A tragic accident led one runner to live with the goal of going after the impossible.
One of the most dangerous ways you can live your life is to play it safe. Too often, we sell ourselves short or fail to live each day as if it’s our last. When was the last time you attempted something so terrifying that you thought, This is impossible?
After my 16-year-old brother passed away suddenly in a tragic accident, mortality started to rule every decision of my life. I began asking myself each day, What can I do with my time here on earth? It’s difficult to be patient yet persistent when tomorrow isn’t promised. But that’s exactly why we should strive outside of our comfort zones and set out to accomplish what feel like impossible goals.
Recently, I was sitting with some friends after the Boston Marathon and they asked me why I wasn’t attempting to run a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time. I’ve run five marathons and I’m very open about pushing myself to get faster, so setting a goal to want to run a BQ seemed like a no-brainer to them. I had a backlog of never ending excuses and it wasn’t until someone said to me, “I thought you said you were going to try to do everything that you said was impossible. I thought that was your thing.” And immediately, I thought, This is different, running a BQ time actually IS actually impossible for me.
I realized I was making excuses because I didn’t think I could take myself (or training) seriously enough to shave 24 minutes off my best time. It takes great bravery to admit that you want to do something that you don’t think is possible. One of the reasons why I want to share my Boston qualifying experience by filming the process is to show the doubts, discomfort and frustration that accompanies a training cycle. We live in a social media world where only the picture perfect moments and finish lines get shared. The real and normal moments when chasing the impossible: the moments of doubt, frustration and tears are rarely shared because there is nothing “perfect” about them. I’m excited to share my journey, growth, struggles—and let’s be honest, failures—as well because those are the moments that make every single finish line special.
Failure can’t be the thing that stops you from trying, it’s part of the process. Most of my biggest growth periods have happened after a crash and burn type failure. If you play it safe because you’re too afraid to fail, you won’t grow and become the person you deserve to be. There’s a real chance that I won’t hit my goal of a 3 hour 35 minute marathon during the Chicago Marathon. Will I be disappointed if I fall short? Hell yes. Will it be a defining failure for me? No. There will be more marathons and other chances to make my impossible, possible. My motto is fail better. I wish I could say I came up with it, but I didn’t. It just reminds me to push myself so hard that should I crash and burn, I can dust myself off, learn from the experience, and try again.
For many runners, Boston is the dream, but I was convinced that Boston wasn’t MY dream. I told myself, I didn’t need Boston because I was a “fun runner.” While that statement is still true I think I’m doing a disservice to myself when I attempt to define myself. The real fun happens when you get uncomfortable… so join me in setting your own “impossible” goals. Mine is a 3 hour, 35 minute marathon what’s yours? Invest and believe in yourself. We can do this because we’re stronger together. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.