Reflections on the Journey: Running the Trails

By: Wills Porter

What trail are you running?

A few weeks ago, I went for a trail run. As a running fanatic, I love trail runs because they are more technical and challenging. These runs test my agility, stamina and patience. Just when I think I can speed up, my foot will find a root or sense a change in terrain. When this happens, I am forced to revert to a slower pace. In many ways, I think this style of running translates to life. No matter what life challenges you face, your life isn’t clear cut. There are times when you feel like you are running up hill. There are also times when you catch a breeze and find your stride. Then there are the times when you are doing everything right and still fall flat on your face. Having been a runner for many years, I have experienced my fair share of falls. When I look back to each of the times I remember wiping out on the trail, I ended up falling because I was running a pace I had no business’ running. When I got back up, I would adjust and be more purposeful in sticking to my pace. In life, just as in ruining, I think the best way to navigate our own individual life trails is to stay true to our pace and not focus on the pace of others.

Are you focused on your pace or the race others run?

What pace are you running?

When I first started running, I didn’t understand the importance of pace setting. Over time with more runs and conditioning, I came to understand that the success of my run was heavily dependent on my pace. If I went out too fast, I would flame out too fast. However, if I started and maintained a manageable pace, I would have enough energy in the tank for the entire run. In life, I think the importance of pace is not talked about enough. In a culture obsessed with instant gratification, I wonder how often we really slow down and actually live our life. When I look back on my own life, I can think of multiple times where I focused more on getting through the challenges I was facing than actually living my life at a sustainable pace. In the case of aging out of the pediatric transplant care world, I definitely did not set a sustainable pace. It wasn’t’ until my final day at teen transplant clinic that I realized my mistakes. On that day, I realized that I had allowed someone else to set my pace for this life transition. I remember arguing with them for hours after my appointment and realizing just how much I had let others speak for me. Ever since that day, I have focused on setting my own pace, advocating for my medical needs and enjoying the journey. Making the pace adjustments I needed to make have allowed me to successfully navigate life regardless of the challenges that come my way. Life isn’t always going to be easy. However, going through life at a manageable and sustainable pace can make all the deference.

Are you prepared for the trails ahead?

To have a successful trail run, you need to prepare accordingly. This means practicing good nutrition and having a good mindset. Just as nutrition and a good mindset are essential to a good trail run, they are also important elements to preparing for the life trails you will one day face. If you choose to feast on nuggets of negativity, and Sinicism today, you will surely stumble in the face of adversity tomorrow. If you fill your diet with what is good and wholesome, you will develop a healthy mindset. With this healthy mindset you will be ready for the trails ahead. Most importantly, You will be able to navigate your life trails with courage and confidence.


Published by Wills Porter

Having been a transplant recipient of over 20 years, Wills is a living example of the life-transforming power of organ donation and transplant. While life after transplant has not always been easy, Wills believes that the challenges he has faced since his transplant have made him stronger and helped him take joy in his own transplant journey. As a KT author, podcast host and the director of research and development for Kidney Trails, Wills is focused on advancing the conversation around organ donation through innovative and extra organary ways.

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