Dream finish line

There are many definitions for the word dream, but I’m talking about the kind of dream that is something you have always wanted to do, something you didn’t always think was possible, and something you have to work insanely hard to achieve.

Miriam Webster defines this kind of dream as a strongly desired goal or purpose.

I achieved a dream the day I crossed my first marathon finish line. Crossing it hand-in-hand with my husband (then boyfriend) was the icing on the cake.

I achieved a dream the day I finished my first triathlon and then a few months later when I finished my first Ironman.

Those were finishes I had only dreamed of but didn’t know if they’d become reality until I/we had the nerve to sign up and put in the hard work to get there.

Every finish line is an achievement, but there’s nothing like the first one…the one that started as a scary thought in your mind until you had the nerve to sign up…the one that you poured hours of sweat (and some tears) into…the one where doubts crossed your mind throughout training.

My ultimate dream finish line? The Canadian Death Race…solo.

photo taken from Death Race Facebook page

photo taken from Death Race Facebook page…click image for source link

The Canadian Death Race is a 125 km (about 77 miles) all-terrain extreme adventure race course on very challenging terrain including three mountain summits and 17,000 feet of elevation change.

The seed was planted the second year the race went, in 2002, when I was 19. I was working in Pennsylvania that summer and my mom cut out the newspaper clips and mailed them to me with a note saying it’s probably a race I’d like to try one year. I’ve hung on to those clippings.


Since then it’s been on my mind, becoming more prominent with each year that passes. Over the last two years, Kelly and I have both seriously debated it.

They have a relay option. People ask me why I don’t start there to get a feel for it. I’m an all or nothing type gal who generally dives into challenges head first.

My concerns— 125km of running…over mountains, bears/cougars/scary animals made more scary in the middle of the night in the middle of the forest…alone.

I don’t know when I’ll sign up for this, but it’s not going to be this year (registration opened at the end of January and sells out quickly). I hope to  run some shorter trail races and ultras to start and eventually train my way there. But I’m putting it out there.

I want to run the Canadian Death Race solo one year, and I want to cross that finish line and achieve my ultimate dream!

What’s your dream distance/event/finish line?

Anybody want to sign up for it with me in 2015?! 

54 responses to “Dream finish line

  1. What a cool race! You definitely have to do it and achieve that dream. Mine? I’m not sure anymore. I definitely have some ultra plans for the future, but not sure which/when/where. But I’ll be cheering you on for sure!

  2. Sophie @ life's philosophie

    That race sounds insane and so awesome. I don’t know what my dream distance is, but I have a lot of dream events I want to do: Boston, NYC, Chicago, Disney, Big Sur….All marathon. I would love to try a 50 miler or something longer than 26.2, but that is a ways down the line.

  3. Awesome post Abby!! My dream finish line is to finish IRONMAN and REMEMBER the finish. With my post tomorrow, you’ll better understand why 😉

  4. I only wish I could sign up for this with you! There is no doubt in my mind you will achieve this goal (and in an amazing way!) 🙂 I was actually registered to do a leg of this race a few years ago, but had to back out due to injury. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sign up again. BUT I would still like to achieve my dream of finishing a marathon one day. We’ll see. Great post!

  5. I do not think I would consider a race including the word “death” in its name as my dream race! 🙂 I thought at first that you were saying it’s a triathlon – with mountain biking involving jumps off cliffs, shark-filled waters, and mountainy running. Not THAT would be a death race!

  6. Wow, that sounds like an amazing race! I have no doubt you’ll cross your dream finish line when the time is right. I would love to do an adventure race some day, especially if I can team up with my husband. I also want to do some ultra trail races in the future.

  7. My husband did it in 2010… here is his blog post about it!

    good luck!!! it’s a pretty incredible feat… I would rather stick to swimming, biking, and running personally… and I brought him to the triathlon dark side after that.

    • Thanks so much for sharing the link to his race report- absolutely amazing!!! Ha ha- love that he crossed over to tris with you now!
      When I do sign up for it, I may have some questions 🙂

  8. Kelly, your husband

    Bears and cougars are not scary! They do not want to harm you! People just need to understand wild animals in the mountains better, and need to understand how delicate and special they truly are.

  9. Kelly, your husband

    Oh, by the way, if there is one person I know that can do this, IT IS YOU! sign up for it!

  10. Wow that looks amazing! Good luck 🙂 I left triathlon to focus on running when I realized I didn’t enjoy swimming or biking but I still have a dream of finishing an ironman someday.

  11. That looks crazy! Alone at night in the wilderness??? Maybe the fear of animals will make you run faster. I know you can do it though!
    My dream race is the London Marathon. I’ve tried for 5 years to get in, but it’s a lottery. And the lottery fills up in minutes. I’m also thinking I’d like to run Boston. But I’d have to run a marathon at about my 5k pace (7:00 miles) to qualify. But I’m going to work on it!

  12. great post 🙂 any race that has the word “death” in it is a no go for me 😉

  13. What an amazing sounding race – go for it Abby! I must admit the name is a bit scary, but maybe that is part of the challenge!
    It’s awesome that you have had this dream for such a long time, and it is getting closer on your radar!

  14. Kaylie @ FitnessMovesYou

    I have wanted to run a full marathon for awhile now! Unfortunately, in the past, I always get injured once I hit a certain milegage [around 14miles]. BUT- I’m feeling really good this year with my training and I think this might be the year I finally am able to run a full!

  15. Wow – that race looks incredible!!! I know you will definitely achieve your dream finish line one day!!!
    Mine is a 100 mile race!!!

