Finding Purpose Through Endurance

We met this kick-ass woman at our recent Adventure and Wellness retreats and were blown away by her stories of the things she overcome and her accomplishments. She has achieved some absolutely unbelievable things since finding endurance sports. Here is her story. 

Triumphs without difficulties are empty. Indeed, it is difficulties that make the triumph.

It is no feat to travel the smooth road.

I’ve NEVER been a small person…shit I was almost 2 feet tall when I was born! Anyway, after years in a bad marriage with a person who was mentally abusive about my size (put pig stickers on the calendar on the days I didn’t workout), I finally started to realize that I need to embrace my size and move forward.

It has been the hardest ongoing battle of my life. I am my toughest critic and every time I look in the mirror I still see the woman who was 85 lbs heavier & not good enough. The thick skin I have grown over those years has made me the first to say “f-you” to people that make stupid comments and be proud of my stronger build for all that it allows me to accomplish.

I can assure you that I have never traveled the smooth road. It is almost as if my mind and body do not know how to do that and therefore always seem to select the “road untraveled”. As I have progressed through life over the years I never really understood what my purpose was. Sure, I did the usual, played sports and participated in band during high school. I went on to be the first (and only one) in my family to go to college; was married and divorced. That is the time when I found myself truly lost. I had an education, but there was still a piece missing and I could not figure out what it was…and then I did. It was fear.


I remember the day when I realized that I was afraid that I was missing out on life because I was afraid of challenging myself. I was afraid of failing, and I was afraid of what others would say about me. It was the same day that I realized I was staying in a mentally harming marriage because I was afraid that 1) no one could be attracted to an overweight person, no matter how “wonderful” my personality was and 2) I was afraid to be on my own.

At that time I did the only thing that my soul knew how to do, I took the difficult road and signed up for a local 100K bike ride (I had never ridden more than 10 miles before that). I made it, last, with tears streaming down my face because it was so painful and so fulfilling at the same time. So when I could walk again, I signed up for my first triathlon, Escape from Alcatraz, because it scared me and I needed that fear in order to grow.

“You have a choice, you either give it your best, or the alternative, you can give up. Don’t look back upon your life with regret, make the changes you want and make them now!” ― Darren Housley

I haven’t always had that philosophy in my life, but when I began my journey into a healthier lifestyle many years ago I decided that I would embrace my best effort at that moment no matter what the results were. I believe that it is important to live your life with the idea that one day you won’t look back and say “I wish I would have…” or “I always wanted to…”.


Many years and hundreds of events later I realized that my fear had (and still) allowed me to grow. I have done it all….this was 2016 alone:

3: 5Ks, 1: 10K, 14: half marathons, 1: full marathon, 6: ultras, 2: go rucks, 15: Spartan races, 3: Tough Mudders, 1: Ragner Trail run, 1: Iron Man, 1: 100 mile bike ride, SISU Iron, BFX, OCR World Championships,  24 Hour World’s Toughest Mudder & 3: Spartan Training Seminars. A lot of miles & memories with good friends.


When I found endurance racing I realized that my fear from all those years had a true purpose. It had allowed me to not only grow as an individual, but to be better than I was the day before.

I may never be that “perfect” size or run the fastest (I carry a stuffed turtle on my hydration pack so people know that I’m not going to be fast), but I have decided to live my life in the way that makes me happy and give it my best because:

“no one is better than your best, but your best will make you better.”

Sean Corvelle, Tough Mudder



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