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You Only Fail If You Never Try by VPA athlete Renee @runtrails_eatplants

You Only Fail If You Never Try by VPA athlete Renee @runtrails_eatplants

I am staring at the pool and wondering how I got there. The pool is empty and the water even looks inviting. However, I still cannot believe that I am about to jump in. I am not a swimmer, I am a trail runner, what am I doing here? This is way beyond my comfort zone.

Come to think of it, I remember when I wasn’t even a runner. A friend approached me and said, “Come to San Francisco with us, come run a half marathon.” This East Coast girl was like… ok let’s go, I always wanted to visit California. Then reality hit, what was I thinking? I have never even run a 5k, how the hell am I going to run the hills of San Francisco? I can still see my mom’s smirk when I told her and I hear her reply, “thought you said you would never run more than a 10k.” I took a breath and said, “yeah you know me, go big or go home.” (As that comfort zone expanded)

Training wasn’t easy, I was trying to figure it all out. Somehow, I got it done and found myself on a plane with my friends bound for CA. The night before the race, we had dinner at a restaurant at the base of one of the huge endless hills we were going to run the next day. That comfort zone was calling me: “come back in you can’t do this.” I had all I could do to choke down dinner. I am pretty sure I didn’t sleep that night and I am not sure how we got to the starting line, but off we went. I did curse my friends off a million times in my head while we were running, but I kept a smile on my face and crossed that finish line 13.1 miles later. Never again I thought. However, the feeling of accomplishment was huge and that comfort zone changed once again.

“Hey Renee, come run a 50k with me.” Um… how far is that, how bad could it be? What the heck, why not, you only live once. Laughter, tears, blood, ice, snow, rain and heat we have faced it all through the training cycles for countless ultras since. Rocks, mud, waist high water, falling off the side of the trail, you name it we encountered it. Not to mention the snakes, coyotes, bears, bees (yes, I am allergic) and wild dogs that have invaded my comfort zone.  Almost forgot the tree that just about fell on my running partner and I as we ran before the sun came up. We could hear it coming, but could not see it to know what direction it was going. All stories that would not be had without stepping outside that safety net. Wouldn’t change them for anything.

Now here I am, trying to pretend that I will be ready for the 3.5-mile open water swim that I was talked into. I should just quit now.  Yet, I’ve gone from not being able to swim 25 yds to swimming 3 times a week. However, I have never swam any distance in the ocean. What could go wrong??? Comfort zones, who needs them. Get out there and live. You have only failed if you never try.

by Renee @runtrails_eatplants