abbey made the 5k after Emily and Molly pulled out to focus on the 10k, and through all of Ashley's FloTrack interview.
I've learned a lot through second-hand muses. Here's the short list.
"Let go of the fear of failure. It’s really easy to be motivated by fear and not love. Strive for love."
"The other success is trying to inspire people along the way. To be human. To be brave and open with my goals."
"I can’t control what other people do. I can only run my hardest."
"If you’re climbing a mountain. You could look at the top the whole time and just point that way. But you could also start at the bottom, and look at the area right around you, and just always follow where the ground is going up."
"No regrets. In the moment of truth, did I go for it?"
“Trust yourself more. You are enough.”
"A successful race for me will be to put myself in a position to go for it and have fun."
As far as my muses, I just mind have finally heard them again after months of silence.