Sunday, July 26, 2015

Self Narrative

We grow into ourselves it seems.  Every day, every minute, one decision at a time.  Like the favourite jeans we never wish to admit no longer wear quite in the same manner they once did.  We grow into our new skin.  At the end of every day we can only truly live with ourselves.  Learning to love ourselves, our worth, the space we take up, the places we create... that all takes time.  It takes time, hope, love and tons of practice.

I know very little about running.  I know very little about how to train for ultra running.  Gratefully I leave the details up to my Coach.  I know very little about recovery.  I know it as a thankless, frustrating self hating pause in my passion.  I know that that too passes.  I know to run for a cause is nearly as motivating as to run for the pure love of running.  I know I can only speak for me, for each of my own self serving steps along the path.  And I know, am completely aware, that I know very little.

When you were little, and your parents read to you, or a teacher, or a librarian; their voice becomes the voice you hear in your head when you read.  Your favourite science teacher engaged so much excitement for the subject that whenever you turned the page in the encyclopedia.... okay I am old. Whenever you click a new link in Google to continue researching, you hear that voice.  Or your Home Ec instructor, "cream the brown sugar with the butter, using the back of the wooden spoon... no no not a fork" These become stretch marks, self narratives.  Framework.  Social regard for how you think on a topic.

What's my point?

Socially encultured ideas can be both helpful and harmful.  How my generation was raised to think about disability, or rather how we were raised to NOT think about disability, for example, isn't on the helpful list.  To be both disabled in such a world, and to believe it better to remain invisible is a difficult task.  Perhaps it's harsh to say that coming to terms with the fact that I could never colour my kindergarten sky blue, if the word BLUE wasn't etched on the side of the crayon, has been a life long lesson.  The second step of course is to realize that I can in fact, colour the sky whatever shade I enjoy.  That is how I see it; in shades of possibility and promise.  And the ground when I run, darting in and out of visibility.  Why shelter the rest of the world from that perspective?

These days I don't do much trail running solo.  I have found that following a rather connected guide runner has made a huge difference in my ability to learn the skill of trail manoeuvring.  Not that I am skilled. But it offers me a sense of comfort I have not known.  To trust the earth to rise and meet my feet is a lesson I must always cling to.  To dance my feet through a smattering of rock and root on a slight slanted downhill, is not a task I can take on with fear.  Fear can freeze my breath.  Not the fear of the snake I might glance, or the toad that might hop across the trail between me and my guide runner two steps ahead.  But fear of a misstep.  Fear of failure.  When the sunlight breaks through the cloud cover, when it worms its way between the upturned dew drying leaves, when my ground transitions from a contrast I've come to visual terms with to an impossible jigsaw puzzle... Fear stops me.

My memory of steps is very short.  I can interpret and retain and dissect about three instructional descriptives at a time.  Root left, pothole right, rock middle.  Let that go.  Four more have already been fired my way.  Tree slanting in from the right, sharp drop left, narrowing trail into the middle.  Do you remember what comes next?  Do you duck? Or step up?  Too late, you missed three more instructions.  Three more chances at risk, at falling, at failure.  Where in all that, do I have time to actually try and see the trail? We fall into a rhythm of footfalls.  For every 10 things I'm told of, I catch glimpses of 2 or 3.  Following the same route time and again lets me memorize the sequences of this impromptu jig through the trees.  A number of times now, my wonderful, compassionate, ever so patient guide runner Steven has taken me on such a loop.  Over and over we pass through three miles of varied terrain.  Relentlessly, nearly feverishly, he calls out the same land marks in repetition.  I hear them.  I learn them.  But others too.  The way his pitch changes just before the first little technical climb, how he tries to hide its approach as if he knows my knowing there's a hill coming will slow my steps as they cloud with self doubt.  Or the manner in which he slows down just before a sharp right turn with an ever protruding stump on the right.  I feel his feet decide before I arrive, which way through the roots that snake across the trail would be safest for me.  I watch the shadow of his hand held water bottle across the top of the open field for where it splits and changes in angle.  There's a little ditch there, that will shallow your left toes if you are neglectful.  I hear the traffic on the left side of the green space just before the mile one mark, and I know, that six steps of a root dance are coming.  And that watch beeps.  I forget the words.  I hear thoughts instead.  I feel the trees giggle to see us pass again.  And again.  Like the fishermen on the boardwalk, like the geese paddling in stillness, like the breeze that brings promise of a new season.

