A follow up

My story started off like a majority of running stories.

Girl falls in love with boy. Boy breaks her heart. Girl is left to pick up the pieces. Boy is never to be heard from again.

The fact that this is a common reality for a lot of women runners says something. There is something about a broken heart that drives you to do desperate things. Things you would never think of doing. Like jumping out of a plane. Traveling the world for the sake of finding yourself. Learning to cook. Moving to a new city where you know no one. Figuring out how to figuratively and literally place one foot in front of the other and move your life forward.

But what do we do when the past catches up to us? How do we handle when the wounds we thought were healed are ripped open again, leaving us with a sting of pain similar to what originally happened.

I am branded by what happened to me. Some days I feel that people can read what happened to me on my forehead. “Ghosted at wedding, never to hear from him again” is what it reads. “Broken hearted but trying to heal”. Looks of sorrow and pity, people taking refuge on you and reminding you at all times to take care of yourself and to allow time for what happened to heal. But I thought I had healed. Why is this something that keeps coming back to haunt me?

A year ago I wrote a piece titled “To the one who broke me”.  A thank you letter to the man who decided that I was not worth his time anymore and ghosted me on New Year’s Eve at my friend’s wedding.  I publically made it known that I cared so much about one person who didn’t entirely feel the same, to the point where he cut off all contact from me for over two years. But in those two plus years, so much happened in my life.

I found who I was. The person God was calling me to be. I learned some of life’s hardest lessons, like patience, healing, self-discovery, and how to forgive. Or, at least, I thought I had learned how to forgive.

When I took a risk recently, all in the pursuit of being fearless and believing that I am worthy of giving and receiving love, all I could think of was- would this person do exactly like the one before did? Would he leave me here waiting for hours, only to never hear from him again? That is a scary thought to think as you are driving to meet someone and share your heart. This is a moment where my past came back to haunt me. Where all I could think about was how one person tainted my entire view of relationships.

You see, in December, I finally got an answer from the man who ghosted me. Almost three years to the day, after a few messages to not much of an answer, I finally got a response. And in no way was it what I was expecting. It was a shift of blame, a best of luck in what you pursue, a door shut in my face for what I hoped would be the final closure I needed to truly end this chapter in my life. I thought I had forgiven him, moved on in a way that seemed best. But, it turned out that all I had done was shifted this chapter to the back of my mind, hoping to never revisit it again.

And that is the funny thing about life. It has a way of bringing you back to the things that you never wanted to revisit. Reminding you that with time, patience, healing, and wise counsel, you will forgive and move on from what took place, no matter how earth shattering it might have been. I can’t sit here and tell you I know what the other side of this looks like. I am still sitting among the pieces, trying to figure out what true forgiveness looks like, how to move on when I know I will not see him again, and how to remind myself that not all men are the same.

I can tell you, that when I showed up to that coffee shop a few weeks ago, I was reminded that good men do exist in our world. That people do hold up their ends of commitments and show up. And even though things did not go as I would have hoped, they went in a direction that is helping me learn to heal. In so many ways. And if any encouragement can come through this, it is: People will continue to surprise you, your heart will remind you what healing it needs, and eventually you will establish a new view of what was once broken.

I am far from being done with this chapter. This seeking of forgiveness, of remaining thankful for what has taken place in my life regardless of how challenging it has been. For now, I will continue to seek God’s favor, to welcome people into my mess without fear, and learn how to let true, complete healing take place in my heart. Only time will tell where this adventure is leading. And I, for sure, am not ready to give up yet.

Embrace Your Body, Right Where It Is At. 

“How to drop 10 pounds fast”, “Do these 3 exercises for two weeks and get a six pack”, “Lose body fat fast with this simple ingredient”, “Get summer ready in 4 weeks!”. Everywhere we look, society is telling women that we need to improve the way we look. Just existing in the world as we currently are is not enough. The work we put in to being out strongest self should be kicked up a notch to reach this societal ideal of what strong looks like.

The latest in conflicting messages is to embrace who you currently are but always continue to strive for your best self. How do I embrace who I am currently when the world around me is telling me I need to lose another 20 pounds to be deemed acceptable? Wither we realize it or not, we have let society tell women what they should look like in order to gain worth and love. When in reality, we get to decide this each and every day.

