There's something to be said for doing things with full determination and truly believing in yourself. I was having a really good week, where the literal sun was shining down on every step I took, when I came across a link on Instagram to sign up for a chance to meet Olympian Shalane Flanagan and nutritionist Elyse Kopecky, co-authors of the ultimate cookbook for runners, Run Fast. Eat Slow.
I am a runner and I had bought their cookbook the week it came out and had already made a couple of the dishes, so I excitedly exclaimed: "I am having the best week ever; I am winning this!" I entered the contest and promptly forgot about it because who ever wins a sweepstakes, right?
Fast forward to a few weeks later when I get an email from HOTSHOT while riding the DC metro. What?! I was so surprised about the notification from HOTSHOT that I had actually won, I had to forward the email to one of my best friends, Jillian, to make sure it wasn't an elaborate phishing scam targeted specifically at runners. A couple of weeks later, Jillian and I were on a flight to Portland to not only meet Shalane and Elyse but also meet other HOTSHOT sponsored athletes: Amy Cragg, Colleen Quigley, and Evan Jager. I seriously could not believe my luck!
That said, I couldn’t believe my luck pretty much every single day. I am the captain of a relay team in Washington, DC and I am thankful every day for my running friends and the support I get from them. As a team, we spend hours talking about running, training, and planning future races. We push each other, cheer each other, and hold each other up when needed. We run in the heat and humidity of summer; we run in cold wind and freezing rain in the winter; we run long on the weekends, track on Thursdays, and dream about more running. Insert 100 memes about how running makes you a better human.
So, Portland! I still don't think I have had a chance to process how awesome every single second was. We kicked off our day meeting Amy, Colleen, and Evan for coffee, followed by meeting Shalane and Elyse for cooking and sharing a meal from Run Fast. Eat Slow. I had one of those "cover my eyes" reactions at first meeting Shalane. I mean, how could you not?! I think about her every time I want to give something my all.
The hours spent with Amy, Colleen, Evan, Shalane, and Elyse were absolutely priceless. No, they didn't tell me the secrets for becoming an Olympic runner but they did confirm that we all share a passion for running no matter how fast we run. The recipes from Run Fast. Eat Slow. were amazing. We prepared and ate the Don’t Get Beet Hummus, Broccoli Chevre Soup, Kale-Radicchio Salad with Farro, HOTSHOT Apple Ginger Cider, and dark chocolate.
Running has given me so much more than I ever expected to get out of it. I believe I can accomplish hard tasks in my everyday life because I have found the strength to keep running when I thought I had nothing else to give. I have made lifelong friends from sharing miles week after week. Running has taught me to train, to plan, to overcome disappointments, and to believe in the run. My friend Jillian adopted Nike’s Running is a Gift slogan as her mantra, and I believe this wholeheartedly.
I want to thank HOTSHOT for gifting Jillian and I with the highlight of our year. We will remember this every single day, forever. Thank you Shalane, Elyse, Amy, Colleen, and Evan for your time and for being amazing. Our offer to run with our relay team stands.
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