Self narrative takes me away.  And fear will stop my step.  Sunlight invading my spaced out mind.  Fell behind three steps too many and I am lost. Now I'm angry I am lost.  I hear still, but can't piece it together from six steps back.  Step over a root not there yet.  Self doubt.  Threat of failure.  And I must remind myself, I don't do this running thing by anyone else's standards.  I do it the only way I know how.  "I've fallen behind" is commonly heard from me.  Likely more in my head than outloud.  I've fallen behind.   Yet I feel I've started behind.  Stuck in this encultured sense of trying to be invisible, less of a burden.  Yes I started behind.  But started didn't I?  That counts.  A mile is a mile, no matter how fast.  And a mile is a mile whether you saw it or felt it.

The last time we ran in circles, Steven and I, I said you run ahead really fast.... because he's fast, so fast in fact that in the time it took you to read this, he's finished another 10km.  Seriously, if I could run that fast, getting out the door for anything less than 12km would seem a waste.  So I said, Steven, you run ahead really fast.  I'll run a loop alone.  You can catch me on your second loop.  Self narrative.  I can't do that.  The suns up.  Self doubt.  There's too many options for turning, I'll get lost. Neither one of us armed with phones (return to the stone age right?)  You can catch me translated into you can find me, save me from the snakes, and guide us both out of the scary woods.  Self narrative.  I'm not supposed to do this.  Surely there's a rule book.  I will fall. My surprise?  He said "I'm not that fast, I won't catch you"

Wait.  Back up the bus.  Was that self doubt?  Disguised in good graces of proper mathematics and logic?  Here I am in my head, suffering my own self narrative, my own encultured worry of worth and you, my hero, think you aren't that fast?  Not, oh dear Rhonda, it's technical in there, you might fall, or get lost, or ... insert any number of terrible things my mother loses sleep over (bless her).  Holy self narrative batman.

Of course my answer was, you should leave then.  You're faster when you're moving.  No doubt.  And he was gone.  Before I could take it back.  Before the fear took me, froze me.  Before I forgot the taste of the banana I'd just wolfed down and instead tasted vile self doubt.  And no one left to save me  from my self narrative.

I did get lost, for about 20 meters.  Again stepped over a root that wasn't there.  Turned to see the pond on the wrong side of me.  Retraced my steps.  Found where they seemed to fit among the planks on the board walk again.  Heard that traffic on the left side to the green space.  Hopped over a log sequence in three that I couldn't see at all.  Left hop, left weave, right hop, duck right, hop last time.  Between two rocks, grooved there.  Past this place I was told there was a little board.  Ran over it 15 times or more and have yet to see it.  No shadow to follow, ditch was still very real.  Gravity reminded me to stop listening to myself.

Then it hit me.

I wasn't listening to myself.  The voice in my head, the one reminding me of the careful steps over the board with the nail, the rocks lining the right side of the trail, the root centre, root right, root right around the tree... That voice, keeping me safe, my new self narrative, was Steven's voice.  I've followed him for so many hours, he's become my internal story teller.  My sooth sayer of trees and mud.  My interpretator of the earth in all her glory.

We grow into ourselves it seems.  Every day, every minute, every decision at a time.  I know very little about this running thing.  I do know this, after seven years, it still loves me back.  It forgives me for not stretching enough, for not climbing hills enough, for not fuelling enough, for not visiting enough.  Running finds a way into all the corners of my life. It opens doors of access that I never knew existed before.  Every day I learn that the self defined edges I live in are merely comfort zones of landing between big scary goals.