  16. Runner Girl Eats

    Everything about that sounds terrifying to me! My dream race is much more mild…I’d love to run an international marathon like Greece or Paris 🙂

  17. The Death Race sounds so awesome! After the kids get older, I plan to do Ironman Canada.

  18. Do it!
    Everyone I’ve talked to who has done it has loved the race. (ok, so that’s only two people I’ve talked to, but still, 100% of them loved it!)

  19. Oh Dang!! I think that would be a great challenge! You are such a rock star runner and so strong! I say if you are going to do it! Do it!!! 2015 yeah!!! I bet you can find some epic trail races this year to get your foot in the door for next!! 🙂
    My dream race: I don’t know. I wanted to do Challenge Wanaka but I don’t know about traveling all of that way with my bike. Maybe Gold Coast marathon in Australia?! Or the London Marathon?!

  20. Dang! You are so pretty and feminine on the outside but on the inside you are one tough cookie!! I’m sure if you set your mind to it, you can do it!!

  21. HOLY COW! This race sounds intense and totally scary…you are brave and this is totally cool. I’m still at the stage of a measly marathon (measly to you..MONUMENTAL to me!) is my next big goal! HA!

  22. omg abigail if i would have known you would take my letters and inserts seriously and kept them for all these years i would have mailed ‘baby and child’ rearing articles!!! just kidding, follow your heart and your dreams! aloha from mom

    • Stephanie@nowiun.com

      Hello! I love your comment! What you just wrote is something I’m sure my mom would have written on my blog! 🙂 Obviously you inspire Abby!

  23. Stephanie@nowiun.com

    I do dream of the Ironman…. your race sounds insanely fun!
    There are Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Ultras that have just gotten off the ground this year. I wonder if I’ll end up doing one of those (100 miles seems like an awful lot, though).

    Hanging on to the clippings is something I can totally relate to. An advertisement for a Lady’s Speed Stick Half Marathon caught my eye when I was overweight, sedentary, and sad about my physical state of affairs. My friend ran so I thought, “Maybe I can run.” Inside I was sad because my friend had never been crazy-involved with athletics and I was a full-scholarship athlete. Where was that athlete? I tore out that advertisement and it ended up being my first ever half marathon!

    • What a great story, Stephanie! I’m so happy you were brave enough to take the plunge- look at you now! I’d love to read a post about it at some point.
      An ultra in the Grand Canyon would be amazing!
      And I have no doubt you will do an Ironman one year.

  24. Oh my gosh- thats crazy! I would totally do something like this (I think). I am with you on diving in head first into challenges. My ultimate goal is to complete a full Ironman!

  25. That sounds insane and, not gonna lie, pretty fun, too! 🙂 I say go for it! You absolutely would rock it, lady! My dream finish line: either Norseman in Norway or this new self-supported off-road iron distance tri in North Dakota (and, Kona obviously 🙂 ).

  26. You have to chase that dream and run the Canadian Death Race someday; and when you do it, I will hang on every word of your recap!

  27. That is seriously exciting! Can’t wait for you to go for it. I’m an all or nothing person too and many people think I’m crazy for signing up for my first Ironman this year, with only having done 2 shorter distance triathlons years ago. But that will be my dream finish line. (For this year, at least!)

  28. runnerbydefault

    Wow! That race sounds pretty intense! I am with you on the all in or nothing. No relays for me either. I know you can total kick this races a$$! I have to wonder what your mom was thinking telling her 19 yr old daughter about a death race though….LOL!!! 😉

  29. I think I have yet to hit that stage of runner evolution: I’ve only just signed up for my second half marathon. The far off dreams for me right now are I’d like to eventually try a sprint triathlon and maybe try running a longer distance race. Don’t know when they would happen, but it’s something I think about from time to time 🙂

  30. Holy crap! That sounds intense! I know you can do it though!

    I don’t have a dream finish line other than the Boston Marathon finish line at this point! Knowing me as soon as that one is marked off my list ill have something new to go after!

  31. Oh I have been talking about and dreaming about a half IM. I am eager to try it but need to find a time to make it work in my life. One day…it’s the dream!

    Have you read Scott Jurek’s book? It’s about his life as a vegan and ultramarathon runner. So interesting and inspiring! Plus it has really good recipes : )

  32. what an amazing race! I think you need to do it sooner versus later. Dream big friend! Ill cheer for ya!

  33. Bah! What an amazing race!! I would be terrified to do this, but I am absolutely not surprised that this is on your bucket list!! I have no doubts that you will cross that finish line – If anyone can do it, it’s YOU! My dream right now is to cross the BMO Marathon finish line in May…ahhhh!

  34. That sounds AMAZING! From what I’ve read on your blog, you would totally handle it like a champ!

    Eventually I’d love to try an ultra, but let’s just see if I can get through a full marathon first!

  35. Came across your page randomly while googling the death race this evening. You should absolutely sign up for this race. The town embraces this race and the atmosphere all weekend is awesome. 2013 was my first attempt(successful) and I had so much fun I will be on the starting line this year as well.

    • Wow- congratulations on your successful finish last year, Kelly! I hope your training is going well for this year! I’d love to hear about it once you’re finished.
      I really hope I can get my body back into it’s non-injured form so I can do it in the next couple years.

      • Will let you know how it goes for sure
        Last year myself and a friend went up. After hearing how much fun we had three other friends have signed up for the solo experience.
        Good luck trying to get your injuries sorted out. I know all too well how much being on the sideline sucks.

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