Welcome to my Blog!
Some posts may be out of order, trying to fix, January 15 is newest (scroll down).
For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
December 6, 2021
_______Push Your Limits_______
Have you ever told yourself or someone else "I can't do ________?" Or "I could never do what you do." I know I have, and I catch myself still doing it sometimes! Yesterday I ran my 30th full marathon at the California Int'l Marathon in Sacramento, but if you had told me after my first one that I would run 29 more I probably would have said, "I could NEVER do that!" I said it to myself when I considered running an ultra-distance race, I've said it to myself about swimming in the ocean, I've said it to myself about homeschooling my three kids when they were younger, I've said it to myslf about going back to school, and the list goes on.... Yet, I HAVE gone on to accomplish all of those things that I initially told myself I COULDN'T do! I say all this, in the hopes of helping you overcome your disbelief in your ability to do amazing things - and it starts with saying to yourself that you CAN do it!
Yesterday during those 26.2 miles my goal was to have fun and to remember all the other races I have run to get myself to this point of being able to run my 30th marathon and feel amazingly strong doing it! I've had injuries, I've had setbacks, and I haven't always had the most positive mindset towards my abilities. I doubt myself very much, but if I can learn to recognize that and turn it around then you can too! As the saying goes, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step," so I hope you will take that first step towards whatever it is that you tell yourself you CAN'T do, and tell yourself you CAN!
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. ~ Ephesians 3:20
November 9, 2021
_______The Road to Ironman ______
I just completed my 1st Ironman race, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. The path to get here was certainly just as hard, if not harder, than the actual race itself. I have been a runner for over 20 years, and this marathon was my 29th marathon. I had reached a point where I was ready for the next scary goal to mark my 45th birthday. Each event alone did not intimidate me in the slightest, but put them together in a day, and now I had a challenge! So I signed up for Ironman California 2021.
I started training for this about a year before, by consistently keeping cycling and swimming as part of my routine. Running was always there as part of my daily life. I trained through two moves, a divorce, a roll-over car accident, job changes, and a summer filled with wildfire smoke that made it extra challenging to get in training outdoors at times. I do not give up though, I pursue a goal with relentless determination. There were many times I wanted to give up, but I kept going. By the time October 24 came I felt ready! Then one of the biggest storms to hit California lead to a dissappointing cancellation ON RACE MORNING! I was beyond dissappointed to have lost my chance to finish what I started. I felt sad. I felt let down.
A few days before this race when the worry was starting to come in about the looming storm, God sent a huge rainbow across the sky on one of my runs (first picture). That was His way of telling me not to worry about the storm. The way God planned all this was so much greater than I could have imagined.
The day after the race cancellation, I got the news that they had opened up some spots in the already full Florida race which was two weeks later. I jumped at the chance by securing my spot, and then making the needed arrangements to make it happen. I got a free flight with points I had, free race transfer, split the cost of an Airbnb with a fellow participant, secured the last bike rental at the local shop, and my best friend was going to drive up from St. Petersburg to be my race support that weekend...it was all lining up! Below is my race recap:
I arrived three days before the race, I did the usual short shakeout run, practice ocean swim, athlete check-in, and dropped my bike off the day before at the transition area.
Race morning came... I woke up at 4am, drank my coffee and a protein shake and made my way to the transition area around 5:20am. I dropped off my fuel for the day near my bike first. It was quite cold for a Florida morning, so I asked a fellow participant if I could wait in her car with her. As the race start approached we made our way to the beach for the swim! My time came to line up, about 4-5 athletes at a time enter the water every 5 seconds or so. BEEP! It was my turn to go!! The ocean water was warm compared to the cold sand, and I ran in with the other athletes and started swimming out. We had two loops in the ocean to complete the 2.4 mile swim. I felt strong, and quite comfortable surrounded by so many other swimmers, despite my looming fear of sharks in the water. I consider myself a good swimmer and just kept moving forward. It became a little choppier in the water and it seemed to be a little more difficult to go back towards the shore to complete the first loop, but nothing that I couldn't manage. I completed the first loop in 51 minutes, which was about 5-6 minutes slower than I expected, but I didn't think much of it, and went back in for loop #2. Again, I felt quite comfortable heading out towards the deep ocean, but as I approached the first turn buoy, it seemed to get crowded, windy, and even rougher in the water. I continued to feel strong and kept going, only looking up to keep sight of the turn buoys. I had to back off at times to keep from getting kicked by someone in front of me, but kept swimming. As I made the turn back towards the shore, it seemed increasingly more difficult, but still manageable, and I just kept going! I was enjoying the ocean swim and how strong I felt. As I reached the shore, I enjoyed the cheers from the crowd, and my accomplishment of completing the swim, I felt good! It took me almost an hour to complete the second loop, which seemed strange to me, but I continued on towards the transition area to change into my bike clothes. It was COLD and I had to move fast to try to stay warm. I would learn later that there were strong rip currents in the water that morning and many people did not complete the swim or did complete it, but not in the 2 hour and 20 minute time cut-off.