I also am learning, that blue skies are overrated, that one makes their own magic, that if you offer a loved one a crayon and to be their canvas, you let them write a little in your heart and in your self narrative.  I am learning that some sense of acceptance along the journey is an important missing piece.  I am learning, that ultra running, is forever an ultra mental test.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Launch - Avon Trail Thru-Run

Watch our Launch Video here of the Avon Trail Thru-Run!

Darkness wakes us, the Envisions team that gathered here.  We stand together at a rock I’d missed in the winter snow weeks before.  Jeff, Sally, Susan, Steve, Steph, Steven, Karen, Bernard, and likely more I couldn’t see.  Some had come to run all 111km of the Avon Trail from St. Mary's to Conestgo.  Some came to share in a leg of the journey.  Others we would find throughout the day I’m certain.  By the river we stood.  A community newly formed for a purpose, the beginning of this little dream we have to change the world.  

The town sleeps as we begin.  Perhaps they miss our passing.  This makes me grin, for I miss their passing all the time under the sun.  Perhaps that’s slightly fair.  Crossing the water I breathe in that scent, that fresh spring catch.  You know the one?  A mix of defrosting worms and the promise of knee high mud for the day?  Bless this trail, bless these feet.  Let them carry us through, or if not at least the message of our quest.  

Other’abled Athletes are not often seen at all, let alone seen attempting thru-runs at the ripe hour of stupid o’clock.  Our support team is amazing, guide runners, support runners, company runners, crew, shuttle and those who just stop in for a smile at the side of a road.  They all give the story wings.  The Avon Trail, tucked away and mostly still a slumber, offered the ground to tread, but the story moves through us all.  The purpose of this non-profit, Envisions Project, is to create a space to dialogue about disability and sport, to empower the other’abled to reach beyond a comfort zone and accomplish a big scary goal or two.

Up a few small climbs, through muddy rutted fields, across creeks aplenty, boardwalks, sidewalks, roadside, and into the forest our team shuffled.  Our pace varied greatly throughout the day.  The original goal was to accomplish the entire 111km in under 20hours.  The varying abilities of our runners each leg changed our pace as the day crept forward.  Disability can be like that sometimes, offering different skills in different situations as time and circumstance change.  Any life can be like that sometimes.  Any runner would tell you, everything can change on race day.  Any other’abled person could tell you the struggle of safety crossing a road to buy groceries or pick up the mail can change on a traffic whim, on a weather whim, on an equipment failure, or on garbage day.  Relentlessly the team trudged forward, through a night and into the next morning.  If nothing else demonstrating that we all carry on.  

To watch the earth wake up, both seasonally and again the second morning, is a gift.  How often do you stand alone in the middle of a not yet planted field and stare up at an orange moon?  How many times have you become the arrow on the compass under so many stars?  Have you ever looked fear in the face and screamed into the wind “What, that’s it? That’s your best counter attack?”  Forward movement one slow step at a time, our team climbed that last hill in Conestgo some 28.5 hours later.

Envisions welcomes the chance to stand tall and share with the world.  We pull together like minded people, adventurers, to join the team and accomplish a ‘project’.  Together we dismantle this notion of the “other” and turn it upside down.  Together we support each other, we guide each other, we keep each other going.  We reach towards a big scary goal.  Together we challenge mainstream and inch in a place for dialogue and example of disability and sport. 
Envisions would like to thank all the team members that came out and participated in our Avon Trail Thru-Run.  We would also like to thank the Avon Trail for helping to enable our passage and spread our story.  

If you have a Project idea, let us know! We would love to hear from you. Envisions is a not for profit charitable organization that sets out to help 'other'abled athletes to achieve their goals. Through connections and networking we empower athletes to accomplish the Big Scary Goals we all have.  Email us at or visit our website

If you’d like to get involved in a Project or just find our more please visit our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Cheers to your many adventures!

Much love,

Rhonda-Marie Avery

Envisions Founder

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In Search Of Ultra

Welcome to Ancaster Ontario, to Sulphur Springs Trail Race 2015.  My 50km challenge.

