• Tanner Kern

Using the Hard Times

In 2017, I was 340 pounds. I was unhappy, unhealthy, and a completely different person than the one who is writing this on June 4, 2020. I sit here on my computer one week away from heading up to the US/Canada border for the biggest run of my life. It's a long way and everyone I talk to reminds me of this fact and they're not wrong. It's a distance that fills my mind with doubt because it's over 100% more mileage than I've covered in a week.


Before we get into the distance let's turn the clock back to 2017. This photo was taken on January 1, 2017 right after the clock struck midnight. I wasn't happy and there were a lot of reasons for this which I won't discuss in this blog, but I just wanted to give everyone a visual of where I was at in my life.

I had just missed my first football season ever in 2016 because of concussion issues. In the spring of 2017, my career would come to an end and I didn't think life would go on without football. After the fall of 2017, I would leave Lafayette for good. There's a lot of other details in this story which will be published down the road, but just know that everything I had worked for in my life up until this point was gone. This destruction left me feeling completely empty. I no longer knew who I was and I felt like I had no meaning in life. It was a struggle everyday to get out of bed.


I'm sure many can relate: When you have no meaning life gets pretty tough. I would wake up everyday and feel like I had no purpose and that's sad because we all have a purpose even if we don't know it just yet. Those days were extremely difficult, but I don't forget the hard times. These moments were what gave me my current purpose in life: To help others achieve the things they never could've fathomed.


Everyone has hard times and everyone will hit a wall or road block at some point in their life. At 18, I had to climb a mountain that I didn't think I could conquer. As I sit here today on June 4, 2020 I am glad to say I conquered that mountain and found a way to reinvent myself. Hurdles are inevitable in life and I know 260 miles in a week is no small challenge, but it pales in comparison to the hard times I've already faced.


So of course I have doubts about 260. My body has never traveled this far and that fact alone creates a sense of doubt. 260 is the big headline, but 260 isn't the real challenge. The real challenge was everything I've dealt with to put myself in a position to run this far.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has a quote about this that I love:


He says “I like to use the hard times in the past to motivate me today.”


Here's just a few of mine that FUEL ME.

The nights when I was tested with my weight loss.

The mornings waking up without any purpose or goals.

The countless doctor visits for my concussions.

The physical pain with my head.

The loss of everything I had worked for in my life.

Not being able to make it around a track one time without stopping.

People I valued turning their back on me when I was no longer a football player.


I don't forget the hard times. I keep them in the front of my mind every morning when I wake up. I do EVERYTHING with a chip on my shoulder. That doesn't mean I'm a bitter guy. I'm a very nice person and if you know me hopefully you'd say that, but when it's time to go to work and get the job done nothing is going to stop me...not even 260 miles.


And one week from today...It's time to go to work.




Tanner Kern is a 22 year old coach, runner, and blogger from Connecticut. He is the host of The Tanner Kern Podcast and creator of "It's a Process: A Blog About Life, Running, and Everything in Between."

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© 2023 by Tanner Kern.