Confessions of a nutty girl: Following your heart

Sipping my post-run chocolate milk, my curiosity got the best of me. Granted, I felt amazing after my 12 mile run, yet my brain was a bit skeptical. Since my Garmin wasn’t working, I had to rely on my knowledge and the running savvy of my friends to plot out my long run on the fly. What exactly did I run? Using the mapping tool on the website Running Ahead to verify my milage, the truth came out: I was likely about half a mile short of my 12 mile run.

My brain started screaming at me, tossing around notions of slacking, of not getting the workout done, of being unprepared. I started to turn into a nutty girl, obsessed with half a mile.

Mark insisted that half a mile wasn’t going to make or break my run. “Go out and run it now,” he told me, though he noted that since I was currently in my flip-flops, I might want to think about putting my sneakers back on, though it wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker for half a mile. I actually considered it for a moment as I stewed in disappointment that I failed to get my total mileage complete.

Confession: Last week, my brain tried to stage a coup. It kept pointing out where I was falling short, accusing me of making excuses and questioning both my desire and ability. The week featured appearances by obsessed numbers girl; the girl who believes if she doesn’t do things perfectly then it doesn’t really count. (It is, by the way, a standard reserved only for herself.) The good news is that nutty girl didn’t hang around for very long visits.

For all the craziness that nutty girl (and my brain) tried to stir up, I could not escape this confident, peaceful feeling from Sunday’s long run. The run just felt good. I was running consistent and smooth. I was running hard enough to feel it but easy enough to have a conversation. I enjoyed my run. Because all I had was my run. There was nothing with which to engage my brain. I had no numbers, no feedback from my watch. There was nothing to measure. All I could do was follow my heart.

As nutty girl made a few cameos this week, I pondered this idea of following your heart. The phrase seems imply some monumental shift, some grande epiphany that will transform your life. Following your heart sounds like an event, a calling, a spiritual ordination.

But what if following your heart was merely a lifestyle change?

There are times when I find myself paralyzed by my brain. Sometimes this is called “overthinking.” In my world, it takes the form of me, well, becoming nutty girl. I start to offer counterpoints to myself on all sorts of topics, from how to approach my workout to crafting my schedule to writing a story to deciding what to eat for dinner. (Seriously. Last week I had a near meltdown trying to decide what to eat. Luckily I was alone and nobody knew about it. Well, until now.)

What if I took this notion of following my heart and applied it to all matters, big and small? What would my world look like then? If my world would feel as easy and free as those 11.5 miles did on Sunday morning, then bring on the path of the heart center. This week, I will follow my heart, because wherever it leads me will be the right place, regardless of what my head might think at the moment.

Where will your heart lead you this week?

Byline to Finish Line Notes:

No. 1: Congratulations to Kerra who won a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners. Thanks to all who left comments in the inaugural blog giveaway. Stay tuned for May’s chance to win!

No. 2: A sincere thank you to the women, girls, parents and staff at Sacred Heart Academy in Buffalo, N.Y. for having me as their keynote speaker at their annual Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It is always inspiring to be around women who follow their passion, wherever it may lead them. Thank you for letting me celebrate where we’ve come from and dream of where we’d like to go along with you.

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