It hangs heavy in the air.  This nearly nostalgic excitement of time and space and all things footrace.  Goosebumps crawl along my arms standing in the registration line on Friday night. Here I am, I remind myself.  I must remind myself.  Here I am.  This me, accepted here.  Shoelaces tied with the superstars of the Ultra.  We are all here on a quest, a goal, a dream, a hope... and some of us a dare... To reach just beyond a normal.

To me that links us.  In some cosmic, super cheesy, karmic driven way, we are all 'Other'.  To run a hundred miles, my dear friend Clay tells me, makes us one in a million.  I trust his math.  It's good for my ego.  

I am other.  I am other'abled, other'mother, other'gender, other'pace, other'driven', other'lover.  I am, me, in so many ways.  I am accepted in circles of understanding of The Bigger Picture.  Whatever that means.  we are all here, in search of the Ultra. The dust covered gators, the quivering quads uphill, the right to stand and say on Monday in our normal lives... I did that.

It occurs to me standing in the start that perhaps I don't fit in because of ... oh insert any number of reasons.  But I think, I hope, that's what makes us all fit in.  Seeing beyond the life I live, into this purpose of creating an awareness for disabled athletes offers me a venue to chase dreams.  Sometimes I fear, they are not even my dreams.  But rather the quests of many who dare not.  Who am I to deny the passage of work and effort through my veins?  Who am I to say I can't, when what I truly mean, is that I won't.  The fear of failure haunts my every breath.  It clings to my sweat soaked shirt under the ripe lunchtime sun on the course of my choosing.  It pulls my shoulders forward and down, in a disgraceful, hide yourself in these trees gait as I trudge behind my wonderful, patient guide.  Fear of failure tempts me to sit in that chair and stay put, making a choice to stop effort before embarrassment sets in.  Fear of getting caught, of being exposed as a fraud in this endurance demographic sings louder than any of my off key attempts at old 80's commercials.

To be in search of something, implies you are missing something.  I think this as I run.  What, on earth am I missing?  I need no buckle, the
coveted bling of a 100 mile race.  I need no further sting in my legs of the DOMS that await me in the morrow.  I need no better grasp on reality, if anything I search to let it go.  Don't we all?  Then what, on earth am I missing?
I wonder what they see, the other racers, as they pass.  A girl struggling?  A girl following?  A girl focused on the sound of light trodden feet?  A girl not lingering out on course as long as them? No 100 for me today. A girl different?  A girl the same? Heaven forbid they see a runner.  I'd prefer they merely notice a presence of an attempt out of place.  Disability never quite fits you see. We get tossed into many different boxes, many different categories, but we never quite fit.  We are the comparison to which one defines 'ability' in it's full functioning form.

Oh how I could fill a dictionary in the preface 'dis'... disallowed, discredited, disengaged, disfunctional, dis....appointed.  A lesson taught any number of times.  A lesson I refuse to learn.

Climb the hills.  Gripping hands on knees.  In search of strength I thought was hiding somewhere.  Disjointed jaunt down the embankment, a newly found fear of the ground that may not rise to meet my feet.  In search of trust I swear by daily.  A grateful prayer to the dark skies that allow me to take a friend through a loop alone, as pacer.  Not a role I've ever been permitted to take on before.  In search of skills I long to be granted in different ways.  To cross a finish line both mine and not my own, in search of Ultra and all it stands for, all it offers, all it takes away. Tangled laces, hidden tears, unspoken regrets for the lack of speed, lack of grace; in search of desire to find something missing.

And yet, as the hours tick away, the question remains; what on earth am I missing?  In search of the Ultra that hangs in the air.  Until I figure it out, I'll keep showing up, hoping for a finish just beyond my reach.  Just past my circumstance.

You can see it in the faces of the finishers, 22, 25, 28, 30 hours later.  They have found their missing piece.  And the buckle to hold up their bravepants the next time they choose to chase down the search for the Ultra.

