Graduating from the business school at Indiana University, Bloomington in 2016, I was excited to finally join the "real-world" at my first job.
I, like many others in the world, was living out the script we hear about so often: go to school, find a job, live a comfortable life, then retire at 60+ to travel and actually do what we want to do.
This is not a bad life by any means. Many people would, or do, love this lifestyle. The problem was, I never questioned if it was right for me. I just went with it because that's what I was always told to do.
Six months into my job I felt like I was having an internal battle for my soul. Each day felt like a slow march to death. Every time I sat down at my desk, I felt a tiny separation from my actual values and dreams. Like I was putting my life on hold until retirement - a time promised to no one.
Yet, I was making good money and living easy! How could I not be happy? I was comfortable, safe, and didn't have any major challenges, but still everything felt wrong.
I decided I needed to pursue what felt right despite the fear and uncertainty of what would follow.
I quit my job and embarked on a nine-month solo backpacking trip to 11 countries around Asia, ending in New Zealand and Hawaii. I started a travel blog and podcast, explored new ideas and cultures, and tried to learn as much as possible that would help me navigate a less traditional lifestyle.
"LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE"
- Neale Donald Walsch
During my travels I learned the greatest growth in my life happened the more I sought discomfort, adversity, and challenge. Upon returning to Chicago in 2018, I signed up for my first half-marathon despite never running more than a 5k. Crossing the finish line, I vividly remember thinking, "I can't possibly imagine doing double this distance... no way I could ever do a full marathon!"
Yet, I couldn't ignore the fact that I had accomplished something that previously seemed impossible for me. I asked myself, "What else am I capable of if I don't give in to fear, uncertainty, or doubt?" Six months later, I completed a 30 mile run at my first trail ultra. I've now completed 10 ultramarathons, including a 50-miler at Monument Valley and 505 miles in 31 consecutive days, but I feel like I've just scratched the surface of what's possible.
In my continued pursuit of excellence and willingness to experiment, I switched to a fully plant-based vegan diet in October 2019. The athletic and health results from the nutritional switch are too good to write off as coincidence or luck. I'm constantly seeking new knowledge, trying different recipes and innovative products to align with my values of a long-term healthy lifestyle.
Life is too short to ignore the potential within each and every one of us. We all have the power to access our reserves of potential if we're willing to set fear aside and at least try.
Through my run, I hope to inspire you to honestly ask yourself, "What areas of my life do I feel I am capable of something greater?" It doesn't have to be running or anything athletic; you probably already know what it is. I hope to inspire you to have the courage to listen to the answer, and most importantly, take action.
No matter how big or small the action, you will be at a much better place for starting. You never know what it could turn into, and there's no point in waiting because tomorrow is not a guarantee.
I hope to inspire you to choose life. Today, tomorrow, and for as long as you are able.
Please reach out if you ever want to say hello or just need a little extra motivation to get started:
- Instagram: @leethornquist
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Mile - 5:36
5K - 22:19
10K - 47:07
1/2 Marathon - 1:45:46
Marathon - 4:07:17
50K - 5:45:28
Furthest - 50 Miles - 12:14:14
24-Hour Marathon (May 2020)
- Ran 2 miles every 2 hours for 24 hours
Calendar Club (July 2020)
- 505 miles in 31 consecutive days
- Raised $3,441 for 'I Run with Maud' fundraiser