Dear Kelly Roberts: Thank you

An open letter to Kelly Roberts.

Dear Kelly,

You don’t know me. We’ve never met or had a conversation. We did once have a Twitter exchange, if that passes for “we’ve met” in this social media age. Regardless, I started following you after your appearance on the “How Was Your Run Today?” podcast. I eagerly checked various outlets on Sunday to see how you did at the London Marathon as you poured your heart into achieving a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Then I saw your Facebook video. You were raw and real and emotional as you sat on the floor of your hotel room, telling the story of how you fell short of the goal. I felt your devastation. I understood what’s like to feel like you let everyone down, although all those people are merely more inspired by your authenticity and honesty than by your finishing time.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about. That finishing time. That result. As someone who is twice as old as you are runs twice as slow, may I be so bold as to share a life lesson I’ve learned through endurance sport:

The result isn’t what changes you. The process does.

The BQ is not in my vernacular, but I have set big, audacious goals for myself. And usually I fall short. But the thing is no matter what happened on race day, no matter what the time was on the clock, the process of working toward that goal is what made me a different person. Pushing outside my comfort zone. Ripping off workouts that I thought I had no business starting let alone finishing. Learning that “rest” is often outside my comfort zone as well. Finding ways to negotiate the reality that progress, and life in general, is not the linear journey we’d wish it to be. That would be too easy. And most things worth having don’t come easily. Even the simple things. (Perhaps most especially the simple things.)

I’ve watched and listened to your journey on Run Selfie Repeat and you’ve inspired me to question the limits I put on myself. Thank you for sharing BQ or Bust with the world, for standing in your truth — the good, the bad, the ugly cry and all — and showing us what it means to live big and live from your heart.


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