Write your own dictionary I say.  Quick where's my pen?

What does Ultra mean to you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Envisions Project #1 - The Avon Trail Thru-Run

My how things change.  A year ago, if you'd told me we would be here again; planning, organizing, plotting crew stops, timing guide runners, gathering food and water... Well, I'd ... I'd likely say... with a chuckle..

"Well you didn't expect me to sit still did you? Not when the world hasn't changed yet?"

The birth of our Non-profit 'Envisions' came as a bit of a surprise.  Knowing there is a need for something in the core of your being makes it easier to take on a challenge.  Whether it's a personal challenge, or a task with a bigger scope; passion is a required puzzle piece.  After completing the Bruce Trail end to end with so much help and support and understanding, I was amazed with the free fall that followed.  Emotions you don't expect haunt your every step.  You begin to wonder why you took on such a major thing, if this, THIS was what waited for you at the end of it all?

There is a common thread in ultra-epic adventures of the plummet that comes after.  Of the black dog that stalks your door. The high you ride during, the sheer bliss of accomplishment at the end, but then this gaping hole in your heart a few days after.  In that space, that breathless vacuum, that feels so deep, so empty, so suffocating, I was astonished to receive a few messages from other disabled athletes who wanted to know how to step up and take a chance.

My only thought at the time was, I have no idea.  Who am I to know?

So I ask you, Who are you?  What do you stand for?  What do you move for?  What stirs the passion in your soul?  What drives you out of bed at stupid o'clock to find your shoes and head out in the minus 30 Celsius temperatures to face your fears?  What makes you believe you are worth others belief in you?

'Envisions Project' is the how.  When someone asks me, how do I begin with my goal, my dream, my quest?  This, is the how.  We are the bridge, the connection, the linkage between the here and there.  We are the support system, the belief, the drive, the focus.  Come to us with a dream and we will work to make it real.  We are here to piece together the puzzle of how you can Hike the Grand Canyon,  Climb your Everest, Complete your First Ironman, Take Part in an Adventure Race and a million more quests.

If you haven't heard us, I promise you will.

We are here to challenge the way the world thinks about Disability and Sport.  We are here to complete the sentence, with hope, with grace, with determination; How will you participate?.  And we would love your involvement.

Our first project is a team effort.  We are Thru-Running along the Avon trail.  This 110km footpath runs from St. Mary's to Conestogo.  Through city paths, rail trail, along roads, farmers fields and along edges of river, we will travel.  The group is dynamic and full of 'other'abled athletes, guide runners, ultra runners, trail runners, crew and support people too.  We start our expedition at stupid o'clock (5am EST) in St. Mary's on April 11 2015. Our estimated journey time is 17-20hours to completion.  Some are joining for the entire adventure, others for a leg or two, and some just to pop in and offer good cheer as we pass through.

Our hope with this, our first project, is to launch Envisions, with the message that anyone can take part, if given the right support.  If 10% of the world falls into the disabled demographic, a group that has no bias of age, gender, ethnicity or favourite jelly bean flavour, then why don't we see disability and sport in our every day?  This group has one other wonderful feature; it will welcome you at any time, for either an extended stay or a brief visit.

Think Envisions isn't about you?

Think again.

There are days I sit on my kitchen floor, hands wrapped around the steaming cup of thoughtful tea, and wonder... will this ever change things?  I ponder how the well intended bus drivers patronize me with sympathy the moment they recognize my disability.  I think about how the assistant at Union Station always takes me to the elevator and speaks louder to me when I've asked for help navigating across platforms.  I wonder as to why the teenagers on my street don't know what a white cane means.  I get lost in the dialogue of sports I can't play that are therefore 'off limits'.  I sit on the floor and listen to stories from other disabled people struggling to get to and from the gym to access the bicycle they've been granted a seat on.  In a world where trail running is my every day, but I refuse to grocery shop under the sun of mid day for fear of busy streets, I don't understand why we have to fight for the same simple rights of access to places and things that others enjoy daily.

Back to my question; Who are you?

