I expected to write this post a lot sooner. To be completely honest, I have tried to write this post several times over the past two weeks and have been unhappy with every attempt until I finally found my words tonight.
Have you ever had a moment where you’re able to see things so clearly that it’s impossible to doubt that everything you’ve experienced thus far has led you to that said moment? That’s exactly how I felt as I sat in a coffee shop as I waited to meet coach Nancy three days before Seawheeze.
I remember sitting there, waiting anxiously to tell her how I was feeling, and how surreal that moment was. I remember thinking back to when I first started running, how everything was hard, and how much I worried about ever being able to tackle a 5k race, let alone a half marathon. Yet there I was, waiting to tell her I was ready. Most of all, I remember feeling like every doubt, every struggle, and every victory had led me to that moment of clarity.
It is without a doubt that this has been a journey filled with some beautiful coincidences. So beautiful it has restored my faith in fate itself. Things fall into place for a reason. To my friend Amy, while I had a little dance with running a few times in my past, and while I’ve thanked you multiple times for what I’m about to say, you signing us up for Color Me Rad, along with encouraging me to run, was really the start of this wild adventure, so thank you (again). Your love of this sport and your fierce determination to succeed yourself will always be an inspiration to me that I hold close to my heart. To my friend Jenny, I didn’t realize it until recently, but without you enthusiastically joining me on my runs every week (sometimes multiple times a week) in the beginning of this journey, I may not have stuck with it, or realized how much I loved it. Each run we took, you motivated me and gave me the confidence I needed to just be myself. It was that comfort and that reassurance that really helped me develop not only as a person, but as the runner I’ve become. Thank you so much for that. To my friend Sarah, thank you for always unconditionally supporting me and for always making me dig deeper by asking the right questions. Without those important conversations I would have probably never started this blog or realized that even I have the ability to inspire others. Whether you realize it or not, I have a stronger sense of self because of those beautifully honest discussions. To my family, friends, and followers, thank you for all of your ongoing support, cheers, and believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I know I have thanked you many times for this before, but all of your words of encouragement have truly helped me get through some tough times. Sharing this journey wasn’t always easy, but it kept me committed and accountable. To my fellow runners out on the trails who probably have no idea this blog exists, thank you for running alongside me and giving me props. You may not know this, but when you took a moment to stop and talk to me, the kindness in your words came to me at a time when I needed it most. A time when I thought I would quit, but persevered. A time when I needed to have my faith restored in fate. To the awesome girl who smiled, clapped, and cheered for me as we passed each other, please know that I try to pass that joy and encouragement onto others during my runs. To my friend Heather G (who just happens to be coach Nancy’s sister – greatness runs in the family), thank you for making me part of the Tribe, and inviting me to everything under the sun, even if I have a hard time making the trek to Toronto. You are such an inspiration to us all, and you really delivered when you waited to share one of the greatest moments of my life with me. Now, the best for last. To coach Nancy, the real beautiful coincidence was literally running into you at Bayfront Park during my 5k training. Without seeing you there and setting up a coffee date, I may not have made it as far as I have. I know I have shared my gratitude with you countless times, but part of me feels like it will never be enough. You have pushed me when I needed pushing, lifted me up when I needed lifting, and been with me through every blister, tear shed, and triumph. I know that when you read this you will humbly mutter under your breath that I did the work, but I couldn’t have done that work without you, and I will be thanking you for the rest of time for instilling this new found greatness in me. You inspire me to keep dreaming big.
It is because of these not so coincidental coincidences that I am so overjoyed to say that I successfully completed my first ever half marathon upright and smiling. It is because of these beautiful experiences that I can sit here appreciating all of the moments it took to get to that finish line and how I can happily say to all of you to absolutely dream big. Dream so big that you never stop chasing it, because as corny and cliche as it sounds, if you find it within you to believe in yourself, anything is possible.