All Roads lead to Boston

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I have this irrational fear of opening up about my dreams, because failure is so much scarier than success. I don’t want the world to know I failed! I would rather just tell the grand story of my success afterwards, and “erase” all of the failures I endured to get there. Isn’t that why the Facebook highlight reel exists?

My journey with failure really began with running. The first time I ever really struggled, the first time I ever really failed, was in running. 2 years ago I had one of two sesamoids removed and my running journey has never really been the same since (but thats a story for a whole separate blog post). Moral to the story: I fell into a very deep hole two years ago, and I have been clawing my way back out since. I lost my passion in life for so long and I am happy to say I now see every healthy day of running as a gift.

So, why am I scared of failure? If I had to admit the number of times I stopped, gave up, cried or quit during this winding road back to running, I would be ashamed at the relatively low level of perseverance I seem to have. I hid so much pain and defeat behind that black boot for 13 months, and what I learned is that hiding my failure is even harder than admitting defeat.

To this day, I am so scared of re-injuring my right foot. What happens if I break the only functioning sesamoid left in my foot? What happens if I break a sesamoid in the other foot? What about the change in my biomechanics? My perineal tendon, achilles and knee injuries ever since have proven a lot has changed and that I am very, very weak. It is completely rational to be scared of injury. But I am scared of career-ending injury. I am scared to lose my greatest joy and biggest passion. How do I balance that fear with the desire to achieve even more?

I LOVE to run. Nothing beats a good 10 miler with a little bit of sunshine and a few mountains in the background. But, what happens if I take running for granted? What if I become selfish and stop seeing running as this beautiful gift, and instead I become wrapped up in a training regimen? As I rack up miles on my shoes in pursuit of my dreams, what if I forget to take into account the possibility of losing this love of mine forever? What if achieving my dreams costs me the joy of running every day for the rest of my life? What if my dreams cost me being able to chase my kids later in life or being able to walk without pain when I am 35? I have so many fears… Fear that my love of running will become selfish and fear that this selfishness will lead to losing my greatest love in life.

Today, my dreams are winning. Today, as in the past few months, every spare moment, awake and asleep, is spent dreaming about the Boston Marathon. #1 on my bucket list is to run the Boston Marathon my senior year in college. That would mean I need to qualify in the next 10 months in order to run Boston in 2016. I have to run a sub 3:35 marathon within the next 10 months, just 2 years shy of having a very important, little bone cut out of my right foot. This is the dream that scares me more than any other. And, being myself, that makes it #1 on the bucket list. Even further, now that its on there, it will never come off the list until I have either succeeded or failed (but keep in mind, #2 on the bucket list reads “if I fail at #1 due to time frame, I will qualify for Boston before I die… no time constraint needed).

On long, tough runs in the midwest winter, I think about the marathon I am training for, and I imagine the moment when I come across the finish line, eyes on a clock that reads 3:29:59, and I burst into tears: tears of exhaustion and the most rewarding happiness in the world, tears of such great joy that even after all the times I have been told no, I persevered to say yes, tears to say “f*** you” to all those doctors who told me I would never run without pain again, and tears to say an overwhelming thank you to the God in whom I place all faith, trust and hope. That moment of pure elation in achieving a lifelong dream pushes me through so many dark days. It makes me stronger. It makes me appreciate this wonderful gift I’ve been given. It makes me want to chase all my dreams and never fail.

But, failure is inevitable.

Funny thing about failure is that no matter how many times I fail, all roads lead to Boston.

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A (Partial) Breakup & Open Love Letter

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Dear Brooks,
I’m sorry, but we will no longer be seeing each other everyday. I have found someone new who has helped cure all of my injuries. While I still LOVE the Pure Project line, and will ALWAYS and FOREVER wear the Pure Grit for any trail running, I will no longer be wearing you in my daily training.

Much love and respect.

Dear Hoka One One,
OH MY GOSH, I’M IN LOVE. You are the answer to my prayers, you make running feel light, powerful, happy and natural. Thank you for making moon boots that actually restore running to what it should be: PERFECT. You had big shoes to fill, but my GOODNESS did you fill them 5X over. Officially a Hoka LOVER.

Your new life love,
the midnight runner.

