Peak Freedom

The sky is clear
But I can’t see straight
My mind clouded by fear
I need to get outta here

From my problems I run
But there is no where to hide
This baggage weighs a ton
But my past can’t be undone

Take a look inside
What do do you see
It’s time to decide
Am I gonna break stride?

Somethings gotta give
If I’m being honest
I’m feeling like a fugitive
This is no way to live

With that I stop
Let the feelings arise
See what comes to the top
Its this burden I wish to drop

Friends and family near
I tell them how I feel
This history I clear
With the people I hold dear

Able now to see the sky’s dome
The night stars shine bright
They guide the way to leave home
As now I am free to roam


Running Across the World: Thorong La In the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal

Tracking the Pain

I never got to run on this track in college
That angers me
I got to run on it now
But that didn’t lessen the pain at all
At first I pretended it didn’t hurt
But really it made it hurt even more
It made me face the facts
And in doing so I felt helpless
Because my opportunity has passed
I will never compete on that track in college
I was not worthy then and so I never will be
But to whom?
In whose eyes was I trying to validate my worthiness?
And for what?
What was I trying to prove?
Those are the questions I’m asking now


Running Across the Country: Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA

Reigniting the Flame

Gravel crushed, trails beaten, pavement pounded. Blood spilt, sweat poured, tears shed. 1k loops repeated, miles logged, races ran. All these experiences slowly recede to distant memories

But Through countless hours striding side by side, a far more permanent essence has been etched into the ethers. A bond between two brothers. The flame of friendship was lit.

Fed and tended to, the fire burned for years on end.Through the passage of time the flame has sizzled, but the embers always remain aglow.

Though appearing as deadened ashes, the smoldering always remains primed for rekindling. One spark and the flame is reignited.

Picking up right where it left off, the fire of friendship blazes brighter than ever. Illuminating the bond of true brotherhood.

Running Across the Country: Bonita 8k in Carlsbad, CA

The Gamble

Running a race is a gamble

Every time you toe that line you risk  your pride and self esteem in hopes of achieving fame and glorification.

They say at the casinos only wager what you’re willing to lose

Are you ready to give up your egoic sense of self worth?

Only when you are willing to let go of the clinging to achievement based status  will true glory be found – when success is not predicated on the outcome.

The race itself is the prize. Running this way you never lose.

Running Across the Country: Las Vegas, NV on The Strip

Bridging The Gap

Each step driving energy back into Mother Earth, I reconnect with nature on every foot strike.

Whether I’ve been trapped inside my house or my mind, running puts me back in touch with reality.

It bridges the gap between who I am and what’s real – eliminating the difference between the two.

The bridge is always there, but will you run across it?


Running Across the Country: Zion National Park in Utah

Running Into Frustration

I always talk about all the enjoyment running has brought me. But running has also brought me FRUSTRATION. Last year I voiced that frustration on paper. Now I’m sharing it with you.

“My struggles all started when I got sick at the end of indoor track my Junior year in High School. From outdoor track my sophomore year until then I was on fire. I Ran 4:25 for the mile outdoors my sophomore year – I remember that race like It was yesterday. Exploding around the last turn and unleashing a fury of a kick. (I beat one of my best buds who has gone onto run 4:01 (now 3:58) – hence why I believe I can be that good) All the way until Indoors junior year when before every race I used to do strides and just feel like I was floating through the air. I just always had that pop and explosion in my legs. Could get off the line faster than anyone (well, the average hs kids I was racing at the time ). Towards the end of the season I won a mile in 4:22. I led that whole race from wire to wire and ran 422 all by myself negative splitting (running the 2nd half faster) and feeling like I had more to give. I got the flu that following week. I got blood work done and looking back I tested positive for Lyme Disease. It went undiagnosed at the time. Barring an extremely rare race or two I have never felt good like that again – training wise or racing wise. Senior year in cross country I ran roughly the same times as my junior year and college has just been a shit show. Training wise I always felt wiped. Then comes all the exhausted achy legs, winded walking around campus/ up stairs, and the myriad of other symptoms (cant sleep, night sweats, constipation, cold hands/feet, brain fog, headaches, indigestion, etc.). When I would run a mile race in college I would go out in 2:10 or 2:11 for the first half mile or and just hit a wall and rig the rest of the way until I ran a 4:25 or 4:26. Makes no sense why I could float to a 4:22 in high school or run a 425 my sophomore year and now I feel like I’m running through a wall to run 426. Been that way the whole time.”

Thank You. I’ve been holding that in for a long time. It feels good to express my Frustration.

Everyone is ALIVE but not everyone is LIVING

If you’re reading this, you’re alive, just like everyone else. But are you Living?

To Live is to be aware of what’s going on in the present moment. To be aware of our senses. To see, hear, and smell what is around us. We have eyes and ears but often don’t see or hear.

To Live also means to be aware of our feelings and emotions – what’s going on inside of us right now. To feel our presence and the presence of those around us.

