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Stop and Smell the Azaleas

by Anne Jones

While my teammates were crushing old PRs this past weekend at the Stanford Invitational, I spent a long weekend at home in Houston. Although the weekend was filled mostly with studying, I returned to my old stomping grounds and enjoyed two of the best runs I have ever had. My long run on Sunday night along Buffalo Bayou and into Downtown, though a little drizzly, was beautiful. It was the first time I had run there since Houston began its renovations and I took many detours to explore all the new paths offered. I ran Monday through Hermann Park, which is my favorite place in the whole city, and the beautiful weather coupled with my love for Hermann were ideal for a magnificent run. The amount of enjoyment I got out of all three of my runs this weekend was actually astonishing to me and made me realize what I had let running become to me as of late.  It had become just another checkbox on my daily to-do lists.  I squeeze runs and lifts and physical therapy and core exercises into my schedule whenever I find time, and I have viewed them all as chores for several years now as a result. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed training as its own process instead of just enjoying the endpoint. It took a weekend back to my roots to make me see this. So my cliché lesson for the month is to stop and smell the roses, literally, while running and training. Or, more appropriately for running in the spring in Houston, stop and smell the azaleas (which are honestly much more worth stopping for anyway.)

Anne 1


Nothing like your roots to revitalize your running

Anne 2

A rare humid day in Houston

Anne 3

 Often mistaken for the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool, actually just a nice park in Houston.

Otherwise training has been going infinitely better since I last wrote. Although I missed out on reaping the benefits of a lot of our base work this winter, my body feels back to normal now.  I have been able to finish a couple of workouts that I know I never would have been able to do in the past and I feel motivated and hungry again. I raced a 1500 m at the Victor Lopez Classic a couple of weeks ago, which was my first race in just under a year. I would say I was a little disappointed with my efforts (there was much more rust to be busted than I expected) but it was my fastest opener ever so I know I am in a good spot regardless. Unfortunately my pharmacy school class schedule is preventing me from traveling to any of the big meets during the semester, so I plan on racing mostly local meets until potentially flying out to Nashville for a race in June. Next weekend I will race the 800 m at the Texas Invitational, and I am sure it will be bittersweet to race on my old track but without my old Texas uniform. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure to stop and smell some azaleas before then.

Anne 4