I used a large trash bag with a hole cut out so I could change out of my wetsuit and into bike clothes without having to use a porta-potty. As I changed I tried to quickly eat a protein cookie and drink water. It took 20 minutes total for the first transition, which I expected, I had to ensure I was dry, and somewhat warm for the nearly 7+ hours on the bike course to complete the 112 miles.
I started cold and tried to relax myself and get settled into a comfortable pace. I felt great, and wanted to keep it that way. My heartrate was slightly higher than I like it to be for a ride, so I kept the pace slightly slower and kept working on eating. Fuel for the bike was: my green smoothie, my beet/cherry smoothie, two peanut butter sandwiches, a Payday bar, three of my protein cookies, three packets of peanut butter, dried mango, and a full 2L pack of water (I did refill it once around mile 50). The bike course was mostly flat, through wooded areas, but there was a noticeable headwind for much of it. I never hit a low point on the bike and never felt low on energy. I've learned the hard way that not fueling often and early is a recipe for disaster later, and that wasn't going to happen today. I tried to take in all the sights, the sounds, and kept praying to God to fill me with strength for the whole day. Around mile 60, the headwind seemed to never end and there was a climb to go with it, but I knew the turnaround was coming and I'd have the wind at my back soon. I hit that turnaround at mile 70, which took us back towards the transition area. I kept the same effort, kept fueling, kept praying, and just enjoyed that wind at my back. I thanked God that I was here getting to do this. As I made my way into Panama City Beach, I finished my water, my last bit of Payday, and passed my friend cheering for me on the last mile into the transition area - it all felt amazing!! I had just completed the 112 mile bike course feeling strong and ready to go run a marathon!!
I changed quickly into clean running clothes, put on my running shoes and off I went for the marathon portion of the race. I took a packet of peanut butter and an energy bar in my pocket, but wasn't sure I'd need it. The course was an out-and-back that we had to complete twice. Mile 1-4 felt good, but I noticed my heartrate creeping up much higher than it should be for a run, and I was sweating more than usual for the pace I was running. I know marathon running, and it was way too early to have a heartrate that high and for my body to be working so hard. I started walking for a few minutes and tried to get it down, then I'd run slow again. This happened for several miles and I could feel my body getting weaker. My legs felt pretty good, but my entire body was low on energy. The mental game was on now, "this is too hard, Melissa," and "you're so slow, why can't you go faster?" I would catch myself saying it, and pray to God for strength. I would run when I could (slowly), and walk through aid stations to drink and eat pretzels. I reminded myself of the times I was injured and wished I was out running. I reminded myself of the times I had surgery and couldn't get off my couch. I kept praying for strength. My heartrate was staying low now, just keep moving forward. I looked up at the sky around mile 23 and saw a shooting star. God was with me. I wanted to walk, but I continued on running. It was a long battle to the finish, but I stayed determined. Nothing worthwhile is going to be easy. Not in life, and not for an Ironman.
I neared the finish and could hear the announcer and the cheers from spectators, I couldn't believe it. It didn't seem real. I made it. I crossed the finish line, my friend found me, we celebrated with hugs and it was amazing! This Ironman was about so much more than race day. I had made it through a year of training with many hard obstacles thrown my way, I had wanted to quit several times and I didn't. I had made it through it all and God had been right there the entire time. He gave me MORE than I prayed for.
Our bodies and our minds are capable of handling SO much more than we think we can, but we can't rely on our own strength, we must rely on God's to run with endurance the race set before us.
