I want to first thank my wife Amy. Without her, none of this would have been possible. She’s been standing by my side, and helping me “Go” since long before we ever headed to VT. She always gives her best, and she is an inspiration. We often talk about letting each other be “All the Kevin or Amy we can be”, and that often means putting yourself second. She’s way better at it than I am, and I am so lucky to have her.
To all my friends and family, your constant support and encouragement played a big part in this run. It’s a great feeling to know that people are rooting for you. It’s humbling to have a cheering section, and I thrived on every message that you sent. Your words meant so much, and I want to thank you for everything you did and continue to do. I don’t think I would have made it without your help. Besides supporting me, you also helped us raise $6,300 for a great cause. Each of the three dental clinics in VT will be receiving $2100. That is an amazing contribution and I know they are going to be floored. I hope your generosity brings a big smile to your face.
So what did I learn?
Everything worthwhile is hard. This is not a new thought, but it’s also not something you can just read and understand. It’s OK if running or strenuous activity isn’t your thing. If there is something out there that you really want, and you are willing to work for it, then it is within reach. The only thing stopping you, is you. I’ve been successful in other areas of my life, but this was different. I didn’t have to do this, and could have stopped at any time without much recourse. There is something very powerful about setting a goal and giving it everything you have, win or lose. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. Feeling the pure joy of pushing beyond perceived limits is something I’ll continue to chase.
The grass is not greener on the other side. Like a lot of people, I complain about work and dream of greener pastures. We’ve all heard the saying, “If you do something you’re passionate about, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I don’t think it’s true. If you are giving your time and energy to a task, it’s going to be work, it’s going to be hard, and it’s not always going to be fun. I realized this after 40 hours of running, 40 hours of doing what I’ve been daydreaming about for a year, 40 hours of doing what I’m passionate about (right now at least). I turned to Amy and said, “This isn’t any better than being at the office, I could certainly find things to complain about, and there are problems, just different ones.” Enjoy what you have and take chances to enjoy other things, but try not to spend your life wishing you were in someone else’s. That life is full of it’s own issues.
Facing adversity breeds confidence which breeds responsibility. I’ll take from this run not only more confidence in my running ability, but also confidence in being able to go after what I want. It’s a wonderful feeling to be on the other side of the threshold that separates being good enough and being great. With that comes the responsibility to give that effort in everything that I do. Why bother with any task if you’re not going to give it your all? I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and one accomplishment doesn’t make me a life expert, but knowledge is power. I know that sense of pride can exist in everything that you put your heart into.
I may not have finished all 272 miles of The Long Trail, but I had nothing else to give and nothing left in the tank. Technically, I fell short of my goal, but I did my very best, which is all anyone ever asks for.