The Silver Lining

“The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky.
This is where the courage comes in.
Usually we think that brave people have no fear.
The truth is that they are intimate with fear.” -Pema Chödrön

Today is one of my final hard training days before I take on “one of the most grueling road races in the world,” the Mt Washington Road Race. My body craves rest (and a massage). Next week, I will begin tapering down for race day, June 16th!

For one last week, pain and nausea will be my freinds as I climb to new heights. This feels like a dark cloud hanging overhead, but here’s the silver lining:

“There is a story about a group of people climbing to the top of a mountain. It turns out it’s pretty steep, and as soon as they get up to a certain height, a couple of people look down and see how far it is, and they completely freeze; they had come up against their edge and they couldn’t go beyond it. The fear was so great that they couldn’t move. Other people tripped on ahead, laughing and talking, but as the climb got steeper and more scary, more people began to get scared and freeze. All the way up the mountain there were places where people met their edge and just froze and couldn’t go any farther. The people who made it to the top looked out and were very happy to have made it to the top.

The moral of the story is that it really doesn’t make any difference where you meet your edge; just meeting it is the point. Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again. That’s where you’re challenged; that’s where, if you’re a person who wants to live, you start to ask yourself questions like, ‘Now why am I so scared? What is it that I don’t want to see? Why can’t I go further than this?’ The people who got to the top were not the heroes of the day. It’s just that they weren’t afraid of heights; they are going to meet their edge somewhere else. The ones who froze at the bottom were not the losers. They simply stopped first and so their lesson come earlier than the others. However, sooner or later everybody meets his or her edge.”


-Pema Chödrön (“The Wisdom of No Escape”)

Here’s to a grand exploration of the edge! 


  1. Mark Patterson on May 23, 2012 at 1:00 am

    Good luck Julie.
    I know you have the passion to achieve your goals. Melissa, Deborah, and I will be there in spirit to help you on your way to the top of Mt. Washington.

  2. rebecca on May 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Good luck as you meet and greet your edge, all the way up, up, up!

  3. Narcogirl on May 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    You know, Julie, I’m glad you wrote this. Just speaking for myself, a lot of times it’s easy to see those who accomplish much as having some unattainable special power or something that makes them impervious to fear to the point that we look at them and think, “I could never do that”. Its good to hear someone who has accomplished much admit to feeling fearful or apprehensive, etc. For me, it kind of says, ‘you can do it-being scared doesn’t make you less able’. I love the quote you posted….very cool. ….

  4. Amanda on May 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Good luck Julie – you’re dad will help you stay away from the edge! Thanks for this quote – it reminded me that I shouldn’t always compare myself to others (a sore spot with me lately as a new mom!!) xo

  5. Joe Jokubaitis on June 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Your blog came up as I googled “Mt. Washington road race taper”. I’m doing the race also and am confused as to what my final week should entail – as far as training goes. Well it seems like nothing can quite prepare us for this race, so as they say, just remember “perpetual forward motion”.
    I’ll say Hi if I recognize you and GL.

Leave a Comment