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. ~2 Corinthians 11:30
October 10, 2021
I sit here as I write this feeling very weak, sort of alone. Making changes in your life is not easy, no one ever said it would be easy. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't think it would be THIS hard. Don't get me wrong, I made these changes in my life, I am here because God led me here, and I followed. I love my new town, my new house, my new routine, the mountains all around me. It doesn't mean everyday is easy, most days I struggle with something....car trouble, locked keys in car, dog poop on my floor, broken phones, misplacing my wallet, someone dissappointing me -- but that is life.
I know I am strong, but most days I don't feel strong. Lately I feel the opposite. And you know what? That's ok. I have cried out to God more times and relied on Him because often there is no other way to turn. Paul cried out to God to remove the "thorn in my flesh," (2 Cor. 12:7). I know I have done that recently, many times. Asked God to remove this feeling in my stomach, the one I get when things don't seem right, when someone lets me down, or something goes wrong. Feeling down, feeling alone, feeling weak -- that is God telling me, yet again, to rely on HIM.
He is here, He is beside me, He is guiding me every single day. This is a hard lesson, to completely depend on God. I want to know what's next. I want to know what tomorrow will bring. And what next year will be like. I want all the hard things to go away. I want the thorn to go away. I want the mountain-tops, not the valleys. But know what? The valleys are where we find God, that is when we are weak, so weak it seems we can't go another step. And often we can't continue if we try to rely on our own strength, I know I can't. I can't rely on my strength, or anyone else's.
God is all around me. He is sending others at the exact moment I need it. He is sending new people to me. He is showing me to completely depend on Him, and not myself. I share this here so that others may see God, the way He works, the way He does listen, the way He shows himself. Sometimes it isn't what we want to hear.
Feeling weak? Feeling down? Having a bad day? Stop what you are doing to mask it, and pray. Pray that God will use it to show HIS strength, not our own.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion, The Lord protects the simple-hearted;, when I was in great need, He saved me. ~ Psalm 116:5-6
October 2, 2021
Peaks and Valleys....
It may seem cliche to title this as I did.... I have written previously about being in a dark, lonely place, so filled with sorrow that there seemed to be no end, no way out (scroll to May 30 and July 27). I found my way out, slowly, and with God's help. I have also found myself literally on mountain tops, filled with happiness and awe at God's creation. Most days I am in between the two. I won't go back to that dark place, but some days I am still sad. Some days I don't know why. That is okay. One thing remains true - there are constant peaks and valleys. Sometimes we remain in the valley for a long time, or it may just be for a short time. We must be grateful for all of it, as hard as it may be. Cherish those good days, write it down, celebrate it. Be thankful for the sad days, they make us stronger, and often connect us to God in a deeper way when we cry out to him.
What do you do when someone you care about is in a valley? They are sad. They are lonely. They are hurting. Do you pretend it isn't happening? Or do you feel what they feel in a way? I am someone who feels when someone around me is hurting. I sympathize. I want to make it better. God calls us to "weep when others weep and rejoice when others rejoice". I challenge you to be that person for someone else. The one who will be there when no one else is. To pray. To bring God to them by your presence. Let's be there for one another. No one should feel alone in this world.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:26
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. ~ 1 Kings 19:12
September 26, 2021
If you don't believe God listens or answers prayers, I challenge you to think again, to really listen, pay attention to those "coincidences" that happen. I've written before about how God "speaks" to me (scroll to June 3), but am still in awe of how clearly He answers prayers when we seek it wholeheartedly.
I am a caregiver for older people who need help with everyday things, I find great joy in helping those who need it and feel blessed to do it as a job. Over the past few months I have struggled with working for a home care agency, it just didn't feel right with the agency, the clients I had just didn't seem to need me. I found myself dreading my job everyday. To make a long story short, and after much prayer and thought I quit and started finding clients on my own as an independent caregiver. It was scary. Did I do the right thing? Should I have stayed with the security of a company? I continued to pray for an answer, and for the right clients to come along, the ones that needed me and that I could be of service to.
When I arrived at the new clients' home, it quickly became apparent that God had arranged this. The small "coincidences" were God telling me, "this is where I need you." There was NO mistaking that voice reassuring me I had done the right thing. After my first shift, they prayed with me when I left. I went home with a filled heart and a smile on my face. I was filled with gratitude and awe of the way God works in our lives.
