When you struggle with worth

I’ve been avoiding writing for the last two weeks.

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about, in fact I have a list of about 15 different topics. I’ve been avoiding sharing the actual struggle I’m going through and sharing my heart with you all. The exact thing I set out to do when I started this blog.

Truth is, I still feel unworthy of this title of being a runner. I still struggle with accepting the various opportunities that are coming my way. I feel like I don’t deserve the amount of effort that others are putting into me and helping me to be better. This has nothing to do with anything I or others have done and everything to do with my minds ability to not accept anything from others and myself. One of my faults that I’m still working through.

I’m constantly being reminded that I am deserving of the things I am receiving. Not just because of who I am but because of the work and dedication I have put in to get to where I am. It’s not easy to do a 180 on your life, re-establish your identity, and desire to chase the impossible that is put before you. Yet, somehow, that is exactly what I have done.

I keep thinking back to what my life was like 3 years ago. I only dreamed of being where I am today. And after failed attempt by failed attempt, something finally clicked for me. I was able to face an eating disorder, find some form of activity that I absolutely love, and dare to chase things that seemed impossible. I praise God daily for letting me live the life I have lived, because without the willingness of the person I was three years ago, I would have never made it to where I am today.

And a huge part of this all was willing to put my trust in where God was leading me. It’s not easy to be broken down to rock bottom and be willing to reach your hand out towards something you can’t physically see or touch. But my willingness to do so has allowed God to walk me through an incredible journey that has lead me here. To be able to write about running, identity, body positivity, weight loss, and self discovery.

I know that sharing the dark side of my heart is terrifying, but doing so is another aspect of what I’ve been called to do. I’ve been given this gift of writing and a platform to be able to do so. And I am so honored by those who read this little corner of the internet and allow me to speak light and positivity into your life. I’m hopeful to push through this roadblock and get back to writing more soon. It’s just taking a bit more time then I realized to re-establish what normal looks like and what this next layer of being a runner really means.

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Until next time

-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

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26.2 Miles Can Break You

I don’t entirely know how to start this. Do I tell you how terrible of a race day I had? Do I share that I finished but had to fight like hell to cross that finish line? Or do I share that though it was the hardest thing I have ever done, I wouldn’t change a single thing? I have been struggling with the words to say for a few days. Honestly, if I could, I wouldn’t write a single thing and continue to tell people the race was hard but I survived. But that would go against everything that I stand for. If we don’t share how our experiences really went, we will continue to live in a world of fake people and I want to break down those walls. There is power in vulnerability.

I am finally starting to become proud of the accomplishment of running a marathon. A week later and it still does not seem real. I think part of this has to do with the dark hole my  mind has been in around the race. Though people are congratulating me, it doesn’t seem like I am worthy of praise. Some have gone right into analyzing my race and telling me part of my shortcoming was starting too fast. For those people, I recommend you not do this to anyone else until you ask them how they are mentally doing post race. You threw me into a deeper spiral and I am lucky to have climbed out of that hole in a short amount of time. Some people are telling me how proud they are of me, but it still doesn’t seem like running is something you should be proud of. Even though I know not many people will go out and run a marathon.

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The Chicago Marathon broke my spirit and everything else along with it. The day was hot, the miles were long, and I spent 11 miles during the first half of the race not knowing a single person cheering for me. I hit the wall at mile 6 and wanted to walk off the course. I spent miles 10-22 convincing myself not to cry and to keep moving forward. If you know me personally, you know it takes a lot for me to cry and to be in a spot where I don’t think I can keep going. I tend to be the person telling others that we can make it regardless of if it is true.

The little things that kept me moving forward were knowing I would see familiar faces every few miles once I reached the half way mark, getting random texts of encouragement, and having Oiselle/November Project/Team Nuun teammates come up to me and say hi. I had to learn to rely on the kindness of strangers in the harder miles. From the person who gave me chapstick and body glide at mile 16 to the kids handing out tissues outside their house, the city of Chicago came through for every runner on the course like I have never seen before.

I had to dig deep into my memory to remind myself of why I was running. I had to keep telling myself I was doing it for the girl I used to be, the one who only dreamed of being able to do something and changing her life for the better. I had to force myself to reflect on every stage of my journey, from the first few Days with Jennifer emails to the training runs for this race, and everything in-between. I even had to toss my expectations out the window and roll with whatever came my way, because my expectations were bound to leave me broken and worse off then I currently am. I had to keep checking in with myself to make sure I was not going to pass out like the many people who were around me. And I had to make sure that the people cheering for me knew that I was grateful for their support.

