by Tyler Grogan, CVT
In 2017, I turned 26. Naturally, I started to realize I was creeping farther from my 20s and closer to my 30s. So what do many women I see do as they also notice their approach to a time when certain things may no longer be an option? You sign yourself up for a half marathon. I went throughout my year with the mantra, “This will be my Year of Accomplishment.” Running a half marathon was going to be the icing on the ever present in my mind birthday cake of my year. I trained (by running for a month, doing a 5k, running a day at Uncharted and occasionally having panic moments and jumping on the treadmill for 30 minutes once every month or so). Suddenly, November was upon me. It was time to run for 13.1 miles and not die (because nothing bad ever happens at Disney World). Was I ready? No way. Was I going to do it? You bet I was.
Let me rewind into what else made my Year of Accomplishment special. In 2017, I volunteered in my local emergency hospital and drove to Gainesville 5 times in one summer to volunteer in an animal hospital I believed was doing great work and deserved my help. In 2017, I graduated from school. In 2017, I lived through the loss of my soul ferret. In 2017, I met my tribe at Uncharted Veterinary Conference.
Now throughout my Year of Accomplishment I told everyone what I was not, and that was a runner. I am not a runner. Yes, I’m running a half marathon, but I am not a runner. Yes, I ran a 5k in less than 45 minutes as I said I would but I am not a runner. I ran once a month without falling over or throwing up but I am not a runner. I ran 13.1 miles and made it across the finish line but I am not a runner.
Meanwhile, I found out the beauty of walking. I walked my way into some of the most beautiful moments of my life in 2017. I walked into an emergency hospital and was viewed as a competent technician. I walked into a shelter and was able to help dogs who needed all the love they could find. I walked into classes and filled my brain with information about how to be a better technician. I walked into each new day after losing my ferret of 7 years. Most influentially, I walked into Uncharted Veterinary Conference and I found people that every single day blow my mind with how incredibly brilliant they are.
But when I walked in, unassumingly into my tribe, I started meeting people who were telling me I was brilliant too. Obviously I laughed because I am uncomfortable at receiving a compliment. I’m not brilliant. I am definitely not you. And I am not a runner.
During my half marathon, I did not run the whole way, I walked quite a bit on my way to the finish line. Toward the beginning of the race, my motivator and friend told me he couldn’t complete the race and to keep going without him. I motivated myself on for 10 more miles. While I was running, I thought my right foot was going to burst out of the shoe so I stopped and sat down in the middle of the race. I wanted to stop countless times but I kept moving forward. As I crossed the finish line, I nearly collapsed into a heap. The entire time thinking, I am not really a runner.
So how did I run a half marathon? How did I do it? How did I know I could if I knew that I was most definitely NOT a runner? I look back and I see now, I am great at seeing what I am not. It took others telling me that I was something to believe it. But I set goals. I take risks. I show up. I walk in. So maybe I don’t need to be a runner to do things. Maybe I am just brave enough to try.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
Tyler Grogan is a Certified Veterinary Technician from Orlando. She is passionate about cultivating great culture in veterinary practices and sharing stories of the superheroes in our profession! Out of the clinic, Tyler loves exploring the Sunshine State with her husband and anywhere else in the world they can travel!