As we enter into summer, the messages our culture is throwing at us will get stronger. The magazines in the checkout line will scream at you with headlines on how to lose weight, look great in a bikini, burn fat, and more. If you don’t believe me, just take a look next time you are at the grocery store and happen to not be in the self-checkout line. But, when we look to people like Kelly Roberts, Mirna Valerio, and Candice Huffine (among countless others), we are seeing strong women who are embracing their bodies and encouraging women to do the same.

As we march into the summer, I am reminded that it doesn’t matter what society tells me I should look like. My worth is based on how I feel. My body is a machine that is doing amazing things. And when I run a race, in a sports bra, showing my rolls and stretch marks, I feel strong and worthy. My encouragement for you in these summer months are to embrace your body. Each day you get a run in, chase your kids around, eat a delicious meal, or show up for yourself, thank your body for getting you to this place. You are worthy of love. You are beautiful, regardless of your size. And you are strong, even if you feel weak.

There is an art within vulnerability.

There is an art within vulnerability.

The willingness to share exactly what is going on in your life. To let someone in on the struggles, the complications, the mess that you sit in. To share your heart and know that it will get hurt. To let someone see the real side of you that you hide from the world. We live in a world focused so much on the highlight reel that we forget that aside from the highs, people live lives that are filled with secret spaces.

I am realizing within my own journey the need to share aspect that others would otherwise push aside. But, I am the type of person that can’t handle ambiguity. Honestly, it makes me uncomfortable and can create situations within my mind that get out of control. And when I stop to think about it, to sit with this unsettling, I’d like to think that ambiguity drives most of us slightly nuts. It creates unseen situations in our heads, hands us unrealistic expectations that we place on others, and is the driving force between what is reality and what is made up in our mind.

Sharing with others is also something that I am not good at. And this realization has taken place over the last few days. I am realizing that I like to keep people at arm’s length. To have the ability to let someone in to my life and mess on my terms and in my own timing. Yet, my own timing causes me to feel isolated, burnt out, and in dire need of community that I didn’t realize I was pushing away.

These aspects of reality are part of the mess that I seem to be in and that I can’t just shimmy my way out of. I have to take the time to sit with what is going on, the way things currently are, the place I find myself, and allow time for processing and questioning.  Questions like “What is God up to?”, “How did I end up here?”, and “What is next when everything seems so challenging at this moment?”. The types of questions that no one likes to ask themselves, let alone let someone else in to help them answer. Thanks social media for creating a world of highlight reels to compare our lives filled with non-highlight reel moments. You have made expectations and reality hard to grasp, causing people to think their life is worse than a majority of our own friends, when the reality is we all have our own mess to sit with and deal with.

I can’t lie within the walls of my own heart. I am searching and seeking right now. What is happening is all in the perfect timing of a perfect God who cares so much about me. I know that there is purpose for everything going on. I know that through the various things I do, clarity will come. God is walking people directly into my path and setting up divine appointments that I couldn’t even imagine. Though this time is challenging, I am thankful. Thankful for those who are walking alongside me, those who get that my means of therapy are running, those that are ok with letting me sit in silence in front of them even when it seems uncomfortable, and for those that can tell with one look at me that I am in need of love.

I’ve said it before, but community is the biggest thing that keeps me going. It’s the people who step in and reach a hand down into the pit and remind me that I am not alone. This is why I am always sharing that people need to find their community. The people who get them, who reach out, who sit and listen, and challenge with what is next. Find your people and love them hard. Don’t be afraid to share the depth of your heart and ask for help. And don’t be afraid to go for a run when you should be asleep. Sometimes the best therapy after an emotionally trying day is an “anything goes” run and good conversations with friends.

Until next time
-Be fearless, go boldly

Going in blind

Last weekend I had the privilege of joining many people, from all walks of life, in the Snoqualmie Valley Half Marathon.  Not knowing exactly what to expect for this race, I went in with the intentions to have the best time possible. Simply because if fun is not had, why am I even running?

To my surprise, this race is actually more of a trail race. It starts off with a lovely 1/2 mile through the Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation, WA, but quickly changes terrain from there. We dipped under a bridge and hit a section of very large loose rocks of 1/2 a mile, until we reached the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Little did I know that this trail was compacted dirt and gravel, not a paved trail like many that I train on (shout out to the Sammamish River Trail!).