Looking back I know that I wouldn’t change a single thing about this race. My watch didn’t really work from the beginning so I had to run based on feel, my family ran all over the city making sure I knew they were there, and the friends I had on the course gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going. I realize that it’s in the midst of doubt and fear that we find our ability to persevere. The tough runs will come. It’s our ability to move past the doubts that makes us stronger. And I am significantly stronger today then I was before the marathon.

I am starting to understand more and more that though the race was challenging, it is about more then just running 26.2 miles. It is about the community that came alongside me and encouraged me every step along the way. It’s about the dedication I threw into the race and my determination to not let anything stop me from doing this. And it’s about my willingness to let God lead when the journey doesn’t even seem possible.  Completing 26.2 miles was just the icing on the cake of a journey that I have been on for a long time.

Today I was able to cheer on my friends, teammates, and tribe at the Snohomish River Run and it helped restore my hope in the sport of running. I realized how lucky I am to have these people in my life, among many others, who believe in me and the things I am doing. It was an honor to be able to return the favor to them as they chased their goals. I know it will take me a little while to completely process everything that took place in Chicago and the emotional roller coast I am on with it, but I know I will make it through and will be ready for what is next.

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“You will struggle,
You will sweat,
You will cry,
You will want to give up.
But above all, you will overcome, because you were meant to be great.”

It’s a calling 

I was called to run. 

It may sound odd and you may not understand. But the real truth is that God placed a calling on my heart to place one foot in front of the other. To chase something I have always dreamed of doing but was too fearful to try. 
I believe this calling came after a frightening experience in Nepal in 2016. While flying across the small country, one of the propellers on the plane stopped working shortly after we had taken off. Most people will rationalize being able to fly with one propeller, but when you are in a third world country on planes that are well past their expected life, this is not a good thing. And we all knew it. You could hear a pin drop as the flight began its descent for an emergency landing. By Gods grace, we made a perfect landing, in a wind storm that shut down the airport moments after we landed. 
I have never been so afraid in my life. The closer we got to the ground, the more fear walked up in me, not knowing if I would make it through the landing. I started thinking of my life and if I had lived it to the fullest. And though I had done many things, I realized that I let fear hold me back from the things I really wanted to do. 
I truly believe that this is where God got ahold of my heart. I realized I couldn’t live my life in a state of fear. If I wanted to do something, I needed to try. Regardless of failing, looking dumb, or getting hurt. The first thing I did after we made it safely back to Kathmandu was pierce my noise. And shortly after I returned home I started running again, pushing through the fear of re-injury. 
Within a month, I had a thought of doing a half marathon. Honestly, I think god placed this on my heart. I started telling people I wanted to do it and within a week decided I was going to make it happen. With some support and a community of encouragers behind me, I trained and ran my first half in October of last year. And from there things took off. My love of running and sharing it with others were the things that kept me going. 
In November of last year I read an article about why you should throw your name into the lottery for the Chicago Marathon. Though I had just put my name in the lottery for the New York City Half Marathon a week prior, I decided to throw my name in the Chicago lottery. 15 minutes before it closed and not even giving a thought to what training and running a marathon would mean. 
A few weeks later I received notice that I would get to run the NYC Half and the Chicago Marathon. I hadn’t even been running consistently for a year. But I knew I couldn’t let fear hold me back. I started training for NYC on Christmas morning and decided I would only focus on the race ahead, instead of the one almost a year away. God knew what he was doing. And I decided to put my faith and trust in the process, knowing that everything would work out for His glory. 
Today I boarded my flight to Chicago filled with excitement, joy, and gratitude. The things that have happened, the places I’ve been, and the community around me are part of this journey and have helped keep me going. God has been faithful to provide for everything I have needed and has continued to reinforce that this is what He has called me to do. It is by faith and through His grace that on Sunday I will complete my first marathon, just one year after completing my first half marathon. I could have never imagined this for my life, but He knew it was going to happen. He called me to live out my faith through running and I could not be happier for this calling and the path He has placed me on. 

Whatcha’ doing on Wednesday?

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More specifically Wednesday morning?

Like, at 6:29 am?

Sleeping? Maybe? No?

The reason? Oh, ya know, I do this thing called November Project and I think you should check it out!

