Often we are confronted with seemingly impossible tasks. We are left with two fundamental choices: give up, or push forward. But how? When we stand at the base of an apparently insurmountable mountain… how can we possibly succeed? The answer is simple: one step at a time. No matter how hard it seems, all you need to do is keep moving forward. Put one foot in front of the other. Then repeat over and over again. When you break that massive mountain down into manageable steps, suddenly you look down and see how much ground you’ve covered. Suddenly you look down and see a most breathtaking landscape below. You found a way to accomplish the impossible!
Almost two and a half years ago, I was lucky to survive a serious hit and run while cycling home from work. I got up… somehow. I believe it was a combination of luck, instinct, and resilience. Luck: it could have been a truck instead of a Mini Cooper, I guess it wasn’t my time to go! Instinct: I still can’t explain it, and don’t even remember actually being hit… but somehow I knew what was about to happen. Somehow I ended up on the side of the road, rather than the center of it. In that moment, I somehow knew exactly what I needed to do to stay alive, and in the fraction of a second I had – did it. Resilience: Despite the spinal, neurological and other injuries I suffered… I would not let myself be stopped. I got back up. I kept moving. Pain and suffering meant nothing. I could feel it… I was alive. In due time, I knew I would heal.
Well, apparently it hasn’t been ‘due time’ yet. Not a day goes by where I’m not in extreme pain. My leg frequently goes numb, often losing feeling completely. My back pain fluctuates from severe to debilitating, as do my headaches. My ears ring, my brain feels like it’s going to explode. I still haven’t rediscovered my sense of smell, and my vision continues to suffer. These definitely haven’t been easy times. My health is a disaster, and I’ve been unable to obtain proper care.
But should I give up? Hide in my bed and cry about all I have lost? Or should I stand strong, and fight for the life I choose to live? For me this isn’t even a choice. I will persevere.
So, for the past two plus years… despite the pain and suffering, despite the uncertainty and despite the seemingly endless challenges… I have done exactly what I needed to. I have put one foot in front of the other. Painfully, often slowly… but consistently. From where I stand now, I look back at those challenges I’ve been facing. I’m in awe that I’m still alive! Honestly, it seems to defy logic that I’ve accomplished what I have, mostly on my own, while I was at my weakest. I look back, smiling with the knowledge that where most would have folded, not only did I stand strong… I moved forward, and remained happy in doing so. As I’ve said so many times these past few years: “I’m making epic lemonade out of a truck full of lemons!”
Last night I took a few thousand more steps. Quicker than I ever have before, I ran 1,000 miles for the year. I did so in a way I love: I approached that milestone with back to back half marathons for the third time in 2018 (and the first time I did so across two states). Even though that last mile was a challenge, I did what I needed to do to keep moving forward. And when I hit 1,000 miles, I didn’t stop… I celebrated the start of the next leg of the journey with my favorite type of running: quiet, barefoot beach miles.
At the beginning of this year, I resolved that not only would I survive… I would thrive. So far, even thought the odds have been ‘impossible’, I’ve done exactly that, I’ve accomplished (or come close to) some of my primary fitness goals for the year already! I’ve gotten quite good at shouldering the pain. Despite my ongoing injuries I set a PR in the half marathon. It’s not where I hoped to be three years ago, but considering the circumstances, I’m damn happy with that! I’m also within striking distance of my goal of 20 half marathons for the year. This weekend put me at 17, and I have at least one race on the calendar for the next three weekends! I knew at the beginning of the year that circumstances might make things difficult later on… so I approached my goals like there was no tomorrow. One of these days, there won’t be. I’m determined to make every single day I’ve got count until then!
My life will never be the same as it was a few short years ago. My health may never fully recover. I may not know how I’ll make a living, where I’ll find shelter or even a meal… but I breathe easy. I know that all I have to do is keep moving forward, one step at a time.
1,000 miles so far in 2018. 1KRC Legend Status, and many, many more beautiful miles to go. Here’s to the next steps on an incredible journey!