God listens. God anwers. Sometimes not right away. Sometimes it is right away. Keep praying. Keep seeking. He is all around.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~ Jeremiah 29:13
September 5, 2021
The Real Adventure of Life
I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. ~ John 8:12
Yesterday, I ran my 27th full marathon with a friend, just for "fun," and as a training run for Ironman California, which is in 7 weeks. We got up at 5am, left at 5:30am, and were starting under the starlit sky at 6am from downtown Sacramento. We ran towards the rising sun, on the quiet downtown streets until we hit the American River Parkway where we continued to Nimbus Dam for our finish. We were met with cheers from my friend's amazing family followed by a jump into the lake! It was a great day, but marathons are never easy. We must endure even when it's not easy, when we are tired.
For me, the early morning is magical. It's quiet... often I've been out early enough under a starry sky to see shooting stars and the constellations. I've seen sunrises so faintly pink turn to blazing orange skies right in front of me. Where I live now, I hear the whooshing sound of pine trees around me, and the glorious pine smell surround me. I see butterflies, blue-jays, chipmunks, and sometimes deer, all scurrying about as I run or ride past on my bike. These things are easily missed if you don't adventure out into the beautiful world to explore and notice it. Each time I head out I breathe in the quiet air, the stillness of the morning, and talk with God, "please be with me today, God," or "please keep me safe on my ride today, God," whatever it is on my mind I say it. I eagerly anticipate what tiny miracle I will get to see that day. This is the real adventure of life --- to seek God in all we do, to depend on Him, to wait for what will come next around the next bend, to see the small "coincidences happening all around.
So, as with that marathon I just completed, I will endure, I will depend on my faith in God, I often can't see it, but I will trust that something good is around that next bend, that next corner....all the way to the finish. Even when I'm tired, when I'm weak, I don't feel strong, it's an amazing adventure. God offers the same to you too if you seek it.
God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18
July 27, 2021
Hope and the High Road....
I never really liked the term "rock bottom,"I mean, I've had hard times before, but a little over a year ago I found myself literally at the bottom. I'd never been that far down. It didn't even feel like me. I was depressed, in the process of ending a marriage, and unknowingly using alcohol (wine mostly) to numb out my pain. I never used to drink at all, who was I??? I didn't realize until months later what I was doing, I just wanted to escape, and wine did that. And what's wrong with a glass or two (or 4) of wine every night to relax?? I denied any problems. I had control. I did. I mean, I could get up and run every morning, teach yoga classes, ride my bike, clean my house, work...I WAS FINE. Until I wasn't fine....
I didn't have control of anything. I wasn't myself, even if I appeared so on the outside. It took some really bad days, not remembering much, and hospital visits, until I decided enough was enough. Get control of things, Melissa! So I started with what I could do, and it started with no more drinking. I just did it, marked the day, and never looked back - August 25, 2020. It wasn't really hard, besides breaking the habit of needing to sit down with a glass in my hand. I told a couple of friends what was going on, I went on walks instead, or poured a glass of juice, until I didn't really think about it anymore. One month turned into two, then three....now I'm almost to ONE year!!
Things became clearer, my heart healed better, my runs felt better, and I slowly became ME again. I messed up, I'll admit it, no one is perfect. I was just trying to survive unbearable pain, but I fixed it and I continue to do so. I don't know if I'll have a glass of wine ever again, for now I'm enjoying the path God has led me on - creating beauty out of ashes.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. ~ Psalm 40:1-3
July 19, 2021
Wait For the Lord.....
If there is one verse to sum up the past year and half or so, it would be Psalm 40:1-3. I've always been a believer in God, in His comfort, in His Plan.... but never have I been told so clearly to wait, just keep walking through. Keep going, even when it seems so dark, so steep, so lonely, I couldn't fathom continuing into the unknown. God doesn't forget us. God doesn't abandon us in our struggles. He is there. As I've said in another post, we all feel it differently - I hear Him in the breeze, in the wind, and I see Him in the tiny butterly that comes across my path, it is in the small, easily missed moments. Look around, you will find Him even in the darkest moments. I simply don't have an answer as to why people go through tough times, but I do know they make us stronger. They made me stronger. This latest struggle and hardship of depression, divorce, and moving seemed to have no end at times. I chose to keep going, through the sadness, through the fear, and I am on the other side now. I am even stronger in my faith. I am stronger in my belief in my own abilities to accomplish anything put in front of me. I am standing on the firm ground, I always was, but now it's just more clear. If you're in a hard time in your life, keep going. Pray. Then pray some more. He hears your cry for help. He will lift you out.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir
June 19, 2021
The Lord Determines My Steps...