As humans we have a tremendous ability to feel. An essential part of living is feeling. Most of us, though, are afraid to feel. Feelings are strong and powerful. They can be overwhelming, especially when invoked by our emotions – consciously or unconsciously.

We are afraid to Live because we are afraid to feel. So we use to distractions to prevent us from being aware of what is going on inside of us. They also prevent us from being aware of what is going on around us.

We are afraid to just BE, alone or with others, because we would be forced to deal with what we feel. Feel what’s going on inside of us. Feel the presence of others.

Whether we remove ourselves from being aware of what’s going on in the present by thinking about the past or future, clinging to short lived pleasures such as sex, drugs and alcohol, or merely distract ourselves by checking Instagram or Twitter, we are denying ourselves the ability to Live.

We don’t have to give up all of these things. We just need to know that we can live our life with more balance. If we just step away from the distractions/pleasures, stop living in the past, and quit hoping for the future – we will live a fuller life. In fact, we won’t be giving up anything. We will be gaining the ability to be aware and feel what is going on in and around us.

We will be getting our LIFE back.

Moving On

Why is it so hard to move on? Deep down there comes a point when you know something that was a vital part of your life has run it’s course but you can’t bring yourself to let it go. You can’t bring yourself to step out into the unknown – it’s too scary.

For me, that was competitive running. I just recently ran my last NCAA cross-country race ever. The end was bittersweet, but the newfound freedom it has granted me has been exhilarating.

Running and racing has been the focal point of my life for so long. It has brought me so much passion, joy, and intense moments of aliveness. But earlier this year the fire inside me was gone. Maybe not completely, but it didn’t burn as bright.

There were still times I wanted to hit and accolades I wanted to achieve. I thought these achievements would make me feel validated or proven. But my self-worth is not predicated on such merits. Those numbers or awards do not define who I am. The more I can disidentify with those times and achievements, the more I can get to know my true self – wherein my true happiness and self-worth lies.

But I was scared to let go. I was holding onto that identity of being a runner, a D1 athlete, a teammate. It was safe and comfortable to be doing what I’d been doing for so much of my life. I used running as a way to rationalize all I did. What I ate, my sleep habits, how much I drank, etc. Everything was centered on improving myself as a runner and it was hard to let that go.

But now that I’m done, I’ve found other reasons for why I do things in my life. And there are other things I do for no reason – just because I want to. And that’s reason enough.

I still run everyday and I love it. But I run with a new meaning and purpose and it brings me joy in a new way. It doesn’t consume all my energies and thoughts anymore. This has allowed me to see other paths available and find new passions to pursue. These passions make me feel alive in a different way, yet equally as satisfying.

Do I regret not quitting? No. I ensured that I got the most out of my running as I could. But it was the safe choice. I’m not going to search for the next point in my life when it’s time to move on from something, but when it comes I’m going to be aware and accepting of it. And next time, I’m going to take the risk – trust myself and allow the doors to the endless new adventures out there to open. Then the question becomes: will I go on them?

Thanks for Listening

Thanks for Listening

This may be hypocritical – but I don’t like talking about myself. Everyone has their own shit to deal with. Their own problems, struggles, and needs. Why should I feel that they want, or should, listen to my problems? Expecting someone to listen to my grievances feels selfish.

By asking for someone to listen to me it makes me feel like I think the pain or scars I’m dealing with are more worthy of attention than theirs. Everyone’s struggles and successes are relative. You only see the world through your own eyes. Why should someone ever be asked to listen to my story while they are writing their own?

This blog intends to create new eyes to see the world through and share these new viewpoints with whoever dares to change lenses. The pieces I write are almost always personal, but they are usually not about me.

Sometimes though, I need to come back to my own story and express pains specific to me. Tell how I found my path. Share my moments of joy.

Some of my greatest learning moments have come from someone sharing their story with me – their TRUE story. This openness is what allows us to gain an understanding of the fears or insecurities that drive many of one’s actions, choices, and behaviors. This gives us the ability to form new perspectives of people and the world. To understand each other better and be more compassionate.

By sharing my story, I hope that there are people out there who can learn from the difficulties I’ve faced on my journey. Maybe you can see some of the same fears hiding behind your choices. Or recognize the same insecurities driving your actions. If I can paint my picture more clearly, than maybe you will realize our pictures aren’t so different after all.

The recognition of these fears is what is so freeing in the end. The awareness of how these insecurities are controlling my life is what enables me to let them go. I’m then able to allow joy, love, and compassion drive what I do. To focus on what I am passionate about. If I can expose how I let other people’s expectations of me run my life, maybe you will see that you can live your life for yourself too.

But more than anything, these personal posts are for me. The power of having a listener is often overlooked. Sometimes I just need to let go of my feelings – release the energies I’ve been holding onto. Just knowing I’m being heard in these moments is invaluable. So Thank YOU for listening to my story. You are helping whether you know it or not. I just hope I’m able to offer you something as well.

The World Inside and Out

An Outward Journey Inward

Shannon C. Nelson


Dream Chasing & Fist Fighting


Celebrating, saving and sharing this great sport of running