My first marathon left me elated. I felt that I had shown everyone my transformation from a frail, sub-100-pound shell of myself to a strong, toned woman. It was only last fall, and I was eager to conquer more. A month later, I ran 100 miles in one week. A few months after that, back-to-back 20 milers, followed by frequent 14- to 18-mile morning runs in Central Park before castings and shoots. Clearly I do things in full, big ways. Some might see my life as lived at the extremes. As much as I may love running, however, I’m also carefully learning balance.
I wrote once of a trip to Brazil that taught me the value of taking a step back, to rest. With constant demands in my line of work as a professional model, it’s easy to get wrapped up in excess. I’ve struggled with weight issues, and probably always will. But I finally — finally — am in a healthy range, and actually have a social life. New endeavors, like hosting my podcast on iTunes, A Real Model, and playing more music than ever before, have made me less eager to disappear running all afternoon.
A recent trip to the beach, for instance, would have been impossible if I also had to hit the pavement (occasionally the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensborough and Williamsburg bridges — in a single day). I’m making friends every day, it seems, and that wouldn’t happen if they had to keep up with me. My entire world has gotten a little more cheerful. I’m a loner by nature, but I’m taking an “always say yes” approach to invitations to be social: comedy shows, movies, live music — and, of course, the beach.
A few months ago, before I fully adopted this approach, I registered for an ultra-marathon. Even though I’ve followed a diligent, well-planned training schedule and am ready to go, I just dropped out. Months of effort, hundreds of miles and hundreds of dollars of equipment (from trail shoes to a CamelBak) culminated in my decision to stay home. My decision not to run wasn’t necessitated by an injury, motivated by someone’s discouragement or brought on by some newfound unease with the obviously questionable sanity of running 53 miles in a single day. Instead, I just took a step back to sit with myself and recognized that there was no particular purpose or reward for me in doing it.
I haven’t turned over a new leaf and hung up my trail shoes. Not at all. I won’t, however, cross the finish line on Saturday, nor will I be racking up 100-mile weeks. For now, my inspiration lies elsewhere — and that’s absolutely fine.
Rockaway Beach, May 26, 2014