#walkbyfaith #trust #outdoors #createyourlife
I find myself at a new starting point in my life after just closing on a new-to-me home in a new-to-me-place ....Gardnerville, Nevada. It's been a long, lonely, hard road to get here, and I finally found myself excited about it yesterday as I was driving down the country roads to pick up my keys. God never said that our path would be easy, but He said we must trust and he has "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Believe me, I know it's very hard to give control over for the entire future, to all the unknowns, to all the questions we want to know NOW. God has continually closed doors that weren't for me, opened the ones that were, and kept me on a path that clearly is meant for me, with tiny reminders along the way if I am looking and listening. I still don't know what the future entails, but I have constantly been reminded to quit striving to know it all, to quit striving to have an organized, structured life with all the answers ahead of me. That isn't where God is, that isn't where the trust is. The mountain trails, those quiet paths are where I'm renewed, where I feel God the most, but I think it is because I actually take the time to reflect on those harder times, the times when He was there directing me through the fear, even when I didn't feel it.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
June 3, 2021
#faith #godisgood #godallaround
What does God sound like to you? I think it's different for us all, sometimes it's subdued, sometimes it's so obvious we can't miss it...like a blazing orange sunrise sky strewn with golden hues and misty shades of pink, and so much peaceful quiet that there is no denying it is God all around. I can distinctly remember a moment during my 100k in 2017 when it was hot, I still had a long way to go (about 30 miles), and I was getting discouraged. I turned a corner and was met with a huge gust of wind that made a swoosh through the trees that just seemed to say, "I am here with you." A calm came over me and I carried that strength with me until the final 62nd mile. I never forgot that sound. I still hear that swoosh in the pine trees every time I hike or trail-run, and can sense that it is God reminding me that He is there.
Sometimes God is very faint, and we must slow down enough to hear, to see....it can be a friend showing up at just the right moment, a thought in our head to call someone we are thinking of, a passing butterfly, a shooting star we may have missed if we didn't look up at just the right moment, a kind gesture towards a stranger, letting a car in front of you in traffic, or practicing patience with a family member. These are just mere moments, but easily missed opportunities, they are God using all of us to serve a purpose, to work together for something larger, even if we don't yet know what it is. Don't miss your chance to be a part of it, keep your eyes and ears open for the subtle workings of God. Don't let life's busyness drown it out. I know I don't want to miss out on a chance I'm given, so I'm listening, I'm seeing, I'm seeking to find the good in it all.
'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' ~ Hebrews 11:1
May 30, 2021
When hope Survives and God answers......
#walkbyfaith #changeyourlife #depression #beautyfrompain #hope #bereal #beyou #liveagreatstory For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Have you ever found yourself in a life you knew you weren't happy with? A life you knew wasn't really you? Not what God created for you? Maybe you just couldn't admit it to yourself? Didn't want to face it? Maybe you knew it would be painful to make a change?
These are all questions I was facing in early 2020, it had been a long time coming. It didn't just happen overnight. I was in an unhappy marriage, pretending to be happy to the outside world, drinking too much wine everyday to drown out the sadness (only a temporary fix), I had locked myself in the deepest, darkest hole of negativity, it seemed to have no way out, and my life circumstances and surrounding circle of people around me were not helping either. I felt trapped. I felt hopeless. I felt completely alone. I even told myself maybe I didn't want to be alive.
"There couldn't possibly be others people feeling this way. It's just me. I'm all alone in this." My mom was there through it all, all the painful, crying phone calls, begging her for an answer of what to do. She couldn't come visit with all the restrictions due to Covid. I had to do this alone. Day in and day out, this continued. Run all morning, cycle all afternoon, avoid being at home as long as possible, but eventually I had to go home to eat and shower. Drink wine all afternoon/evening until it was time to sleep and do it all over again the next day. My mom, my dad, close friends....they saw it, they knew my downward spiral wouldn't end well, begged me to stop. Denial and fear can keep you locked in the darkest hole because at least it's familiar there.
