It was over ten years ago when my family and I took our first trip out West. Three days into the drive I remember looking out the window and seeing something strange in the distance. An enormous black cloud seemed to be rising out of the plains. The closer we drove the taller this ominous figure became, and suddenly I realized what it was.
That day, the towering, majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains stole my heart.
Today as I sit out on my balcony staring at the same mountains –a perfect example of the beauty, mystery and awesome magnitude of God’s creation–I’m overjoyed to announce that this is the place, Colorado Springs, which marks the next chapter of my running career.
Just as the aspen trees high up in the mountains have changed from green to gold, my last few months have been marked by many changes. From getting married and changing my last name to Rego, to moving out here to join my husband, and beginning to train with a new coach, and new teammates.
Yes, a lot has happened in the last two months, and I’m incredibly excited to announce my new coach, 1996 Olympian, Coach Juli Benson, the former Air Force Academy coach, and former personal coach of several Olympic and World Championship runners. I’ve known Juli for a while, and am confident she has what it takes to help me reach my highest goals.
We’ve got a nice little group of about eight post-collegiate runners here, including several Air Force grads who are part of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), along with Clerc Simpson and my former FSU teammate, Violah Lagat. This week is our first week of practice and I’m incredibly grateful to finally have a group to meet and train with daily, unlike my the last two months or training.
So how did I end up in Colorado?
A year ago I picked up everything and moved from Florida to New Jersey and had all intention on training there through 2016. But as I’m learning, life really is like a box of chocolates, “you never know whatcha gonna get,” or what comes next.
I spent many months of the past year wondering where my husband, Chris, and I would settle after our wedding. Living in New Jersey I was surrounded by fun, hard-working teammates, and I was grateful to work with Coach Gags who helped push me to several new PR’s, but being in a long-distance relationship with Chris was not how I hoped to start off my marriage.
Trying to figure out the best location for both my training and his career was stressful, and I kept praying and expecting some kind of “sign in the sky” to tell us what to do. Foolish of me, really, to think that I couldn’t make a decision until I knew everything would work out perfectly. Instead, those months of uncertainty eventually taught me that the most important part of making any major decision is having faith, and faith alone is the only way to overcome the fears of uncertainty.
FSU’s head women’s basketball coach, Sue Semrau, once spoke to our FCA group saying,
“You have to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind, and after that…do what you want.”
This quote, based off of Matthew 22:37, has sort of become a motto for my indecisiveness. It reminded me that if we put Him first in our life, then we can live confidently knowing the most important decision has already been made. After that, many decisions become a matter of opinion, not necessarily right vs wrong. This is something I probably should have paid more attention to these last few months when several big decisions were all that was on my mind. What I needed to finally realize was that God didn’t have to put a sign up in the sky to show me the next step to make in my life. Instead, I believe he works in our lives by providing opportunities. People and places can indeed come into our life for a reason, but it’s up to us whether or not we seize them.
Since I was a child I always hoped one day I’d find a way to move out West to Colorado. I’m a trail runner at heart, so when I’m not on the track I relish exploring miles of single-track routes. So when the opportunity came for Chris to take a job and for me to get to work with Coach Juli Benson, I couldn’t pass it up.
It wasn’t easy leaving NJ, but the opportunity to move here and get to do what I love was really a dream come true for both my husband and me. I hope my story can resonate with others who are trying to make a major life decision. Whether its deciding where to go to school, what to study, what to do for a living, or where to live, the answers may not always seem clear. But I do believe that if you have enough faith, you can’t go wrong. And no matter what mountains may get in your way, you’ll always find a way to climb them.