How does one center?

How does one center? Well, this question is different for everyone as nobody is alike. Similar, but not synonymous.

This way of thinking is like a TBI (traumatic brain injury), and not one is the same. Similar, never identical.

The name is Molly Cain. Through many trials and errors and fine-tuning, I am leaning into passion, purpose, self-commitment, and strength. I am a lifelong learner, sharing my tools and approaching the starting line differently. This time, as a TBI-er who leads loudly.

I lead by example and will continue putting in the personal work to provide my clients, business partners, teammates, neighbors, and friends with the 100% authentic attention they deserve. All centered around how I can best support them to reach their personal goals.

If you have a thought, temptation, idea, or dream, GOPHER (Go-For) it!

Well, the above is true for personal Molly, too. My goal, vision, and idea were to become an endurance athlete to provide hope to TBI survivors. I am 1% to reach my level of mobility; I wanted to do something for my TBI family and be a voice for others. So I started to run. I ran to and from many things but always aimed to cross the finish line, which was a different experience every time I laced the running shoes.

Trail running, movement, and the power of healing energy, is my secret garden from the outside world. I found the trails to help me fight the anger within, let go of the rubbish I cannot control, love deeply, and forgive - not just others but 'self.

Unleash from the wild, Cainer style, from Peaks of Mt. Harvard, Buena Vista, and beyond.

Two months ago, my world changed, but not for better or worse, just different. Incredibly different. During this period, I had previous commitments to stand by that I was unwilling to let go of. So instead, self-commitment paved the path to gaining clarity on all (currently) needed.

One of those commitments was Never Summer 60k ... Ultra-Marathon.

Ten years ago, I would have never dreamt this possible. Back then, I was Molly Cain, a girl in a pose bed who just woke up from a coma, with the right side of her body paralyzed - to go out for a casual stroll to run a 60K ... That certainly was not your everyday average or typical Joe, and did not deem possible.

As I sit here with phoebes reading these words, I sink deeply with gratitude and love. To know with my soul; that I am on the road of true passion and purpose in spreading awareness and changing the conversation around brain injuries.

The woman who drove to Buena Vista after work on Wednesday is not the same woman typing these words over coffee.

After 3.5 hours, GPS said I would arrive at CR 305 to lead me to CR 365 and take me to the trailhead. As I cruised up these MTN roads, I approached a scary' sign that read words like cops, trespassing, fines, and private property. So, I got startled and went out of the way I had just come in. Once I reached phone service, I tried typing the trailhead into Google Maps. Same directions.

From here, I had no choice but to put my big girl pants on to try again. So, I took the scary road, which led to the most magical venture thus far.

Wednesday evening, I parked in the first spot available - the first spot in the trailhead lot as most of the day, hikers and overnighters had already picked their site.

A man was sitting outside, having dinner, and setting up his car camp for the night. After my 12-point turn, I asked the gentleman next to me if he liked the show. John, my new friend, laughed and was ironically from Fort Collins, making the conversation this much better. Though, I was pretty brain dead from the drive-up, and, not to mention - I was drained. So, we chatted a bit longer as he was off to Mt. Columbia in the morning, and I was off to Mt. Harvard, then parted ways.

Before I shut all doors, I wrote, connected, and grounded myself, letting go of worries, disbelief, and nerves of the 14.5-mile solo adventure to lay ahead. Instead, I continued to lean in and provide kind reminders to myself of what brought me here, grounding and holding onto my why, releasing fear of the past and TBIs what ifs. From this point forward, every step is done with conviction and purpose. Finally, I was heading to bed, knowing that magical gifts and blessings would soon appear the next day.

4:15 am soon approached, a few trucks rolled in and parked between vehicles and trees, and I knew this was my wake-up call to prepare for go-time.

I turned on the car to charge my phone, brush my teeth, change, make coffee, eat a bagel, pack my pack, and fill my bottles. Finally, it was time for me to dabble in my first solo adventure to the high country.

I realized I had forgotten my sunglasses a quarter mile up the trail, so I turned around and headed to the car to retrieve them. On the way down, I met a few folks and shared many smiles, and within the next 5 minutes, we had some exchanges, too, but this time I was on the way up.

Feeling confident and lively, I made it to my first marked right-hand turn toward Mt. Harvard and Mt. Columbia. The incredibly kind and gentle trail was gracious to my thigh and calves, from what I had experienced the past few weeks. Another two miles up and the left-hand juncture to Mt. Harvard off Horn Fork Basin had arrived; it was crunch time.

I read that once you are out of the tree line, it is gnarly, and you're fully exposed. And this path, out of the tree line, started with me heading the wrong way. However, way. I noticed two hikers who passed me moments ago crossed the stream, so I went back and made this exact move myself to ensure I was climbing the right path before things got more technical.

I grabbed a quick water refill from the stream and headed back up. Finally, I made it a little passed mile 5.5, and I was filled with excitement, question, and curiosity about what the top looked like—questioning if I was going to take this leap or not—but not putting any pressure on myself either way.

A hiker and dog I passed earlier were now quite near, as I stopped in my tracks with only .5 miles or so to go before reaching the summit. We chatted briefly, as she needed a break, and I was planted and told her, "I'm wondering if I go up or not." She responded, let's go - chuck (her dog) was doing it … I should say too?!

So, I led the way to the actual scramble, and I took my time as I continued upward to reach the summit of Mt. Harvard. The gal I met, her dog, and a random hiker all summited the mountain together and went our separate ways back down.

On the way down from the summit, I got a bit off track - daydreaming, and I pulled out the phone for assistance to find it was dead. However, I saw some hikers on the path and a Karen to guide the way back on track and to finish strong.

The next four miles were a breeze, but I kept rolling my left ankle, trying to overcompensate for my right foot.

I struggle with foot issues on the right side of my body from paralysis. This limits the shoes I can or cannot wear, including running shoes.

I was testing out my new pair of running shoes, Saucony Exodus. They were terrific, but my right foot's big toe kept catching the jumping rocks. After further consideration, I need to get the next size up since their toe box tightly encompasses the foot. Still, every trip was a kind reminder to pick up the feet.

All and all, such a rewarding and magical day. I probably saw 20-30 people climbing up the mountain within the 5-ish hour stretch I was there. I will be back for an inner rebuttal because I know I can do it. SMILEUWOKEUP

Lessons learned: 1. The mind is the most potent part of our existence. How do we fuel, express gratitude, and speak kindly to ourselves simultaneously plays a role in our everyday life? 2. Fears, worry, and self-doubt will undoubtedly get you nowhere in life. (I am not saying so scary and dangerous stuff.) 3. I am enough, not just a TBI-er; I'm a trail runner with a brain injury, and I choose to live fully, expanding all thoughts, boundaries, and limits.

Trail running is how I set my mind free; how are you bringing peace and zen to YOU, centering your soul from within?

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