Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Never give up on your dreams! There are no failures, only lessons.

We all have pivotal moments in our life. These moments can have an immediate impact or they are slow to manifest and reveal their importance.

In 2005, I was severely depressed, drinking too much, angry, confused, with no apparent hope for my future. After having a beer with my neighbor in my driveway, I went to get the mail. I received an invitation to train for a marathon. I looked at it and instantly got excited. I went to my computer and typed in marathon training and read information about the Portland Marathon clinic. As luck would have it, training got started a few weeks ago. I instantly made a decision that forever changed my life, I was going to run a marathon. That decision came easy, didn't require much thought. This was in 2005.

My first training run was 10 miles, not the 4 that I should have started out at. "Who cares?" I thought. I had run 9 miles once on my treadmill a few months prior, which was a spur of the moment decision, I could do 10. At least that was what I thought. Even back then, I had a lot of enthusiasm for running. So here I was at my first 10 miles. I showed up with pretty Nike shoes, they didn't even have laces and I purchased them on Craigslist. My water bottles were similar to the ones on the right, with a screw on/off top. The training run happened to be a trail run! A muddy, trail run up at Forest Park! Was this the making of a dumb decision or the makings of a trail runner? I'll never forget that day, it was up to that point the hardest thing that I had ever done. The mud was thick and extremely slippery and the hills! I couldn't breathe the entire distance. I sounded like I had asthma. Now I could have went home and said forget it, it's too hard. But did I? Of course not! I loved it!

I never gave up. I showed up to every training run. I ran in the front so I could hear the pace leaders advice and I attended all informational meetings, doing everything my trainers taught me. Every higher distance was so exciting to me. I would constantly come home and say to my family, "ask me how many miles I just ran!"

However, as the miles got longer, something snapped, my body no longer wanted to cooperate and I almost quit. I remember taking a walk of shame home and I told my husband that I wasn't going to run anymore. A week later, I heard a voice that said I had to run that marathon, I had to do it not only for myself, but for my kids. I got back into it and ended up running that first marathon. It became the best and most rewarding, physical event that I had ever done. I still remember how I felt after mile 20 and coming across the finish line. I will never forget it.
Marathon #1, crossing the finish line. Click on it to enlarge, look at my veins popping out of my neck.

I really had no plans to run another marathon, but I remember a conversation that I had with my inspirational brother in law who just simply asked me, "why not run another one, why not keep going?"

Yes, why not?

Since that first marathon, all the races that followed were huge blessings, I have never had a bad race. Moving on to 50K's and 50 milers, the races certainly have become harder and I've had to drop out of a few due to injury (during training, not during a race), but I've never quit for good. I still aim to improve, to move on.

T-shirt that I purchased just before my 2nd marathon
And the people that I have met over the years, my friendships, I am forever grateful. You truly get to know someone when you run with them for hours and the experiences that we share are unforgettable.
Running my first 50
When my family moved from Portland to a small coastal town in Northern California in 2011, I again was faced with depression. I left everything and everyone I knew. I had my children, my husband and I was still running, but they didn't have me. My kids lost their mom, my husband lost his wife. By the grace of God, my family never gave up on me and God pulled me through my depression. The whole time during my challenging life moment, I never gave up on running. Running became my companion. I always told my husband, "You’ll know I'm really bad off if I quit running!" That never happened.

I have no fear. Another thing that happened is that I had to get over my fear of running alone in a forest. It was a new forest with bears, cougars and elk. A forest that I would soon learn that it would be rare to see another human. This was not like the forest that I was used to up in Portland. To this day I am no longer afraid; I've learned to overcome this fear. I've learned that being fearful is a choice. I've learned that all my fears were not real. I hear a lot of noises in the forest, but know they are just the sounds of the forest, they are comforting. I have seen bears and I have elk dart in front of me, I am not afraid.

I have also learned to develop an attitude that I can do all things and if I can see it, then I can achieve it. I ran my 1st 100 October of 2012, Javelina Jundred. I ran for 29 hours and 7 minutes. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done, yet the most rewarding, what an amazing accomplishment. It was an experience that I will never forget. I am now training for my 2nd, Mountain Lakes in September. I moved on to 100 milers with pride, enthusiasm, encouragement, no fear and of course I won't quit!I always thank God for the blessings that he has given me. He comes with me on every run.

I'm setting my goals high and I intend to achieve them. My biggest goals are to run the Grand Slam of Ultra running and the Badwater 135 ultramarathon.

***As of April of 2013, we moved back to the Portland metropolitan area.

"We all have dreams, visions and secret goals we keep hidden out of fear of failure...or the belief that they are out-of-reach or impossible to achieve. Never give up on your dreams! Life is a series of challenges, not difficulties. Hard times are our best resources, and there are no failures; only lessons."
Never give up!


  1. I'm so glad I took the time to read your story. You just inspired me to share my story of what inspired me to do my first marathon. When I am done I will be sure to share it with you. I also invite God to join me on my runs and He is the one who inspires me to train. It's my favorite time to spend with our Father.

    Sharyl Masuyama

    ps. I really enjoy your pages. Keep the POSITIVE coming! ;)

  2. Thank you Sharyl. I look forward to your story, yes please let me know how your marathon goes Sharyl.

  3. WOW! You are such an others, AND to yourself! be proud!

  4. What a great story! You have given me inspiration! So happy for you that you've worked through your issues and you find joy and happiness with your running! I am running my first marathon this year!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I love your inspirational messages and phots on FB, they help me get going or bring out of a funk. I love to run too; I run to clear my mind and push my body. Half marathons are my favorite runs, I have never run a marathon. I am currently training for a 50K duathalon, 10K road run, 25K road bike, 10K mt. bike and 5K trail run. It is my favorite event. I would love to do an ultra.