I am no virgin to making bad decisions.
Bad decisions like arrogance and assuming. While growing up, assuming led me to believe that I needed to be a mean girl. That it was better to be a bully than to be bullied. I was a target for foul horseplay in my younger years. I sat and said nothing to defend myself while being ridiculed; I never fought back. Slowly I added on layers of trapped emotions until one day I cracked. I had turned into a person that had had enough. I screamed at people and punched girls. I gossiped and didn’t always stand up for a friend. I betrayed a best friend and I threw beer in a girl’s face. I stole and lied countless of times. My immaturity kept me from seeing the right and wrong way to act.
By 18, I was ready for a change. To a new place where I could rest and restart. I moved to California to start something new, far away form home. I was able to change my whole life down in the Golden state; I had a home and a whole second family in Turlock, CA.
The change, as you know, brought difficulties. Difficulties like your first “this could be a career stopping injury”. Learning how to deal with such a burden brought me much sadness and confusion. Training stopped and I didn’t know how to go on without it. Training was a perfect way for me to de-stress and let go of the day. The layers of my days without running were getting heavy and I knew I had to go elsewhere to fix myself before I cracked, again. I knew I had to walk away from the track to find a way to peel the stress from my life. I knew I had to go places I had never been before. To be who I never intended to be. (Again)
Is the grass greener on the other side?
I found myself at the never changing college party with the same people, music, and drama. This whole scene was way out of my element, I never belonged there; as a wallflower I enjoyed people watching.
The typical hot shot guys and party girls.
Party girls where mythical creatures to me. I could never understand how they partied all night and still played a sport. These girls worked in a completely different way than what I was familiar with. In my past life, Friday nights were reserved for recovery from either a hard workout or a track meet. Saturday nights were usually the same and Sundays were not meant for sleeping off the hangover, they were there for long runs. My past lifestyle of a dedicated runner was being consumed. I was transforming into something that was beyond my control.
It seemed like everyone had to comment on how I was a runner. I was in new territory and they were wondering if I was lost. Defending myself, I challenged the “runner’s don’t party” with my offensive display of self-importance. Deeper down the jagged path, my depression took a seat. I got the edge off by being what I thought was the complete opposite of Denali the runner. But I realize now that I was still being the competitive girl I had always been, out partying someone became my new way to compete. The many people that came into my life all became my competitors; I used them to get far far away from Denali.
I feel bad for anyone who interacted with the girl I became. They never got the chance to meet the real Denali.
I created this mischievous girl.
I found myself, again, being someone I wasn’t. I found myself acting in a manner that was way out of control. I became another woman. I created an identity to cope with the real problems. While Denali hid away, my body was occupied by someone who was reckless and cared for no one, not even herself. There were moments where I could feel Denali peeking out but shortly she would become lost again. It felt like something was consuming the real Denali and no matter how much I screamed at myself, Denali took a backseat while someone else drove
Out the door to another party
I was a terrible party girl. I couldn’t keep the balance of everything in my life. I chose drugs over everything. I acted like a fool countless of times and I’ll never be able to forget that. I’m glad something in me snapped and I made the move to get better; the long journey to find Denali.
It took a lot of energy to defeat the inner battle I was having with myself. I once again had to make the decision to change and live the life I knew I needed to live. I would rather be known as a lame runner than a party girl, just like I think I’d rather be bullied than be a bully. I had to create small goals that gave me little victories; I had to patiently win a little at a time. Each victory brought the wall I created down and slowly the true Denali started to emerge. It was the hardest thing I had to do.
It was so painful to go through withdrawals; it exhausted and hurt my body. I suffered from suicidal thoughts and a couple of weak attempts. I had to say no to the “give up” thoughts and keep pushing even though I needed a fix. Coming off of meth made me hungry and depressed. I became sad so I ate and then I gained a bunch of weight so I became sadder. I was in this twisted loop of eating and depression.
I needed my fix and to loose weight.
This mess led me to try the quick weight loss drug cocaine. I got my fix. I became skinny. I also lost sleep.
Loosing sleep almost made me loose it. Without sleep, I was mentally weak and my fighting skills were damaged. I relapsed the most while using coke. There is nothing more heart breaking than relapsing. After each relapse, I would cry while I angrily torn down the calendar that marked each day I went without using. Each failure made me break down and want to die. I literally was so delusional that I thought ending it all would be the best solution.
Wish I could say what it was that helped me stay alive. I don’t know how I was able to find the strength that saved me. That’s the strength I’m searching for during every workout and race. I was able to find it once before. I just have to believe it’s still there.
I’m not entirely living life to the fullest
but I do know that I have a little better appreciation for life.
I am waking up every morning with a plan to be productive, keep focus, and be nice to others and myself.
I wake up reminding myself that we as humans make mistakes. As humans we are always going to be confused and we need to forgive ourselves for the trial and error periods of our past. I live a more non-judging life,
Who am I to judge someone for his or her journey of life?
Some of us will spend our whole lives searching for the answer of our own existence and purpose.
I’ve made a 180 with my life and I feel like I am still getting a lot of things wrong but I’m trying and that’s all that matters. I made my move back to Alaska where I am back training in the mountains. It might sound crazy but if it wasn’t for these grueling cliffs, I wouldn’t be alive today. The mountains have given me my life back. Though I am no track runner now, these mountains are my ticket back to the oval. I was able to open up to Max and Natalie about this journey I have planned for myself. It was strange to talk to people I had just met about my career goal/plan but once I voiced it, I felt a hell of a lot better about my decision. It was amazing how much support I got from these two!
Please go check their website out. These guys have been working hard on a documentary for the Mount Marathon Race in Seward Alaska. This film will allow the public to see what it takes to compete in this race. You’ll be able to listen to the stories of some of the top contenders. And what I think is the coolest part, you’ll see the mountain from 20 different cameras. A viewer will also be able to see the woman’s race cause though we run the same mountain, the coverage is all about the men. (love you Eric)
With your help, this thing could actually launch! Please support and spread the word!
3022 ft: A Mount Marathon Story