I know, I owe you a race report on the Rock and Roll Half Marathon Relay. Bite me. I'll get to it, I promise.

Today is a somewhat auspicious day in my little running world. Why? Because I dragged my ass back to the track after a 5 month absence. You heard me. Hello, CAR, did you miss me? I'm not sure the track missed me as it decided to thunder, lightning, and pour rain about 10 minutes into the workout. However, we runners are of hearty stock and kept on trucking.

Today's workout (for the newbies like myself) was 2x1200 with a 600 recovery jog and 4x400 with a 200 recovery jog.  I don't mind 1200s, although I like 800s and 400s better. I'm not sure if it was my lack of enthusiasm or my prolonged absence but my times weren't that great. I hovered between 6:30 and 6:50. Although I did lose 10 seconds on one because my damn shoe came untied. Regardless, that makes for somewhere between an 8:40 and 9:10 mile. My 5k PR pace is 7:55 so...yeah. Not great.

The 400s were a happier story to tell, hitting 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, and 1:49. I felt great after I was done, despite the icky feeling in my shins that tells me my shoes are toast. I was honestly a bundle of nerves when I left the house this morning for this workout, so having a positive experience was key. I know that two weeks of track workouts isn't going to make a dent in my Cherry Blossom performance coming up on April 1st but I have bigger fish to fry.

That brings me to what many of you have probably been looking forward to hearing. I think I found my motivation to run. After what seemed like weeks on end, motivation has come back home and I have Tuan to thank for it. He sent out an email on Sunday night to our team with a great story about a fellow teammate's journey to a marathon PR at RnR over the weekend. It wasn't all wine and roses, rather it was a reminder of what it really takes to achieve your goals. The hard parts and the ugly parts and the I want to quit parts are all in there with the good stuff.

I've been beating myself up a bit lately about the race schedule I made for myself this year and how because of my recent slothness would probably need to change it or accept mediocre performances. Tuan's email reminded me that there are a few goals of mine that are still quite achievable this year if I'm willing to put on my big girl knickers and get down to business. One of those is the elusive sub-2 half marathon. I emailed Tuan right away and threw down the gauntlet: can I do this? His immediate response was YES, but...with the but being all the hard work that I'm scared to do.

I need to go back to the track.  I need to run more than 3 days a week. I need to push past comfortable into the unknown. I'm going in search of my potential, something that terrifies me to the core. I am scared to find out what I'm capable of, in the event that the answer is "not much." Anyone who knows me knows how hard I am on myself and how driven I am by fear. With Tuan's confidence buoying me, my mind started to think that fear needs to get an asskicking.

At this point it was after 11 pm on Sunday and I needed to get up the following morning at 6 to run with Anne but sleep was nowhere in sight. Lights out, under the covers, mind furiously racing. What was a girl to do? Duh, whip out the credit card (or in my case, just memorize the damn number), grab the iPhone, go to the CAR website, and really put my money where my mouth is. Yup, it is officially official. No more lurking, I am now a member of the Capital Area Runners. Let's all high five!

I didn't sleep a wink, I was buzzing with so much energy. The run the next morning was a real mess, but I kinda didn't care. I was just happy to get my butt out there and get moving. Honestly, my brain never computed that run at all and instead was obsessing over what the track workout was going to be like this morning with all the usual CAR gazelles. Yes, this is where the wildebeest reference comes in. Right now, and possibly until forever, I lack the graceful and effortless stride that I see from so many of my teammates. It can be a real confidence killer, unless you can comes to terms with your ability, in that moment. And right now I'm the wildebeest, crashing around the track. Welcome home.