When you hop on your bicycle, do you you think about how difficult that might be if you were missing a limb?  Or more importantly, missing the bike that accommodated for that difference?  When you drive to the trail for a run, do you think about the highway traffic and how you'd manage if you couldn't see enough to drive there or cross that road?  When you stand at the swim start of a triathlon, do you think about how you might not hear the other swimmers if your hearing was impaired?

Please join us, help us mix up the normal dialogue of disability and sport.  Volunteer your time, your skill, your hope, to help us create an awareness for the 'other'abled athletes out there.

Help us to Envision a new future, full of potential and accomplishment.

Hope to see you on the Avon Trail!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dare To Believe...

The alarm clock jumps to life in the muted hush of my slumber.  It seems that stupid o'clock waits until just that moment when sleep has finally arrived, finally settled in, finally made friends with the dragons that keep me awake most nights.  The sharp undertones of my wake up call shout from mountains I haven't yet climbed. They squawk relentlessly into the stillness I've cocooned myself within.  This moment of my pre-choosing, this moment I dared to believe, dared to trust, that in fact, I am  capable of achieving my goals.  This moment I dared to believe that I was worth the try.

Yesterday's run clothes hang off the drying rack.  They look limp in the dark, hanging there lacking the incentive to rise up by themselves and dance into movement.  They mirror my insides.  My every fibre, as much in love with running as every other day, craves to retreat heartlessly back into my cocoon and shelter my soul from the harsh weather, the invisible ground I might tread.  I cannot seem to reach out to touch those garments hanging there.  Disdain for my lack of enthusiasm, simmering self loathing for my lack of relish of effort.


Some days there is no place from which to retrieve this.

I reach instead for the kettle and the mug that sit in wait each night on my counter.  My eyes adjust to the LED luminescent glow of the heating water.  Breathing in life force, asking, no begging, the universe to lend me some driving force to settle into purpose. Steaming mug in hand, fingers intertwined around in a clutch that reminds me I have strength still.  Slowly, calculated manoeuvre, well practiced, I slid to the floor. My quiet, my peace, my happy place, my thinking space.  Here, eye level with my feet, I dare to dialogue with the what if's my spirit might bring forward.

What if I fail?

Failure according to whom?  To what standard?  Is showing up, trained and ready, prepared to give everything in spite of the odds, considered failure? I may tell myself that, but what would I preach to my children, so impressionable?  Is failure not more contained back under the warm linen? All cocooned in the ignorance that you could tolerate a life without this purpose?

What if I never improve?

Improve in what? Strength? Speed? Endurance? Patience?  Who's judging?  Well I am of course.  This is what you have a coach for. Let him do his job.  Trust in that.

What if it's not enough?

Enough?  Could you ever define what that might be?  Enough?  Can you imagine being more? Or less? Again, Who's judging?  Well me of course.

Tea half gone, stone cold, I put the mug back on the counter.  Pulling myself up off the floor reminds my every joint, ligament, muscle that stillness is not the way of life I choose. Yesterdays running clothes seem to wave in a wind I can't feel.  As if to say, Good morning runner.  Ha!  I do not deserve that title today I think.  Begrudgingly I pull them off the rack, pull them on.  Tossing aside my pjs, knowing there is no retreat from this.   Suunto in the window targeting a satelite that would record my stats, as poor as they might seem, for the entire world to read later.  Snow covered roads await.  Freezing temperatures tease through the walls of my apartment.  And my layers feel bulky around me.  I am transformed to a puffball marshmallow cross.  I am hopeful no one will notice my slow trudge out there this morning.

I wait as long as I can without suffering too excessive guilt.  Shout out several good mornings.  Notice how hearing someone else's voice can pick up my spirits, as if I'm not alone in it all.  Perhaps I'm not.  Perhaps belief is like that, some small thread that tethers us to each other.  Risking all failure, stagnant non growth and the likelihood that even if I am not ever enough, I must live with that too, I step out into the darkness of morning.

