All Hope is Always Gone

Some of you may know that I have a mantra of life "All Hope is Gone."  This is a philosophy that I stumbled upon over the last few years and has really hit home with me as I have dealt with the my struggles in life.  In fact it has meant so much to me that this past winter I had it inked across my chest with some beautiful roses to off set the phrase because I truly find beauty and freedom in the statement that so many people find depressing.  It's funny despite this phrase being plastered across my chest I often forget when life is going well and I am happy that I should still have my mantra right in front of me.

The past few months have been a lot of transition in my life once again.  It seems that everyone this time of year is dealing with these issues, whether you are going off to college for the first time, moving out own your own finally, starting your first job, etc... This time of year seems to always bread excitement, turmoil, anxiety and stress no matter what your move.  Not knowing what lies on the other side can be scary for many people, myself included.  But you have to embrace that change and take that step to get out of your comfort zone our you will probably never be able to chase your true dreams.  All Hope is Gone means that you have to be willing to accept the fact that you may fail and be happy with your journey and struggles no matter the outcome.  It is also about learning to find your center and your balance during the most chaotic times in your life.  You must become the eye of the storm.  Be the calm that is in the center or the storm will sweep you away.

If you are like me then you have found yourself swept off that edge more than a few times by that storm.  This is when drugs, alcohol, and destructive behavior can lead you into those dark depths of the human mind and spirit.  I have currently found myself there.  The last few weeks of my life I have found myself out of control and out of my center of calm. I let myself get swept up in the chaos of life taking a shit on me and my family.  Mistakes begin to happen when I find myself strung out emotionally and physically.  In the last 2 weeks alone I have found myself in the nastiest place I have ever lived, with a landlord how is impossible to get in touch with to fix any of the broken things in the apartment (toilet, sink, shower, doors that don't lock, etc...), flipped my 4runner in my shitty driveway (that's flip number 2 for those who are counting- which finally totaled my baby), and dropped a tire of the rental car off the driveway.  All of this has lead to a lack of sleep, frustrated living circumstances, and horrible athletic training.  As I have stated before, when things begin to get in the way of my dream chasing as a runner, I get really worked up, angry and vengeful.  This stress has manifested itself into my body to where I now have nagging injuries, horrible training sessions, and a body that is just worn out.

Despite all of this I managed to run one of the happiest races of the season this past weekend in Pittsburgh at the Liberty Mile.  Being back in the pack of elite milers reminded me that I belonged there.  Despite horrible training for nearly a month, lack of sleep, and a car wreck 2 days before the race, I was able to kick with some of the best milers in the country.  I had many of them on the ropes until the final 100m, but that's when I believe the past month of stress finally caught up with me.  Which makes me laugh.  Initially I was mad because I had a great opportunity to finish 4th behind 3 of the best middle distance runners in the country, but then I realized how much shit I had put up with in the last few weeks and I laughed because I knew that had I been fresh and prepared better it would have been a different race.  What was also beautiful about the race was I ran without fear for the first time all season and was so caught up in the amazing atmosphere that the people at Bring Back the Mile and the Liberty Mile set up for us.  I lined up not knowing what my body could handle, but I didn't care I was going to help put on the show.  All Hope was Gone!  Whatever my body could handle I was going to dish out and I was happy with what I was able to accomplish because so many times in the last few weeks, including today even, I have wanted so bad to end my season.  But I refuse to let this storm throw me off course.

No matter how far off course you find yourself or how deep in you find yourself in (it doesn't get much worse than having to find a new place to live and a new car all in the same week) you have to try and find your center of peace in the chaos.   Realizing that there is no cause for all of the bad things and no one to blame will help you release those demons and find that peace with whatever shit storm life wants to blow your way.  I wish I could stand here in front of you and tell you that I had beat this battle, but we all struggle and we all can find inspiration in others around us.  Don't forget your dreams and fight like hell!

All Hope is Gone,