Throughout the course of my life, I have experienced more than my share of scary moments. While a few of those scary moments were agony-filled… for the most part they have resulted in growth. Sometimes, when we think we’re scared it’s actually self-doubt. Therefore, facing those scary moments can not only open ourselves to new and amazing experiences but also bolster our confidence in ways we never imagined.

Before becoming an amputee I was a runner, and a pretty good one at that. When saying “I was a runner”, I don’t mean I ran for prize money, trophies, or recognition; I ran for the sheer joy of running. The fields surrounding the farm where I grew up were my tracks; the woods were my obstacle course. Running was always a big part of my life, I ran simply because it was fun.

I then became an amputee and at the same time, suffered many other horrific injuries. It was months before I could even sit up in bed, many more months before I could make it from the bed to my wheelchair, even more months passed before I could stand up, and years would slip by before I could walk unassisted again. I was happy simply to be alive once more and running was, quite literally, the last thing I thought I would ever be able to do again. It was a part of me that I had resigned to live in fond memories and wistful stories. Then a string of the most amazing coincidences led me to discover an incredible new foot, (the RUSH HiPro) that would give me back a part of myself that I thought was lost forever.

While I was taking baby steps back into the world I loved so much, a good friend felt my pace was a bit lacking and decided to provide me with a little motivation. She signed me up for a half marathon. She felt having such an intimidating goal would force me to rise to the occasion and speed up my journey of rediscovery. Lucky for me, she was not wrong.

There have been very few things in my life that actually scared me. Now, I found myself standing in a most uncharacteristically timid manner at the edge of the world I wanted so badly return to. I accepted that I wasn’t a runner anymore and that I was afraid of building up hope and excitement in me again and failing. Having it just within my reach and then yanked away would be worse than just living without it, I thought.

My friend had convinced me to run the half marathon, and even though I was completely unprepared and thought I would fail, I decided to do it anyway. There were several moments during the race when I thought I would not be able to finish but crossing the half way point reinforced my determination and gave me the boost I needed to carry on. Crossing that finish line was the most amazing moment.  Hundreds of people may have finished the race ahead of me; hundreds of people may have set records, however not even one crossed that finish line with as big a smile on their face as I did.

I have since entered and run many more races and will continue to push myself to be the person I thought I would never be again. This January, I will stand at the start line of my first full marathon with butterflies in my stomach. I will be scared, I will doubt myself, and feel I will almost certainly fail. But then I will remember crossing that finish line. I will remember how that fear dissolved into such an amazing smile and I will cross my next finish line thankful that I did that scary thing. I encourage you to do the same.  Oh, and go watch my video portion of this blog too; you’ll enjoy the message

Enjoy your life. Do scary things.

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