83. Push

83. Push

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners

Push

A sign on the door of Opportunity reads Push.
 ~Author unknown

This is hard. Running across the country is hard. It’s been seven months on the road. I’ve run the equivalent of 94 marathons. I’m getting tired, but I’ve been humbled.

Mountain ranges have tested my mental capacity to think positive. There is no way around the mountains. There is no way to dig a hole under them and excavate my way through. The only way is to go over these warriors that test my limits.

It is ironic that obstacles, those that are thrust in our faces, have an ulterior motive. That motive is to make us doubt ourselves, to raise the possibility of succumbing to fear, and to offer the option of quitting. I have no option but to take on these challenges. They are bigger than me and I need to find the strength within me to battle them. I cannot hit a wall and sit down. I must persist!

When you want something bad enough, that is the option you must give yourself — the only option: that you must persist. No matter what it takes, you will push through, climb every mountain in your own way, and come out a humbled, wiser, more appreciative and proud human being.

The last month in New Mexico has been… surprising. How do I put it? I’ve been in the state since October 2nd, exactly 31 days, and it has been surprisingly difficult to push on despite the enchanting culture and gorgeous landscapes. We have not had a homestay with a family in 31 days. Why is that? The land is sparse, and as one New Mexican native put it, “people are hiding out… they like their privacy… they like their space and want to keep it.” He jokingly continued, “What other state has more places named ‘Outlaw Post’ or ‘Hide-Away’?!” (We have met many wonderful people. It’s just that none of them have invited us to stay with them in their homes like most people have since Boston.)

Not being able to break bread with people makes me wonder. Why am I doing this? If there are no people, what is the point? But I know better than to let that thought effect my actions and plug up my forward-moving gusto. Again, it’s another challenge, an instance that inspires a “what-the-heck-am-I-doing” moment.

But alas, there is no gain if you do not persist. If I break my foot, I will crawl. I will walk using a crutch. There is no quitting. If there are no people that want to help, I will move forward with the fuel people have added to the fire already over the past seven months on the road. There are a million reasons to keep going, and all the reasons to quit are the lazy ones.

I ran up that darn mountain with that blasting wind, and then felt proud. I flashed a big smile (literally) on a run during which I felt like a blob, and then felt stronger. I called a past host from Pennsylvania to say “hi,” and then felt more connected to my mission and what this run is doing for people across the country. My point is to PUSH, however you can.

Stride on! One foot in front of the other. Find your inner strength. I keep telling myself these mantras. It will all be worth it. I want it badly enough. Do you want what you want badly enough? You should. That is the way it should be. Go get it… stride on!

~Katie Visco

Editor’s note: This story was written during the seventh month of Katie’s Run Across America, near Socorro, NM.

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