To say I was shocked is an understatement. Nothing on the race page has said this is a lovely out and back on a unpaved trail. We were just informed it was a lovely out and back…. and trust me, I am the type of person who does more research then necessary to feel confident in what I am doing. That research lead to nothing in regards to this trail being an unpaved path.

You might not know this, but running on a paved path is completely different then a trail. Trails provide many unknown variables and use up a greater amount of energy. I set into this race knowing that my times and strength have improved greatly over the past eight months, so I expected a pretty good PR. That was quickly tossed out the window. But surprisingly enough, I did pull off a 30 second PR from my last half marathon, which was the Seattle Rock n Roll last June.

Though this race was not what I expected, I still greatly enjoyed it. Since it is on a trail, there is no need to worry about cars. The trail crossed one main road, and a very kind police office was monitoring it for us, as well as giving out cheers and high fives. Support was minimal since we were on a trail, but the views were amazing. There is something about being amongst the evergreens that just gives me chills and warms my heart, all at the same time. Its the simple things that made me fall in love with this course.

You see, my goal for next year (Yes, I am already planning for next year) is to play in the trails more. I want to do a 50k trail race. But I didn’t know that a similar experience would kick off with this race! This race showed off beautiful views of the valley, river, farmland, and crossed paths with many cyclists. Its false flat course was a slight challenge till the turn around, but it allowed for great opportunity to work on my mental game.

The out and back allowed for cheering of the lead runners, as well as everyone else. Since my goal is to have fun during races, I always make an effort to give out high fives, cheer others on, and just be a bit goofy. Like I said- if I am not having fun, why am I running? When you cheer others on or give high fives, you get to see their face change, and realize the impact you are making on them when they may be struggling in their own race.

Overall, this race was good. If anyone is up for a challenge, I would suggest running this race. Don’t forget your trail running shoes, if you have them. But be prepared to fall in love with Western Washington and trail running. Thank you Orca Running for this opportunity. You put on some amazing races and give out the best race photos. Oh, and did I mention the really cool medal and race shirt?! Yeah, all around this was pretty great, even though I did go in blind.

I am still on the hunt for a road half marathon, simply to see where I am at currently. My next big race is on September 30, running the Bellingham Bay Marathon. But, I am always up for more races, especially during this next training session. If you have a suggestion on a fun half, send it my way.

And as always, I can’t wait to see you all out on the road (or trail!).

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

Why I am proud of you

It’s not often we tell each other that we are proud of the effort we put in. I have started to realize this when I tell people who have given their full effort and fallen short. I share with them how proud I am of them for trying, for the dedication and work put into what they view as a failure, and I tell them that I am proud of them. The look I commonly receive is one of puzzlement. Why would someone be proud of a failed attempt?

I keep thinking to the saying “The hardest part of taking the leap of faith is jumping off the cliff”. And it’s so true. When you take the first step to try something- running, singing the national anthem, training for a huge race- the hardest step is believing the possibility of doing it and placing the thought into action. And this is where I am proud of you most. You see, its easy to fall, its hard to trust that the fall with be worth it.

I am proud of you for taking the first step. For continuing on the tough days, when everything seems worthless. For showing up on the day of the big event. And for giving your best effort. Yes, you may succeed and you may fail on the big day. But when you start to view each day as a gift and another opportunity to give your best effort, you never actually fail. Even if you mess up the song, miss your goal time, or have a DNF.  If you give your best and remember the work you’ve put in to get to this point, it is never a failure. NEVER.

So for those of you who have struggled (which is all of us!), know this: I am so proud of you! You have done something amazing, regardless of the final result. Be proud of yourself and where you have found yourself. You are the strongest version of yourself today. And you should be proud of everything you have been able to do. Now get out there and keep chasing down the impossible, regardless of the outcome.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

We all need to feel connected

I cant understand why some people feel the need to ignore those they know. If I have learned anything over the last few years, its the power of community and the need to connect deeper with those we know. Wither its asking to meet for coffee, hanging out in groups, or simply saying hi to someone you kinda know when you see them around town. Community is important.

