If you asked me in 2011, where I saw myself at this exact point in time, I would have painted you a very vivid and different picture of today's reality. In 2011, I had my life for at least the next 4-5 years clearly planned. I was applying to Michigan State to enter their Ph.D. program in Kinesiology with the intent of becoming a Sport Psychologist and, in my mind, I was getting accepted. I knew that the research for my dissertation would be on the "Psychological impact on athletes returning to competition following serious injury". During that 4-5 years it would take me to complete the program, I would continue working at Central Michigan University and commute to Lansing for classes. I would graduate by 2016, and pursue my next career. That was my plan.

Fast forward to March of 2012 - The letter from MSU arrived stating that my research interest was not a good match for their program and I was not admitted. I'd be lying if I said that at that time, I was crushed. Suddenly, I was lost. My 4-5 year plan was in the trash as quickly as my rejection letter. For quite some time, I didn't quite know what I was going to do. I found myself going through the motions, trying to figure out what to do and figure out my new plan...Did I abandon the Ph.D. idea altogether? Is it what I really wanted to do? What was my next step? If this wasn't it, what was God's plan for me?

Enter running the Tough Mudder in April and, eventually, 12 more mud and obstacle races through December of 2012. Suddenly, I wasn't concerned with my plan at the time because I had found a distraction that I loved and had a passion for. As you may have read in how "Run to Remember" developed, it came to me while driving back from the Super Spartan Mid-west, as what I deemed at the time, a completely insane idea. I took the idea to some people much smarter than I when it comes to philanthropic endeavors (Thank you Tim Otteman, Lori Irwin, Shawna Ross, Marcie Otteman, and Betty O'Neill), and they encouraged me to run with it. So I did. 

Fast forward to today, and less than a month after publicly launching "Run to Remember" the response has been more than I ever imagined. The money already donated and pledged, the stories pouring in from people I know and don't know about how Alzheimer's has touched their lives, the support from all angles - individuals, companies, and media - has been overwhelming and honestly, quite unexpected. I knew I would need this all to happen in order for this to actually come to fruition, I just never imagined it would happen so quickly and months before I run the first of 100 races.

It's at this point that I feel this is what God had planned for me. As disappointed as I was that my plan didn't pan out as I expected, His plan is much better and more The year of races has yet to begin, but the progress made since it started as an idea in my head in late October, and the overwhelming response and support from everyone so far since launching publicly on March 11th, makes it evident that He is with me every step of the way and putting amazing people in my life to support it.

Sure I had my plan, but it's clear to me now that it wasn't His. I have no idea what the next year will hold exactly, but my complete trust is in God. I'm excited to see how His plan unfolds.
 


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