A little over 9 months ago I left Salt Lake City and drove to Grand Forks. I hadn’t run in almost three months.
I didn’t think I’d ever run again.
I was so sure of this that I got rid of almost all of my running shoes. I cancelled races I’d paid for. I believed I was done.
I even cancelled my Runner’s World subscription. I almost couldn’t even bear to read about running.
But something happened on my very first morning in Grand Forks after my father and sister left. I set off on a walk, ostensibly to “explore” and couldn’t stop myself from running. I think I went around four miles that day, stopping to take pictures of my new home. A little less than a month later, I ran my longest run since my dismal Windermere Marathon finish in May. Those 16 miles were a revelation.
Two months after arriving in the GFK, I completed my first ultra-marathon, 6 laps or a little over 36 miles at END-TRAILS. In two months, I went from ‘never again’ to ‘aspiring ultra-runner.’
Life and running haven’t been a walk in the park since my first ultra-marathon. But something clicked when I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and started following my dreams. I started to believe.
I’m running across America next year; first because the cause of Sexual Violence Awareness and Rape Prevention are something I’m passionate about – and they aren’t issues that get a lot of press. In fact, more often we hear about these things being “pushed under the rug” like on college campuses. This is not a topic we like to talk about in the United States. But 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be a victim of a sexual assault in their lifetime. This is unacceptable, and I hope that by running a little over two marathons for 68 days, that will give us all 68 days to talk about it.
I’m also doing it, and every ultra-marathon I sign up for, because I believe I can do it. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have incredible moments of self-doubt and fear, but largely, when I hear about a new race and a new challenge, I think “I could probably do that.” I’m not always right. But I have the courage to try. I’m not sure that if I hadn’t left everything I knew to follow my dreams that I’d have the courage to think up new, bigger ones and then set off to accomplish them.
I’m not sure that on any fundamental level I’m different than I was 10 months ago. I worked hard then. I even accomplished some pretty cool things that I’m proud of. But I don’t know that I would have ever run my first ultra, or been flat broke in order to accomplish my dreams. Our limits are often mental, and it takes pushing them just a little to make possible what we once thought was impossible. Maybe even do what almost everyone else states IS impossible.
I’m never going to be a fast runner. I may never win a race. Or even my age group. I don’t even “look” like a runner. And sometimes, I fail. But I still think that I can do anything with hard work, positive thinking, and your support.
And I keep saying, “I think I can do that.”
What helps you accomplish your dreams? What has kept or what does keep you from accomplishing them?
The fundraising stage of Running Across the USA has begun! To stay on track, I need to raise just $60 a day. Every dollar helps, and I’d appreciate it so much if you donate or share the GoFundMe page!