Embracing Your Best Means Failing Along the Way

Photo by Banga Studios

For as long as I can remember, I had unwavering confidence about what I wanted to do when I "grew up".

I wanted to tell stories about what it means to be human. 

But as I approached my college graduation, everything changed. Whenever anyone asked me what my post graduation plan was, I took a step backwards. My unwavering confidence was replaced with doubt. "I can't wait to do this" became "I can't do this". I was panicked, confused, and suddenly lost. 

I don't believe that there are right and wrong choices. I've experienced my fair share of trauma and hardships, and as difficult as it may be to understand what I've experienced and endured, I've come to understand that there are only better and worse choices.  

Running taught me that it doesn't matter if you feel like something is possible or impossible. What matters most is that you commit to try with every single fiber of your being.

Not a day went by where I didn't doubt myself or my ability to get to the finish line when I was training for my first marathon. I made every single mistake one could possibly make when training for and then running a marathon. Any running professional would have told me to wait until I was ready. But being underprepared, as stupid as it sounds, is why I needed to do it. I needed to prove to myself that it didn't matter whether something felt impossible, what mattered is that I tried and dared to fail. I needed to jump in head first and prove to myself that I didn't need to have things figured out before attempting something I didn't know how to do.

Over the years, I've found myself in situations that I was again wildly underprepared for both professionally and personally. 

I wasn't ready or prepared for my brother to die.

I wasn't ready or prepared to gain and then lose over 75 pounds.

I wasn't ready or prepared to become a professional in the running industry.

I wasn't ready or prepared to fall in love and then have everything fall apart when I laid my cards down.

I wasn't ready or prepared to move to New York City.

And that's not even the tip of the ice berg. 

Life isn't about being ready or prepared. I was ready and prepared to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time during the 2016 Chicago Marathon and I still failed to run my goal time. But even though I didn't do exactly what I set out to do, I don't have a single regret. I gave everything I had and I walked away knowing that even though I didn't BQ, it's not impossible. I just need to try again. 

Giving up is always an option. It's not a wrong choice, it just isn't the better one. 

Regardless of where you are in your life, what matters most is that you dare to fail because failure is inevitable. But even if you fail, should you finish knowing that you gave something your all, you won't have a single regret. It's a hell of a lot easier to brush yourself off and continue to fight when you know you gave everything you had. 

Always give 100% regardless of whether or not you think something is impossible. You can do anything you're willing to work for it. 

All that matters is that you say yes to yourself. 

It always starts with a first step.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.