by Coach Kelly
As I write this post, three years to this day was the last time I saw my dear friend, Sally. She had flown into Charlotte for a few days and we had a blast celebrating her birthday. We went on a couple runs throughout the streets of Charlotte and I made her swim in the warm pool at the YMCA, much to her dismay. We spent time dreaming up plans for our future. Before her flight home, she insisted that we make a last minute stop back to Dean and Deluca’s. She needed to get some more tasty cupcakes for her mother. I am pretty confident not every cupcake made it home to Mom:).
The following month, I was supposed to fly out to stay with her in Arizona and race a marathon. But, I was feeling a bit fatigued and my iron was low, so I canceled the trip. Sally ended up winning the marathon in 2:35.
The next marathon I ran, I wore bright pink compression socks, braids, and a shirt that said “Run for Sally.” I won that marathon, running relentlessly positive every step of the way. I ran for Sally.
Though Sally had natural talent and raw athleticism, her hard work made her into a champion. When she stayed with me, she showed me her three page core and hip strengthening routine she regularly committed to doing. She encouraged me to start with lower weight and rep count and gradually get to completing the 3 pages of exercises:).
In a day that forever changed me, I woke up to the horrific news that Sally was killed on a training ride.
Weeks before her last ride, she wrote me: ” I’ve always wondered if I could get to a higher level in triathlon compared to the level I’ve gotten in running (one of the best in the world versus just one of the best in the USA)… I want to give it a shot instead of putting it on the back burner. The training is definitely very hard and time consuming and it might seem scary at first but with great risk comes great REWARD!” My favorite quote. With great risk, comes great reward. She was on the cusp of living out her dream when tragedy struck.
Sadly, tragedy and suffering is a part of life. Terrible suffering and pain can put us in a position where we don’t feel like living the abundant life we were called to live. However, trials of this life don’t have to stop us. Trials can instead push us forward into finding greatness we feared pursuing.
I can say with confidence that Sally would want me to live fully and embrace every opportunity in this world. I continue to daily learn from the life she lived. When I strive to live out my dream, I begin to embrace the greatest gift of all, the gift of life.
Everyone has a dream. But often times, we are scared to pursue. Whether or not it is fear of failure or fear of crossing outside of our comfort zone, we tend to not allow the dreams to escape into the reality of action.
But, you have the chance. You have life. You can dream. It can become a reality. It won’t be easy. No one said it would be a smooth sweat-free road. It will take hard work, determination, and daily dedication. There are times when the last thing I want to do is jump in a cold pool on a brisk wintry day, or stay on the trainer for the umpteenth hour. But anything worth going after takes grueling effort. It will be worth it when you pour yourself into making your dreams a reality.
Sally had the dreams. She had the talent. She had the work ethic. She didn’t have the opportunity.
You have the opportunity. You have life. Every second of every minute of every day, you can live a full, abundant life. We make a choice every day how we are going to live. Let’s choose to awaken to the gift of life and make your dream your reality. Live your dream. Be relentlessly positive.