Sometimes You Have to Crawl


I came across this picture on Pinterest today and it made me stop for a second.

I’ve done all of these…including crawling to the finish line.

I was 16 years old and just 100 yards away from the finish line at a big invitational meet in northern Arizona. The wind was shipping across the rolling, stark hills and we were competing against smaller schools. These competitors had running in their blood; students from a handful of Native American tribes indigenous to Arizona. They were fast, swift and strong.

We had gained over 800 feet in elevation, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but our lungs could feel it. Shrubby, thorny vegetation, uneven, rocky ground and steep hills made up our course.

My run had been strong for the first 2.5 miles of the 3.1-mile course. I was close to my team members and we were on pace to earn a low amount of points (in cross country, each placement receives those points; the first five competitors are counted, so the goal is to get as close to the top 5 as possible to get a low score to win the meet as a team). Everything was looking good for a 1st place team finish.

Then the world began to spin.

I could see the finish line, but I was wobbly. I could hear my coach yelling to me on the sidelines, “Jen, if I help you, you’ll be DQ’d (disqualified). Do you need my help or are you okay?”

I dropped to my knees because I couldn’t keep my balance. Things were darkening and I was desperately trying to stay in the race.

So, I crawled.

There are many times I reflect on that moment when I’m training; when life gets hard; when I want to give up. When you want something bad enough, ego is not considered. You just…do it. You just crawl.

I anticipate more “crawling” moments in my running career and in life (though hopefully not quite like what I shared above). Sometimes, it’s just what you have to do to survive and reach the next mountaintop in your journey. The bottom line is: never, ever give up.

Stay tuned and I’ll share more about the story above and what was behind it. It was a real lesson for me and might be for you, too.


Follow me on and you’ll get training tips, see how my fundraising for buildOn is going and more about my journey to the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.



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