Relentless Forward Progress



Well I know I share a lot of personal experiences and emotions on this blog each week, but I hope nobody minds if I really take the lid off and share some weakness tonight. Today I nearly came undone out there. Nothing dramatic, but just a combination of things which created a less-than-ideal running environment. I packed about half as much water and Gatorade as I should have, and one cinnamon raisin bagel to sustain me for 33 miles. I haven’t been sleeping well the past couple days and only got 5 hours last night. The route was hilly and had gravelly dirt shoulders. It was 95 degrees. My skin was on fire.

Around mile 20 I saw a gas station across the way and made my way over, dreaming of Gatorade, juice, water, Popsicles. At the door I was greeted by a “Closed” sign-  a very stupid mistake on my part- nearly all the tiny gas stations are closed on Sundays and I had forgotten today was Sunday. Realizing I only had one small water bottle left with 13 miles still to run and seeing that the store was closed was one of the most discouraging feelings I’ve ever experienced. Overcome by dehydration, nausea, and discouragement, I walked behind the building and puked. Not a great moment for me.

The only upside was that the gas station had DIY carwashes so I paid $1 to get the hose going and gave my body a much needed cooling-off with it. Unfortunately the spray and pressure was automatic and the water came out in such a way that was impossible to bottle up in my water bottles.

I also had some mental negativity going on. Sometimes you just get those days, but today was the first time I’ve ever felt like I was going to have a panic attack while running. I don’t know what was going on, but for a good 10 miles I felt pretty down, fluttering between anxious and discouraged. Finally around mile 21 I just put my head down and had a good long conversation with myself. Actually it wasn’t long at all. I told myself to snap the heck out of it and finish these last 12 miles before the sun melted me. And that’s exactly what I did. Banged out 12 miles in two hours and made it to my resting place for the night, with Carol at the Dogwood Cottages B+B in Eupora. Thank goodness.

Today was a test for me, and I think I came away with again a new standard and level of expectations for myself. I almost don’t know how I got through it but I guess when you’re out there on the road in the middle of nowhere with nobody along with you, you’ve got no choice but to get through it. All I can say is that the title of a new running book kept going through my head: Relentless Forward Progress. Just keep taking those steps. Eventually they’ll get you where you want to be.


Author: zoegoesrunning

Hello! I'm a runner, a writer, and have run across the United States and the Tour de France course. Most recently, I'm blogging about my adventures in an MFA program that will bring me to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and my teaching plans for Argentina.

9 thoughts on “Relentless Forward Progress”

  1. A little tip if you are ever stuck like that near a car wash… The ‘spot free rinse’ option is low pressure (so it won’t sting when giving yourself a cooling shower) and it’s super filtered water. Way cleaner than your average drinking water.

  2. Hey Sparky ….next time you’re down like that…remember we are all behind you helping with that Relentless Forward Progress !

    There are days when I feel the same and believe it or not , I think of you and I gather strength from yours . We feed off each others positive energies , all of us and the more we send out a good vibe the better the connection between us .

    I will continue to send good energy your way and thank you for the lift you give to me . Don’t forget to slow down when you need to , rest when needed and take time to reflect , consider the now and envision the positive future .

    Relent On , Dad xoxoxo

  3. Hey, Z!

    You’re entitled to have a bad day every now and then. Just sorry to hear you did indeed have one. You are on an incredibly long journey and it’s all on your shoulders or should we say legs. Be kind to yourself, cut yourself some slack and if you’re having a day that’s less than good that’s OK. You could chuck it up to dehydration and hunger. Good job w/ your “come to Jesus” talk – they can make the big picture so clear some times.

    Relentless love,


  4. Hey Zoe, we are sending you positive vibes from California… sorry that you had a tough day but just remember, YOU ARE AMAZING AND AWESOME!!!!!
    Take care of yourself!

  5. Hang in there! I’m rooting for you from Maine. I’m a middle-aged runner trying to get through a few miles a week. Next time I’m “struggling” after only a couple of miles, I will think of you and keep taking those steps! Good luck on the rest of your run!

  6. Zoe, great to meet you. Sorry that you had a rough time in our neck of the woods. I was so encouraged by you – I think my husband is a little scared of my newfound desire for adventure. Thanks – keep it up! Stephanie

  7. Hi Sweetie,

    I want to tell you that everyone has days like you had yesterday. It’s okay! With the distance you are running everyday i’m surprised you haven’t had more of them.

    If you ever just need to talk, vent, cry, or whatever I am always here for you.

    We love you and are so very proud of you.

    Momma Mia & Family

    1. Thanks Mia …you and your family are so sweet and it’s comforting knowing there are so many people sending Zoé good vibes and spending hours praying for her safe and happy passage .

      Be well , Rick and Family

  8. Hey Sparky I have an idea !! Now I have a feeling that running is on your list of things to do today ….well guess what , I think the spring wind blew your list of things to do away !! So take a day off , take a walk in the woods , find a tree and see if you find some old love letters ! Listen for the wild birds and watch that list blow away …

    Big Love Dad xxxxooooo

    For all you bloggers , Zoë and I share a special song together and we have been known to sing it in perfect harmony ….if you have a chance listen to the song ” Spring Wind ” by Greg Brown …let’s all throw out our lists of things to do and have a perfect Spring Day !!

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