I’ve never met Lauren Fleshman. I’ve never even seen her in real life. I did race with her husband Jesse Thomas (who is equally cool, I’ll admit) recently but I was too shy to say hello. Plus, who wants to meet someone just to hear “hey, you’re pretty inspiring and awesome and you’re pulling off those shades but where’s Lauren?!”.
I’ve been part of Lauren’s flock for two years now. Our one-way relationship started over the internet (don’t worry, this isn’t creepy internet stalking) when I found her hilarious, unfiltered blog and took a liking to her instantly. I found common ground with her mid-way through my 18 month stretch of injury and her positive stories helped me through. In a sense, she was farther down the path that I had started myself and when you feel lost you can’t help but look for directions. Post by post, I connected with her as she wrote down her training and racing experiences (like “The Boulder Budged“), nutrition advice, what it’s like to be partnered with another athlete, life outside sport, and all the real life stuff (like “Keeping’ It Real“) and emotions in between. The more I read, the more I felt connected to her. I’m still grateful I found her.
I’m not injured anymore but I still read all her stories. Her latest written offerings, “The Next Step” and “It Sucks to be Great“, both sent bolts of empathy through me. I hadn’t read her blog in a while and I couldn’t believe she was injured again. Apparently her achilles had been an issue for a while but now she had built back up to her first track session (phew). She was setting blitz-fast times in training but, unexpectedly, she felt deflated. With her goal to qualify for the next Olympics threatened by yet another injury, it was a clear case of once bitten, twice shy. Actually, more like a million times bitten and still scarred.
I’ve been there. Not in the same position, perhaps not to the same degree on paper, but I’ve had that exhausting day-and-night mental debate between two life paths that she was talking about. I’ve been stuck in my own head knowing exactly what I want to do but unsure if I should or could. That push and pull between the balls to the wall ferocity to chase the wild dreams within your heart and the you’ll-be-okay-choosing-a-different-path logical argument being screamed at you by every other cell in your body.
Classic Lauren, at the end of each blog she cuts through the noise and has clear positive intentions to keep fighting for her dreams and kick ass doing it.
Sport may be an unrequited love but success in sport, as she keeps teaching me, is “the inability to be extinguished by a broken heart”. So Lauren, from one scarred heart to another, here’s my bomb-diggity (slightly emo) version of a modern day mix tape with songs that I hope will drown out the noise and fan your flames.
- Believer by American Authors because the lyrics seemed to be written by an injured athlete.
- Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch because we have to hope with nothing to hold.
- Turning Back Around by Rhodes because deep down you know your path.
- All is Well by Austin Basham because love isn’t easy but all will be well.
- Don’t Kick The Chair by Dia Frampton feat. Kid Cudi because you’ll bounce way quicker than you fell down.
- These Times by SafetySuit because these times are hard but they will pass.
- Youth by Daughter because if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky one.
- Rehab by Rhianna or Amy Winehouse because it’s the starting point. And both songs are as catchy and repetitive as rehab exercises.
- Dreams by The Cranberries because it’s impossible to ignore if you want more.
- Upswing by Prinze George because you will always rise.