Eventually I couldn't hold it together anymore, I broke. I said, "no more, this isn't a life, this isn't YOU." I made the painful decision to end a marriage and break up a family. It wasn't good for anyone, not for me, not for my kids, and it wasn't a way I could continue to live. It was extremely hard. It was very painful and lonelier than I ever imagined. I stopped drinking. I apologized. I did what I could to make things right. I alone made the changes I needed to make to start to be myself again. I lost some friends. I lost all familiarity. I had to find even more strength than I knew I had. I asked God everyday to PLEASE show me that I had made the right decision, because it really didn't feel like I did. It felt awful. I needed to know that I had done the right thing.
Fast forward to today....over a year later, it hasn't been easy. NOT AT ALL. The dark days eventually started to have some light in them, some hope. Now the good days are far more common than the bad ones. One month of no drinking has turned into over 9 months. I had to look at myself and my faults. REALLY LOOK. I've had to face many fears and doubts, I still do. Everyday I have to push back those voices telling me I can't do this. I've had to surround myself only with people who are happy for me and my new strength, not the ones that want to keep me down.
That prayer I prayed to God? He has shown his strong presence to me throughout this entire process. There are no coincidences - there are tiny miracles that God has placed for me to see, if I'm not careful, I might miss them. Others have reached out to me to say they have had or are having the same struggles, new friends that actually GET me and have had similar issues to deal with have brought about new conversations and healing just by being understood, old friends have come back into my life to support me, my house sold for asking price, I found a house I love near the mountains, and the first offer was accepted. I survived a roll-over car accident with no injuries. I climbed mountains, I explored the outdoors like I used to before all this. I have found a desire to share my story, my struggles, so that the good can come out of it. My mom used to tell me during those long phone calls that something good was on the other side of this, I didn't believe it at the time. God always brings the good out of terrible circumstances. Always. I still have bad days, lonely days, I still struggle with fear, but I have hope, and that is something I almost lost. We must be willing to share our story, to step up, to help others, to be kind, to see the good in others, to never assume, to pray, to call, to reach out to the friends we see hurting. God can create beauty out of the darkest times, but not if we keep them locked up inside of us.
"He gave them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, for the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." ~ Isaiah 61:3
May 27, 2021
Small decisions lead to bigger things....
#nevergiveup #determination #beyou #bereal #createthelifeyouwant
I often like to look back at my story of how I became a runner and can't believe how one decision made such a difference in the person I am now. I made the decision pretty suddenly one day in high school after two years of being in marching band that I never really liked it and I was going to join the cross-country/track team instead. I really had no basis for this decision other than I knew it was an individual sport versus a team sport (I was notorious for being the kid hit in the face with the ball because when it came at me I was paralyzed by fear of it). I decided to share this news with my small group of friends and was immediately hit with comments like, "what, you don't run?!," and "Melissa, you can't join the track team, you aren't athletic enough!" I can remember laying in bed at night as these comments churned inside my head, and just remember thinking, "WATCH ME!" It lit a fire in me that led me to run that next day, and the next, I was sore, but I did it anyways. I was far from the best runner on the team, but I finished my last two years of high school on the cross-country and track team, made some amazing friends that I'm still in touch with, had a ton of fun, and it created a love for running in me that has never left.
What if I had let those comments stop me? What if I had listened to them? What if I had listened to the voices inside of me each time I did something new, the ones that told me I couldn't possibly run 26.2 miles, that I wasn't good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon several times, to be a high school cross-country coach, that I couldn't possibly finish a 100K race (62 miles), that I couldn't swim, "I'm not a swimmer," I wasn't a cyclist, that I could never make it through a month of yoga teacher training, that I couldn't go back to school to change jobs and be a care-taker/nurse-assistant, that I couldn't write a cookbook, that I couldn't possibly search for and buy a house in a new place by myself?! I can list a million things here that I have doubted myself over the years, but I DID THEM ANYWAYS!!
All these decisions have led me to accomplish some pretty amazing things in my life and more importantly, showed me to never listen to the doubters, especially the ones in my own head. I am stronger than the fears and doubts. Don't limit yourself to what you think you are, to what you used to be, or to what others say you should be. If you have a dream, a goal, a challenge to overcome.... DON'T GIVE UP, work towards it, don't move away from it because of fear! It's not easy, but it's certainly worth it. Once you get a taste of that strength, that courage, fear won't have a chance.
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