My hope is that it will inspire you to see running not as a weight loss or fitness tool, but as a journey in your own personal growth. Here, I take you along on some of my epic runs, and pass along some of what I've learned about myself through running.
Why I Decided to Run a Marathon1 of 13
My decision to train for and run a marathon was one of the first things I did that was just for me. For the first time in my life, I was doing exactly what I wanted and making no apologies for it. I was exploring my full potential.
Running Taught Me to Love My Body2 of 13
I was told once that I'd never be a runner because I could never have a runner's body. My thighs are thick, and hips are larger than most distance runners. I'm more short than tall, more packed than lean. I don't know what it's like to run with less weight, but I know that I've run 100 miles without stopping, and with no injuries. Whatever my body is doing, it's something efficient.
Running Stresses the Body, Calms the Mind3 of 13
When I run, all is well. My life sorts itself out. Ideas are born, and I find the tools to make them reality. My mind races, yet I feel calm. I run because it makes me invincible. Running taught me to survive. And then it taught me to thrive.
How I Overcame My Fear of Speed4 of 13
When I do interval or plyometric training, I run into trouble. I automatically hold back and try to save my energy. The reason behind that is fear that I won't be able to finish—that my energy will run out or I might hurt myself. Over time, I have come to understand that my strength will come back, and it's OK to exhaust sometimes.
On Running Barefoot5 of 13
When I run barefoot, my instincts come alive. It's like I have an extra sense. I'm sharply aware of every crack in the pavement, every pebble on the ground. I can almost hear the neural connections in my brain as I run over different textures.
Why I Started Running6 of 13
My sisters and I have lived lives of struggle; ultimately, we just tried to survive. I ran because running hurt. My muscles ached and I couldn't breathe. Like an ice pick through my heart, it focused my mind on only trying not to collapse. The greater the physical pain, the deeper the emotional relief.
On Explaining My Running to Others7 of 13
Running for me is a lifelong pursuit, and that's not something everyone will understand. People may accuse me of having an addiction, not finding enough balance, or neglecting day-to-day responsibilities. I've learned that it's best to leave my running unjustified.
Why Some Pain Is Good8 of 13
There is a pain threshold that most people dare not cross. But those who do become elites who have the willingness to push beyond what they are capable of accomplishing pain-free. And that's where they find greatness. I don't think running is supposed to hurt all the time. But if it never hurts, I wonder if you're growing or exploring your limits.
What Running an Ultra Feels Like9 of 13
Running an ultra is like living an entire lifetime in one day. You go through good, bad, happy and sad times. Every race changes you. Ultrarunning introduces a kind of intensity that changes your perspective on distance, time and emotions. Everything happens in extremes.
On Racing10 of 13
I need obstacles in life, something to strive for. [When racing] I am completely in control of how much I suffer. I can pull the plug at any time, or I can challenge myself and push my body to new levels. I choose my poison and can drink it gladly.
Prove Yourself11 of 13
Do you know when people start believing in you? When you prove yourself. When you finish. When you find success. So don't sit around whining about how nobody supports you. Know your potential and go after it with all of your strength.
Is Running 100 Miles Crazy? Yes!12 of 13
I actually believe there is no good reason for running 100 miles. But I also believe that I don't need one. I love the distance, and that is enough. I don't need to lose weight from it, and I don't need to earn money from it. Yes, ultrarunning is senseless, crazy and dangerous. That's sort of the point.