Yesterday morning, three of my best friends and I met up… Guess where? At a track meet! We grabbed coffee at an underwhelming but trendy breakfast spot then went to a collegiate meet to spectate. For me, the meet had a dual purpose.
Purpose Number One: to see my besties. Goodness, gracious, there is nothing like vibing with dear friends, especially when they are my kind of friends, EXCELLENCE PERSONIFIED: humble, honest, hilarious, loving and unapologetically fierce. One is an internationally acclaimed lawyer and legal thought-leader, the other is a former national-level media mogul and part of the civic team cleaning up Washington D.C., and the third is Senegal’s number one women's short hurdler, and has been for almost a decade now. These hilarious, beautiful, caring and yes, extremely competitive women are among the most precious of my gifts from God and spending the morning laughing-to-the-point-of-tears with them was, in a word, priceless. So that was Purpose Number One. Connect. Externally.
Purpose Number Two: check in, internally. I wanted to see how I would feel at the meet. Would I want to compete, feel excited, be scared, feel some vague sense of intimidation or worry? Would I feel giddy, alert, focused, content and serene? Or angry and frustrated? Maybe I'd just feel numb. More than anything, I felt at home. And secondarily... Praise be... Eager to move with the power, focus, and strength that I saw. I wanted to compete.
Track athletes are an interesting bunch. Often, when we start watching our event, some part of us -- physically, starts moving. You've probably seen it before: we either sway back and forth slightly, or tap our fingers (imperceptibly), or drum our toes in our sneakers (as though those toes were fingers), or wriggle our lip a little, or draw in our abs, or sniffle sharply as though we were about to get out there and join the competition. Our eyes often stay trained on the competitors coming down the runway or surging out of the blocks, as though we are right there, on the track, WITH them. Totally tuned in. That definitely happened as I watched the jumps yesterday: I found myself swaying back and forth calmly but with focus, eager to jump in. :)
For a non-track-athlete, that experience may sound strange. But for me, it was re-assuring. I think the combination of having such an incredible time with three of my dearest friends (hey, there is no need for Pilates when you’ve got friends to make you laugh like that), feeling so connected and ultimately, alive; but also wanting to participate (with joy, for the love of this elegant sport), and envisioning, myself, one day soon -- rubbing hands together -- moving beyond participation and performing. What can I say? I love all things excellent, as do my friends.
So when I got home, let me tell you, I did everything in my power to get this lower leg back on track. I prayed, stretched, iced, stretched again, iced again, massaged, rolled, compressed, elevated, prayed, prayed again, blasted gospel… I did the most. A day at the track with three of my dearest friends, laughing, loving my sport and my family – both on and off the track, was like a huge serving of Healing with a side of Kick-It-Into-Gear Drive.