Yes, I am aware it is early. That it is dark outside when you wake up. And, who really wants to workout that early? Don’t get me wrong, we all start out this way. But something wonderful is waiting for you if you chose to #justshowup

21078508_666452358835_5163624016720510083_n.jpgI don’t say this about anything. Really, I mean that. But when something has impacted me so greatly, I have to share. I have to spread the word that this amazing community of people get together each and every Wednesday morning. It’s not just about a workout. Granted, that is the excuse we have to come together, we really gather to be there for one another, cheer for one another, give a hug or high five, and make the most of breaking down the stereotype of the “Seattle Freeze”.

Over the last year, I have showed up, worked out, hugged, and formed a community. I found something that I never knew was missing. I have built relationships, found friends, joined in on runs on the weekends, gone to happy hours, raced alongside these people, and showed up to cheer them on for their big moments. They are my community, my formed family of crazies, and I love them greatly.

18058043_1145195412258996_4490467788411668617_n.jpgThey have watched me transitioned and evolved over the last year. They have been right alongside me as I have trained for half marathons, countless races on the journey to 30 by 30, and even my first marathon. Each week I get to catch up with them, as they ask about my training or the other various things going on in my life, and I get to do the same for them. My own formed community that is always challenging me to be better, for myself, our community, and the world around us.

20953291_10102390114323547_7861631732083289927_n.jpgAnd today I was reminded that this community is bigger then our little city. You see, I am about to run my first marathon in Chicago next week. I have been so excited over the last few months, but as we get into the single day countdown to the race, I am starting to panic (slightly). But today, my community came around me. They reminded me that I am ready for this. They reminded me that they are with me, even though they might not physically be there. And the people who will be in Chicago are reminding me that they will be at mile 22, right alongside our greater community of November Project, giving me the hugs, love, and encouragement I will need to make it to the finish.

This community is bigger then me and our city. It’s bigger then you. And it is willing to welcome you in and change you, if you let it. So, as winter shows itself once again and you settle into your normal routine, consider showing up to November Project.  You don’t have to talk to anyone on your first day. But I can guarantee you that you will feel the community from the second the bounce starts. And it will have you wanting to come back week after week to join the community that is waiting for you with open arms.

Find a tribe close to you or visit one next time you are on vacation. Every Wednesday at 6:29 am. Regardless of weather or the state of our country. The tribe will be there waiting for you. All you have to do is #Justshowup.

-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

An Ode to 28

I am a big fan of birthdays. It is an opportunity to celebrate a person and everything they are. We get to look back at the amazing year of life they have lived and think about the year ahead. It’s an opportunity to share a little extra love and kindness to someone and remind them that they matter (granted, we should always make sure people know that they matter!).

Yesterday I said hello to another year. Yes, I am officially 29, welcoming in the last year of my 20’s. I was able to spend the day doing things I love, surrounded by people I love, and feeling lucky to have had such an amazing year. You see, 28 was the year I found myself. I ran three half marathons, completed 17 races, started crossfit, created this blog, pushed myself past my limits, strengthened my relationships with those around me, was awarded staff member of the year at work, received the honor of being client of the month at Experience Momentum (where I spend a good amount of time), was published on Women’s Running’s website, and even signed a contract to be a contributing bloggers for Women’s Running. To say my 28th year was a good year is simply an understatement.

I entered into my 28th year not knowing what to expect. I was told within the first few weeks that 28 tends to be one of the best years of your 20’s, and mine truly was. It’s the year you really fall into your own and I can say that I am proud of the person I am today. The many different trials and challenges throughout my entire life have molded me into who I am today and helped shape the past year I have. And I can’t properly say goodbye to 28 until I recognize it for the many wonderful things it brought to my life.

As I look into the next year of my life, I am overfilled with excitement. The first few weeks alone include running my first marathon and reaching my goal of 30 races by 30! I will be writing twice a month for Women’s Magazine, and continue to pursue my strongest self. Ill finish the last few months of 2017 being fearless in every aspect of my life and I will search for the word the will shape 2018. I know that good things are ahead, not only for this next year but for many years to come. God has blessed me in many different ways and I can’t say thank you enough for this provision. I am also thankful for each and every one of you, for you all have had some sort of influence in my life, wither you realize it or not. So here is to you and another year of living as my best self! Cheers!

-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

Origami cranes 

When it comes to sharing, I’d like to think I’m fairly open. I’ve gone through things in my life that others can relate to. And the more I write and share, the more I realize that my hope in these writings is to come alongside those who are in the midst of a trial and looking for someone to relate to. I want to inspire someone to try running, encourage someone to make one small change in their health journey, or show someone that there is a world outside of the person who hurt you. 

