Fast Forward to later last night...
After getting home yesterday, I did everything possible to keep myself busy and distract myself from the fact that I just lost a family member, and that my family is getting smaller. When I finally got to sit down and talk with John about my day, I was happy and upbeat, telling him stories I learned about my aunt, and how I'm starting to realize why I am the way that I am. After a day of feeling mixed emotions, it felt so odd to finish it on a high note, but I felt so excited to embrace my heritage and see how it affects my life and my running. Finally around 9:30 last night I hit the treadmill for my run, not knowing how it would go considering the day I had, and the time that I was starting. Turns out, the Russian in me kicked ass and that run felt incredible. It was my tribute to my late grandmother and now late great aunt, and the things that they gave me to be who I am today. My easy 7 miler was turned into an awesome progression run, and I felt like I could have gone forever. I'll still call it an easy 7 because it felt easy, but pace wise I should have been quite a bit slower. Sometimes you just need to go for it, throw the plan out the window and go with your heart, embrace your inner Russian ;)
10:30 at night...After a long emotional day, and a fantastic feeling run in honor of my Aunt :)
A little less than a week ago I got a call from my mama (don't judge, yes I still call her that), she told me that my great Aunt Tessie passed away. Now she was great in many ways, but she really was my great aunt, as in she was my fathers aunt. My fathers mother Stella, aka "Ma" passed away before I was born. Throughout the years I head plenty of stories about my little angry Russian grandmother, and was always sad that I never had a chance to meet her. My dad's family always did an amazing job making sure my sister and I didn't miss out on family and having grandparents (Both of my dad's parents passed before I was born). Ma's sisters, Tessie and Dorothy were always around and didn't treat us like great nieces, but as their own grandchildren, they stepped in and helped fill the absence of Ma. I was sad to hear of Aunt Tessie's passing, but knew that it was time, she was 91 and has been telling us she was ready to go for some time. I wasn't really affected by the loss until the funeral yesterday.
Seeing my family, hearing the memories and stories be told, and saying goodbye was the hardest part. It's sad to see her go, but what got me more is the realization that I have a lot of my grandmother and her sisters traits. My Dad told me numerous times since I was a kid that I reminded him of this mother, stubborn pain in the ass with a temper(it's true, guilty as charged). After listening to everyone talk yesterday I realized I have more than just that, I have their feisty, fearless, whole-hearted attitude. I don't do things half-assed, when I do something, I do it big and grand and with everything that I have in me. I think the Russian in me has made me the runner that I am. I take chances, I go for it, and I give it all I've got to give. Now I am not purely Russian, the Russian is just a part of me from my fathers mother's family (Zinkievich...Doesn't get much more Russian), I have other nationalities in me which all give me different traits. It's interesting when you start to think about where you came from, and how it has shaped you into the person you are. I've never really thought a lot about my heritage but I have a feeling I am going to start paying a lot more attention to it.
Zinkievich (Fathers mother)[Russian]- Fierce, Feisty, Tempermental, Whole-hearted. My short stature comes from my little Russian grandmother and her sisters.
Anderson (Fathers father) [Swedish]-Like to be passive, but can be VERY direct if necessary. Hatred of being late, and most importantly, this is where my baby blues came from :)
From my mothers side I have French and Dutch in me which is where I get my practicality, bluntness, pride, and I clearly didn't get my height from the Dutch in me seeing as I am only 5'3" and the average height of a Dutch woman is 5'9".
The more I read about my heritage, the more I see where the different parts of me came from. I think it's interesting to look at these things, it helps to better understand your family, and more importantly yourself. The more I learn about myself, the better runner I have become. Over the years I have learned what works for others may not be what works for me. We are all different, we all come from different places and are going in different directions. There is no right way to do things, no right way to train, no right way to get to the goals that you set for yourself. You need to do things on your own terms and in a way that works best for you. This took me a long time to realize but with each passing day I am learning more and more about myself and more ways that I can improve myself, and improve my running.