Growth Gallery

So much of what I will be writing about in this blog ties back to progress.  I love the quote ‘A little progress every day adds up to big results.’ This is a visual history of where I started, and some of those moments throughout my life that were significant growth points.

 

Where it all began… I started out as a very quiet, very observant kid.  Wildly creative, was happiest in the woods, and was scared of everything except for animals.

 

This is the exact day I decided I wanted to be a runner.  I was watching my brother in a race (feeling oh so cool in his letter jacket) and knew I’d be doing the same thing one day.

where running began

 

Eventually I made good on that promise I made to myself and joined the cross country team in middle school!

new to xc

 

I loved running for years after the last photo was taken, and only in 2004 did I decide to start pushing my distance.  That year I committed to doing my first half marathon, and first full marathon with my high school best friend and college roommate, Jessica.  This photo was taken after the half.  I’ll never forget running in the rain that day, cruising past the 10 mile mark and celebrating it being my first time in double digits!

first half marathon

 

In 2009 I was getting ready for a divorce, and was baby-stepping towards spreading my wings.  I took my first solo vacation up to Door County, Wisconsin that summer.  It was scary and wonderful and a boost of confidence I never expected.

 

In 2011 I took a road trip out west and tackled a half marathon in Granby, Colorado. It was the first time I won any kind of age group award, and I was shocked.  It would soon become a borderline obsession.

first hardware

 

Fall of 2011 I took my first stab at ultra running but signing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.  The entire journey that day was incredible – the woods felt like my home, the people I met were so genuine, and I was immediately thirsty for more.

 

Spring 2012 I leveled up my solo vacation adventures and decided to go on a 5,000 mile road trip all through the southwest United States so I could train in deserts, mountains, and canyons.   I would be lying if I said there weren’t some lonely moments, but the experiences were so worth it.

 

In 2012 I pushed my running limits way beyond anything else I had done by taking part in the Ragnar Relay as part of a 3 person team.  Good Lord it was painful, but intensely satisfying. I realized my body could do a lot more than I ever gave it credit for.

 

July 2015 was big for me.  I went to Italy. Alone. Rented a car. And survived. It was amazing!

 

To make July 2015 even more of a life changing month, I decided to jump out of an airplane… and purchased my second jump as soon as I landed!

 

In the spring of 2016 I was training for my biggest racing goal ever – a 24 hour trail run.  Everything was going perfectly, until I came down with a lung infection and pneumonia.  It was awful. I withdrew from my race, and for the first time in my adult life, had to ask for help from people. I needed help walking my dog, getting my groceries, damn near everything.  The beautiful thing I learned is that people were actually eager to help me and sincerely wanted to do it. I wasn’t a burden.  Hot damn, that was a breakthrough.  I celebrated my birthday while recovering from that illness and never felt so supported and loved by a group of people.

birthday pic

 

By the time May 2016 rolled around my lungs were healthy, and I wanted to take a stab at racing again. I set my sights on the Rockford Marathon. I only told a few people I was racing it, and told even fewer people that I was going to make a run at a Boston qualifying time.  It was the best road racing experience of my life.  My stars aligned that day, my yoga and meditation practices paid off, and it was a slam dunk.  Drop the mic, I should just stop road racing after that.  It felt that good.

 

My life changed June 2016. I attended the Western States 100 with my friend David to pace him.  You can read more on that experience in my LinkedIn article The Happiest Moment of my Life.

September of 2016 I embraced the hurt and ran my first 50 miler. It hurt, a lot, but was so very worth it.

50-miler

 

November 2016 I moved running the Athens Marathon from the bucket list, to the to do list. Check!

img_1584

I donated a kidney on May 23, 2017. I have multiple posts on my main page surrounding this process, and the recovery.

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