You see, at times we feel like we are walking this life alone. It can feel like no one has gone through what we are going through or had an experience similar to our own. The reality is we are never alone and there will always be someone who can relate to what you are going through. There will be someone who is on the other side, someone in the midst just like yourself, and someone who is just embarking on the path you are on. I’m learning this more and more each day, especially as I am hearing stories from you about your own trials. 

My hope is that this little space of the internet will remind you that you are not alone and that it will encourage you in whatever it is you are going through. Life will always throw curve balls, but when we realize we are in this together, the curve balls are not as intimidating. Still changing to deal with, but not as frightening as we may think. 

I think of all of this as a origami crane. Think of the many different folds it takes to create. The amount of skill and effort put into one simple yet beautiful piece of paper. It’s easy to see the finished product and think it was simple to get there. But as you start to look into the work and effort, every mark and fold, you realize the effort it took to create is significant. Each of our own journeys is the evolution of a crane. One day we will look around and realize we are a complete crane. And in that moment we get to look back and see the work it took to get there. It’s a beautiful place to be. 

As you progress through your own journeys, think of how far you have come. We are all a work in progress, with many different aspects taking place in our lives. You are beautiful at every aspect of your journey, regardless of what you are told or what the little voice in your head tells you. And you are not alone in what you are going through. You’ve got this, and you have a community standing behind you supporting the goals you are headed towards. 

Until next time 

-Be Fearless, Go Boldly

To the one who broke me

IMG_2198.JPGI want to take a minute to say thank you. It may sound odd. In fact, it may sound like I have lost my mind. But when I stopped to think about the incredible year I have had, and past few years for that matter, I can’t help but think that you helped make this happen.

You see, if you had never walked away, I would probably be in the same place I was in almost three years ago.   That cycle of wishing I could make a change or do something out of the ordinary without actually taking the first step. Where I was afraid to take a risk or make a change without some sort of approval from you. I was stuck in a never ending cycle until you bowed out.

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I don’t know what made you walk away. And I have spent years working through what happened. But I do know that since that night, December 31, 2014, I have become a different person. I started investing in myself and pushing the limits of what I thought was possible.  Granted, the first year was spent trying to get your attention, but over time I transitioned to doing this for me.

I started running, just for the heck of it. Because it allowed me to go where I wanted, when I wanted, in any directed, for any amount of time. It allowed me to clear my head, to think through every aspect of the messy thing we were, because if we are both being honest, it was somewhere deep in the grey area.  And it helped me move forward, both figuratively and realistically.

I set out with a dream and I turned it into a reality. Instead of just dreaming about doing a half marathon, I actually made a commitment to go through a training plan and run a race. But I didn’t stop when I reached the finish line. I made another goal, reached a new milestone, set out to do more and be more.

I started picking a single word to influence my entire year, because it felt right to do something different.  In 2016 I made strive my word. If I could strive to do more, be better, and make a difference, I knew everything would be okay, regardless of if I heard from you or not.  This is also the year the I started doing things for me. Not for you.

This year I decided to pick the word fearless. I have lived in fear of a few things in my life. From fearing what others think of me, to getting hurt again (both physically and emotionally), and even fearing running into you and having to awkwardly dance around the fact that we ended on a bad note.  This word alone has taken me to new and amazing places.

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Because of my desire to live fearless this year, I have run more, gained strength through new and sometimes frightening workouts, spoken my mind openly, been a model and exposed my flaws to the world, shared my story through a blog, started a vlog to capture my life of training for a marathon, and I dared to put myself out in the world regardless of how it would respond. I even reached out to you, after two and a half years to try and close the chapter on what had happened.

You see, if you didn’t skip out on that wedding, I wouldn’t have done all of these amazing things. I would never have seen Mt. Rainier after climbing up 3,000 feet of trails and rounding out 16 miles of trail running with a relay team. I would never of met the amazing people of November Project who are always challenging me to do more then I think I can. I wouldn’t have completed three half marathons and train for a full marathon. I wouldn’t have chased the goal to complete 30 running races before I turn 30. I wouldn’t have started doing crossfit. I wouldn’t have lost over 70 pounds. I wouldn’t have found out who I really was. And I wouldn’t have moved on to the extent that I have.

So, I have to say thank you. Thank you for stepping away all those years ago. It has allowed me to become who I was always meant to be. Thank you for showing me what I was missing. That my life needs to be about me and not you. Thank you for showing me what I do not want in my next relationship. That I am worthy of having someone love me, just as I am. Thank you for helping me move on to the next chapter in my life. I am a stronger person now. I know that one day I will see you again and I will be able to tell you in person. But for now, just know that you helped propel me into an amazing place.

-Be Fearless. Go Boldly.