courage

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-Anais Nin

Since my introduction to ultrarunning in 2011, I have been fortunate enough to be able to run trails in some amazingly beautiful places with some equally beautiful people.  Some of my trailrunning experiences have been delightful, fun-filled romps through majestic forests on fluffy fragrant sun-dappled trails.  Others have been downright miserable. Frustrating, humiliating, ego-bruising, scary, painful.

The gift to me is: all those experiences are MINE.  Without the risk of trying that intimidating new distance, heading out on that sketchy terrain, running harder than I think I should….. I would have missed out on countless opportunities for growth & learning.

I’ve gotten horribly lost (multiple times), acquired quite the collection of trail scars, raced with bloody knees, bloody nose, sprained wrist and left all manner of icky vomity goop on the trails. (All that & I have yet to run my first 100-miler – !!)

Despite all the discomfort I don’t regret one single bruise or scar.

In February 2012, I toed the line at my first “hard” 50k, Rainshadow Running’s Orcas 50k.  SO many elements of this race scared me — the elevation gain, the technical trails, the long climbs, the “opportunities” for getting lost (my personal specialty), my lack of downhill prowess & the anticipation of all the speedsters cruising past me (“on your left!”) as I tootle along, praying to make the cut-off….

It ended up being my most satisfying finish line crossing to date.  It wasn’t fast or pretty but I FREAKING DID IT!

422834_2884901995152_1971014109_nOrcas 50k, 2012

In a few weeks, Lars & I will visit Orcas again.  I can’t wait to experience another fantastic trail adventure with him – just one of many we have been able to share since we met.  This year promises to be one full of risks & rewards, for both of us, in all areas of our lives.  I am so fortunate to have found a partner who both cushions my falls and celebrates my triumphs.

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I have a message printed out and pinned above my desk at work.  I glance at it every day.  Even though I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like (hint!!) I am also extremely fortunate to have, as my brother, one of the best men I know.  I don’t think I will ever meet a more careful, honest, thoughtful, kind-hearted & humble person.  It seems that every bit of advice or insight from him strikes at the very heart of what I was needing to hear. This is what he wrote to me last year when I told him I had decided to train for my first 50 miler:

“I’m a firm believer that we define ourselves by the goals we set. Committing to the goal is the hard part: whether or not or how long it takes to achieve it is secondary. What counts is the standard against which you choose to measure yourself. It takes a ton of courage to choose to grow– to become a new person, whose standards go beyond the ones you’re currently comfortable with. But that’s the only way growth can happen. And that’s what it’s all about! As Bob says: “he not busy being born is busy dying”. So get after it! But be willing to give up your old self–which, one way or another is always painful–to get there.”

This rings so true for me every single day.  Thank you, Bo.

Here’s to a year of courageous commitment to growth & full realization of our goals.  I, for one, am excited – !

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