by Alyssa Godesky
It was 7:42am on July 31st and I walked up to a wooden sign in the middle of the woods. I had seven of my close friends there, who cheered for me. Hugs were exchanged, some tears fell. A few cell phone snaps taken. Everyone watched me for a few minutes with big sleep deprived smiles on their faces.
And then, we walked for another ninety minutes to get out of the woods.
It wasn’t until that very moment when I touched the sign on the Massachusetts border and looked up to see my friends that I realized it wasn’t just about the record.
In fact, up until that point I would even say I was a little record obsessed. I have always loved following different ones - FKTs of various trails, the fastest run across America…..heck, when I was young I truly thought I was competing for the world record of longest time spent pogo-sticking in my backyard.
So, if the record felt second-tier at the finish line, what was it all about then? I’m sure more of this will come to light over the coming days as I continue to come out of the post-FKT fog (this one is a doozy!), but I think it was about setting the bar really, really high for myself. It was about the fact that I didn’t know if I would even come close to the mark at all, but I tried anyway. It was about putting 100% of myself into the preparation so that when the clock started, even if I failed I knew I couldn’t look back with a regret.
When you wear this kit I want you to look at the ferns in the details and I want them to do two things: first make you laugh. Because you should also picture this image:
You guys…I fell asleep in a fern bush while my pacers fixed my blisters. It was simultaneously the best and worst moment in the world.
But second, I want you to be inspired by my FKT run, and take that inspiration into a concrete action. Write down a list of how to achieve that goal you’ve had in the back of your mind. Talk to your partner about arranging life so that you can train for your goal. My first step to the FKT? I bought a map of the Long Trail, along with every other book about the trail I could find. Ordering those books put wheels into motion and were a tangible reminder of things I needed to do to make my goal happen. I also told my whole inner circle about my goal. This was key because they held me accountable when I tried to back out last October after training on the trail for the first time. But they also then became a bit invested themselves. And when I needed them, they showed up in a big way. Having friends who are willing to hike 20 miles in the middle of the night to bring you a quesadilla from Taco Bell? Pure gold.
And really, it’s not about the record. It’s about all those cliche quotes we double-tap on instagram, even if we feel a little silly about it. It’s about “she knows she could, so she did.” It’s about “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Those things are cliche but dammit they are true and if you hold them close they will help you get to some amazing places.
And maybe even a record to boot. Because that is pretty amazing icing on the cake :)
Alyssa Godesky is a Smashfest Queen-sponsored professional triathlete. You can read more about her here.