This is the word Taylor White uses to describe her feelings as she lay in the snow and realized her leg was broken. After waiting almost seven hours for Search and Rescue to arrive after a backcountry skiing accident, Taylor had three major thoughts. She was glad to be alive. She was thankful for the people that stayed with her and kept her warm during the wait. And she was beginning to realize she would not be able to compete in the 2017 Boston Marathon.
For the past year, all of her training had been with one goal in mind: to compete in Boston. She had overcome a hamstring tear while preparing for her qualifying race, the Santa Rosa Marathon. And she qualified in Santa Rosa with a time of 3:32:34. Even though she injured one of her calf muscles a few weeks prior to the marathon. Even though she partially tore the muscle on race day at mile 23.
The Boston Marathon had been the one goal White had reached for while overcoming all of her injuries. In just one moment, it was taken away. Although she was still able to travel to Boston in April, it was only as a spectator.
Who is Taylor White?
Taylor White is a self-described “outdoor adventurer” and skier, an emergency veterinarian, and a prolific runner. Her Instagram handle, @tcup_half_full, indicates that she has a resilient spirit and a relentlessly positive outlook. If you scroll through her Instagram feed, you’ll find that her content is flawless. She clearly loves the outdoors, and her photos are full of snow-capped peaks and hanging lakes. She once climbed seven 14ers by herself during a five-day climbing and trail-running spree. (For the uninitiated, a 14er is a mountain with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet.) All of that uphill training only made her stronger and faster.
She started running in 2014, when she was 80 pounds overweight and struggling with depression. She felt isolated and very alone. White believes a person struggling with depression needs “people who can be there for you when you can’t be there for yourself. People to remind you that life is worth living and that your life is important,” Taylor said. “These kinds of people, the best people, can be hard to find.” But find them she did in the running community.
Taylor credits some combination of therapy, running, and the support of her new running community with pulling her out of her depressive spiral. And she has since lost all of the excess weight she was carrying.
“While I started running initially to get in shape and lose weight, it has become so much more than that to me. [Kara Goucher once said] ‘Nothing in my life has ever broken my heart the way running has. And yet I cannot breathe without it.’ [This quote] definitely hit me. I have had so many injuries and setbacks secondary to running and yet I cannot and will not stop. It is one of the few things in my life that is solely for me.”
~Taylor White, #whyirun
Runners are a different breed
“I think running, like any other hobby in life, just strikes a chord with certain people and they go with it. There doesn’t really need to be an explanation for it or a reason for the motivation. It is just something that you feel in your soul that you want and need to do.”
~Taylor White, #whyirun
As indicated by her IG handle, Taylor White tries to view her glass as half-full, rather than half-empty. Even in a difficult period of disappointment, each of her posts oozes with positivity. She is more than the sum of her times in various races. She is more.
But aren’t we all just a collection of hopes and dreams, victories and disappointments? Runners are unique, because we choose to take those disappointments and channel them into our training. We perceive our failures as opportunities for growth. Our limitations do not actually limit us; they serve as guidelines to help us set new goals.
As runners, we encourage others because we know that we are all just one step away from either quitting or setting a new personal record. And for a runner, quitting is never truly an option. There are times we have to pull back due to an injury, but we know that as soon as we are able, we will be out there, pounding the pavement, once more.