on vulnerability

IMG_2364Dragon and I went over to Smuggler’s Notch this weekend to run a couple of laps over the closed Notch Road between Cambridge and Stowe. Somewhere during the second lap over the top, as we ran from the windswept southern side into the deeper snow on the north slope, I could feel spindrift seethe and swirl into a few shallow drifts of partly coherent ideas–why am I starting on this long road of training, fundraising, and advocacy? Who am I to think I could make some difference? Why am I doing this?

It’s often when I make myself most vulnerable to the weather and conditions and terrain that I’m able to look most deeply inward. This makes sense to me — as runners, we often lay ourselves bare against the world when we push our bodies to where reason forsakes us and emotion, raw and unkempt, draws us forward — up the mountain, into the night, down the road, through the rain, under the hot sun — always in an unrelenting cavalcade of challenge.

It’s probably natural to avoid vulnerability and to build systems that shield us from exposure. This, too, makes sense — I’ll put on a rain jacket if I’m running across an exposed ridge in the rain; I’ll bring a warm layer if I’m going out for a long winter run, or a headlamp if it’s late in the day.


Yet, it can be enticing to dance along the edge, put ourselves ‘out there,’ exposed, for our convictions, passions, and aspirations.

At the edge of vulnerability, incredible things can happen.

In my plan to run across Iceland next spring, to advocate for a resilient relationship to our world, and to involve as many others in the experience as possible, I admit, I feel more vulnerable, and more humble, than ever before.

Maybe what’s most humbling is the simple truth that I cannot do this alone, and it’s taken some time to recognize that. I might think I can sometimes — much of the hard work of training is by necessity a solitary affair, and the risk is largely my own. But without a community of peers, friends, family, students, and many people I have never even met, I wouldn’t have even dared dream this.

I thank you, and hope you’ll take the next steps with me.



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