And in a time where we seem to be better connected with our phones over people, the need to connect with others is even great. But how can we actually take them time to put away our phones and make real life connections? How can we shift our ever evolving culture from what it currently is back to simpler times, like when we had to use a land line to call someone and we didn’t always know what people were up to?

I have thrown myself outside of my comfort zone over the last few days. I have decided to stop thinking about doing things that sound interesting and actually going after them. Last night I joined the local volee team and many people from out of town for the Thursday Night Flight Club at the Oiselle flagship store. I don’t know well with new people. I do not run well with people. And I feel that I am beyond awkward. Cue an interesting night. But I ran into a few people that I know from my team. I got to connect with them, I met a few new faces, and I went on a short run that impacted me in more ways then I thought it could. All because I decided to take a risk and stop living through my phone.

I remember the first time I went to November Project, the unsettling feeling of meeting new people AND being the slow person. There really are just something that you can’t overcome. But I met a few people and felt connected like I never had before. And I let it change my life. Week by week I continued to show up and let this community change me. They showed me what it meant to trust the goodness in others, how to try your best regardless of speed, and they empowered me to continue to chase my dream. All because I put my phone down and started making real connections with those around me.

Here is my challenge for you. Next time you are at a coffee shop, grabbing a quick lunch, or simply on a run, look up at those around you. It is easy to get trapped in our own mind, to scroll through the socials why we are in line, or to look down when we are running. The reality is we are all feeling lonely and in need of community. Strike up a conversation with the person in front of you. Say hi to every stranger you meet on your run. AND for goodnesssakes, say hello to the people you know when you run into them around town. Even if you are not best friends. Even if you have not seen them in years. Even if you wish you could shrink into a fly and leave quickly. Say hi, acknowledge their presence, and continue on your way. You might just change their entire day.

-Until next time,
Be fearless, go boldly

Kirkland Shamrock Run 5k

The Kirkland Shamrock Run will be a race I do not soon forget. My official start to the race season of 2018, this race did not disappoint.  As you may recall, I am on a mission to reach my long term goal of a 5k in under 30 minutes. My previous time was 30:50, at a turkey trot and it took everything out of me to get to this time. I’ve spent an entire off season working on strength, form, and my mental game. All to get me to the point where I can make this goal a reality and turn 2018 into my strongest race season yet.

I showed up on race day knowing that I would not reach my 30 minute time cap. Thank you allergies and the beauty of Spring. But my one goal was to have fun and make the most of the day. If I gave the race my all, I would come out a winner.  Race day graced us with unexpected sunshine and I could not have been happier. Joined by a few friends, we set off to warm up for the race and get into the starting line up.

Separated with just the right amount of distance, I joined the back of the running group, knowing that these would be my fellow people for the rest of the race. The race began and the energy was electric. It was almost as if the entire city of Kirkland joined us for this big day. Running out of the marina parking lot, I knew what was waiting for me just around the corner: the dreaded 1 mile hill up to the Kirkland Corridor. Yes, you read that right. A 5k that started with a 1 mile hill climb. But as they say, what goes up, must come down.

I powered after the hill, knowing that hill repeats and stairs have been a big part of my off season training. I could feel my strength as I continued to climb. Yes, I did take a few moments of walking, but played the mental game of “Walk to this light poll and then get back to running”. You know that game… we all play this game. Once we got to the corridor, I knew the worst part would be over. Yet somehow I forgot about the rolling hills for the next two miles that would lead me to the finish line.

I think the fact that I had beautiful views of downtown Kirkland, Seattle in the distance, and Lake Washington made up for the fact that this was a challenging course. But regardless of the challenges, it was an amazing race.

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I crossed the finish line in 30:55 and felt amazing! Not only did I just complete a challenging 5k course, I felt strong. The energy coming into the finish line just as strong as the energy finishing the race. And I knew, without a doubt, that reaching this 5k goal would be mine within a few months. The friends that joined me on the course also had an amazing time and had a few PR’s as well. Overall, the Kirkland Shamrock Run was a great day for all of us.

From the seamless setup and transitions, to the support on the course, a great after party at a local pub, and awesome FREE race photos, there are so many things to love about this race. I am excited about my next 5k and reaching my goal of a sub 30 minute time, but I am also excited to return to the Kirkland Shamrock Run next year.

Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly