Making a Mark

from In the Arena with Bridget


Thank you for reading about my new adventures into the community over the past few weeks! I hope that you have enjoyed my stories and getting to know me a little bit better. It has been my aim to give you a snapshot into my non-running life and a sense of what is important to me beyond strong lungs, quick feet, healthy living, and fast times. As I have moved through my running career, my goals have always grown and evolved and this year has been no different.  In fact, my primary goal since really returning to the sport is now actually not even directly running related!


Let me explain. Last year, when I was in grad school, the sport unintentionally faded into the background of my life more than it ever had since I have become an adult.  I was seriously considering my life options, and not returning to competitive athletics was definitely a legitimate direction. I am appreciative and grateful for all that the sport has done for me and I have truly enjoyed my experience but there have obviously been many sacrifices. There is so much of life that I want to explore and try that I just can’t while I am training so intensely.


This all led me to realize that regardless of whether I was going to be in or out of the sport, I needed goals beyond Lane 8.  Back in high school and into my first few years of college, I had visions of working in a service capacity- nursing, social aid, or international agriculture (I know, classic high school- all over the place).  Though a lot has changed over the years, this desire to help others has remained consistent- even when I didn’t seem to be directly acting on it because of my commitments to running.  With this in mind, I decided it was time to allow that piece of my core to really surface. I wanted whatever I was doing to make the largest positive impact possible in the lives of the people and places around me.


And I’m not the first athlete who has turned to face this new target…



But seriously, what kind of ambiguous goal is that? What would it even look like?


The beauty of a goal like this is that it is amorphous. It is something that I can pursue for the rest of my life because it transcends sport or any specific situation and can take on any number of different forms as I age and change. As I thought about my life presently- my past experiences, my future opportunities, my skills, my weaknesses, my strengths, I realized that running was still probably the best conduit for me to make this happen.


Sorry, I know. After all that..….pretty anticlimactic.


But seriously, if I were to have left where I am in running (two years from another Olympic Trials, having so much international experience, just now approaching my physical running prime age and maturity, etc.)  for an entry level job somewhere, it just seemed obvious. Even if I do have a relatively low social media following and no primary gear sponsor. There is potential here.


And just to be clear, when I say that my primary goal isn’t running centric it doesn’t mean that I don’t have running goals this year. I certainly still want to run as fast as I possibly can, and make International teams and break records and beat people.  They are really all the same goals I have had since I began the sport, just reframed so that instead of being an end, they are now a means to an end- the more I am able to achieve, the higher my platform for more positive impact! To be honest, I think that at the end of the day, this may help me on the track more than I realize too- I have already noticed that this reframing has taken some pressure off and has allowed me to enjoy the process of training and competing more than I have in a long time.


So far, you have been reading a lot about how I have been attempting to positively impact my community through the youth and physical education route but you might be surprised to learn that this is not necessarily the direction I would ultimately like to be steering this ship. Since I was young, I have always had a thing for nature and throughout business school my eyes were opened to delicate state of our environment today.


In my next blog, I want to share a little more about why I am personally so passionate about living sustainably and respectfully preserving our beautiful world for people to enjoy many years into the future……

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