(I.e. I got new training shoes for my current exploits in all concrete training: Hoka Stinson ATR and MAN are they glorious to run in.)

Brooks

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I am in a relationship with my running shoes.

I usually say that as a joke, but to be honest, I spend more quality time with my tennis shoes than anyone else in my life. A lot of runners can understand this feeling, but how can I make non-runners understand why I choose excessive sweating and physical exhaustion over friends? I am hoping that the following pictures will explain a little of how I feel when I run, captured in photograph form.

Boulder Valley Open Ranch Space looking out onto the Flatirons. Breathtaking every time.

Boulder Valley Open Ranch Space looking out onto the Flatirons. Breathtaking every time.

Mills Lake, Estes Park. Glacial Lake at the halfway point of my favorite mountain trail. Can you say cliff diving?

Mills Lake, Estes Park. Glacial Lake at the halfway point of my favorite mountain trail. Can you say cliff diving?

The Brooks making memories in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Brooks making memories in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Brooks celebrating National Running Day 2013!

The Brooks celebrating National Running Day 2013!

In all seriousness, I have religiously worn Brooks running shoes for the past 5 years, and fully plan on continuing that tradition for the rest of time. I am forever a proud Brooks Runner (run happy y’all!), so thank you Brooks for carrying me through many miles of memories and pure happiness!

Run happy y’all,

the midnight runner

Chase Your Dreams

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Awhile ago, I made the biggest mistake of my life by giving up my dreams because they didn’t match my parents’ dreams for me. I stopped chasing my biggest passion, running competitively, to go to college for academics. I regret that decision everyday.

As a college student, I have a lot of pressure from many different people pushing me to be whom they want or need me to be. Usually what those people want is what is best for them, not what is best for me. You know that silly lesson your parents taught you about not succumbing to peer pressure? Well, take it very seriously, and include your parents in that “peer” group. I may not know who I am, what I want to do with my life, what profession I will choose, who I will marry or how many kids I want, but I do know that resisting pressure from all those around me is in MY best interest. And honestly, I should be my own best interest because if I’m not, who is?

Before you think I am totally crazy, here is a small back story: last semester I had the chance to transfer universities in order to start competitively running again. The school was not as strong academically (though still a renowned school). The school I attend now is one of the most well-known schools in the world, and will guarantee me a great career from the day I walk off the graduation stage. Obviously, my parents’ reasons for me attending this particular school are quite clear. But, what about mine? Why did I come here? Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that question, and never had. Everyone at this school has a very specific reason for coming… usually rooted in tradition, alumni, religion or academics. However, I don’t have that passion for my school, and from day one I knew that I was a much different student from those surrounding me. So, again I wonder, why did I come here? Then it clicks. My parents. My parents would be so proud to have their daughter go to this school. They would be so impressed, so happy, so pleased. Obviously, the decision for me was easy: do what Mom thinks is best.

The problem with choosing this academic-focused school is that I lost my biggest passion when I came here. I dearly love to run, more than anything else in the world. Capuccino from Starbucks everyday for the rest of my life? Start my own business? Travel the world? I would honestly pick the ability to run everyday for the rest of my life over anything and everything (except for my family, of course!). I simply love to run. Nothing will replace it, I am lost without it and I look forward to my run everyday like a kid waiting to go to a candy store. Truly, I am remarkably in love with running.

Which brings me back to the original point of this post: chase your dreams. I gave up my dream to run at a collegiate level because my parents wanted to be something I am not. Now, I spend everyday hiding my running from my friends because they think my level of dedication is insane, lying to my parents about how happy I am to be at this school when all I want to be doing is running on a team, and lastly regretting that one decision I made many months ago to simply make my greatest passion and dream come second to my parents’ wishes. So, my advice to you? NEVER STOP CHASING YOUR DREAMS.

Let’s not end this first post of mine on a negative note. I’m not a negative person… In fact, I am quite the ridiculously goofy, fun-loving and compassionate runner you will ever find. So, with that in mind, how am I going to fix my whole dreams lost, giant mistake situation? I’m going to run. In the -40 degree windchill and constant snow, I am going to run and smile the whole time. I am going to do what I love even if that means losing a few friends, good grades and hours of sleep along the way. Because, thats what dreamers do. We run in pursuit of what we love.

Never not running (except when blogging),

the midnight runner