I ran my first ultramarathon at the Bigfoot 50k in December of 2013. I trained with two close friends as a way of getting time to myself after having my first daughter. There was a snowstorm the night before the race so the conditions were terrible, but I loved the entire experience! I figured I could overcome adversity through trail running. What I didn’t figure on was the type of adversity I would face.
I continued to consistently train up until I found out I was pregnant the following year. Ten weeks later, my life was shattered when I found out that I had lost the baby. I promised myself that I would spend however long it took to rebuild my confidence in my body before trying again. A year later, I was finally feeling more like myself again. I went through fertility treatments and was overjoyed to find out that I was pregnant with twins. Eight weeks later, I found out that one of the babies no longer had a heart beat. Two weeks after that, the 2nd baby passed. I have never felt more lost, defeated or alone.
What followed was one blow after another. I struggled to recover both mentally and physically. It felt like I would pick myself back up only to have life knock me back down over and over. Eventually after going through IVF in 2017, I found out I was once again pregnant. After an anxiety filled pregnancy, I gave birth to my second daughter. Once she was born, I once again began the process of rebuilding my mental and physical health. I had lost all trust in my body and was dealing with a lot of anxiety.
Overcome Adversity Through Trail Running
As soon as I was cleared to workout, I slowly began running again. I started to enjoy the time to myself every day as my mileage increased. I signed up for my first 12 hour race to give myself a goal to work towards. During the race, I experienced so many highs and lows. It was hard, but I realized that I already knew how to keep going when life gets hard. All I had to do was keep taking one more step forward and trust that it would eventually get better. I had been doing just that for the past several years. Although, I ended up finishing just short of my 50 mile goal I was hooked. The next day I said to my husband, if I could do that, I know that I can run 100 miles.
I ran my first 100 mile race at the Indiana Trail 100 a year later in 2019. Just like in the 12 hour race, I experienced the highest of highest and the lowest of lows. But I was able to find the strength to will myself forward when it got really painful. The feeling that I had afterwards is indescribable. Running these distances breaks something open in me every time.
I Can Overcome Anything
In my most recent race, Vernal Equinox 48 Hour, the conditions were brutal! We endured high winds, non stop rain, lightning and deep mud. I thrived in these conditions because I relied on the mental toughness and self belief that I have worked hard to build through my life experiences. I managed a distance PR of 140 miles and a 1st place female finish, over the course of those two days. This race only deepened my resolve to keep testing my limits.
After every race, I reflect back on how I got here. I’m grateful for the struggle. Over time I have not only gained my confidence back in what my body is capable of, I have also learned that anything is possible. I have run eight 100+ mile races to date. With each one of those races, I become more convinced that it is in the darkness that we can find growth.