In the first 5km I have to walk three times.  I hear the whispers.  I hear the voices in my head.  I thought you were a runner?  Thought you'd accomplished great things?  I walked three times in the first 5km.  I choose in that moment not to keep this to myself.  This struggle, this pull to give in, this untimely unforgiveness for embracing a learning moment brings to me an awareness that I am not alone in that either.  Running in the cold is hard.  Walking in the cold, when dressed to run, is a hardship.  At the time I felt I deserved that discomfort.  Want to be warm?  Run.  My legs in revolt.  My lungs catching up.  My heart sobbing about the enough factor I had tried to leave behind on the kitchen floor.

The roads became busier. The day was winning the skyline.  The ground slipping into invisible, disappearing into the dare of desire.  Is that step road? Shoulder? Snow drift? Ditch beginning?  This struggle I knew. This was my disability surfacing, attempting to place itself in amongst the abled 'runner' genre.  I braved a road crossing to switch things up.  Sometimes a change of scenery makes the world feel new again.  I took a road I'd never touched, alone, solo, frozen day, invisible feet along a sleeping country road.  Risking failure. Gambling improvement. Tempting enough.

I passed a road closed sign.  Paid no heed.  There were still tire ruts under my toes.  I felt them.  Come this way love, they spoke.  Follow.  I did.  Trusting the solid feeling they offered.  Up over a hill I didn't know was there, one I couldn't see on the horizon.  But when I was on the top?  Breath taking frozen world in every direction.  On the wind I smelled breakfasts, heard alarms, rushed lives, all missing this. Invisible frozen world, waking up all around you.  Then the road ended.  I'm certain it wasn't always like that.  It was there one minute.  Gone the next.  Tire ruts misplaced.  Perception of this world again shifted.

Funny how I missed when the run became easier.  Funny how I skipped the overcoming of my fear.  Funny how I jumped from the hill top to the end of the road.  Funny how I don't remember the farmers fields lining the road thinning out.  Funny this feeling of my toes hanging off the edge of the road, my known world.  Staring into the abyss of what if's in front of me.

A 100 miles is my goal.  I have been here before, but not like this.  Not under threat of a 30 hour cut off.  Not with the weight of disappointing such a friend caught in my chest.  Toes hanging off the edge of the road.  Directionally challenged.  Or, challenging my direction?  Trusting in movement.  Trusting in my training.  Trusting in my coach.  Trusting in my shoes.  The earth felt empty in the next step.  Construction lives here.  I felt that.  My soul resonants with the same metronome.  Under construction.  Attempts at growth.  Daring to get up off the kitchen floor.

Daring to believe in my goal.  Daring to trust that I am enough.  Daring to know failure inside and out.

Daring to love myself anyway.


I could not tell you what was ahead of me on that land, where the road ended so abruptly.  I turned around, headed back another way.  Sometimes in life you must take the long way around to get where you so desire to be.  I ended up running through a school zone at drop off time.  My heart cried at the din, the confusion, the chaos.  My insides clawing at the edges of my tolerance for it all.  The comings, the goings, the rushing.  Trusting the earth to carry me through safely.  crossing guards I couldn't see, blowing whistles, waving orders.  They don't know I can't see them.

Why should they?  I'm not displaying my disability for them.  I'm just running.  Suddenly craving to hang my toes off the edge of the world again.  Anything except traversing through this.  Think I held my breath for three blocks.  Praying I'd live to run another day.  School buses thundering by.  Funny how I'd been sitting on the kitchen floor talking myself into this run and already I'm craving the next.

I found my turn.  Headed home.  Back to the warmth of my safe space.  My little cocoon of a world where the disability I try so blatantly to disregard can roam free.  Where the coming apart is akin to the piecing back together.  Strip off the layers of run clothes, hang them up on the rack to dry again.  They seem to wave in a breeze I cannot feel.  They seem to tease me with tales from the edge of the world.  They seem to taunt with pestering questions; what adventure will we take tomorrow blind runner?

And again, I dare to believe.... and set my alarm once more.