Abby Hall can run for days. Yes, days…you haven’t misread. The professional trail runner for adidas TERREX lives in Flagstaff, Arizona where she’s always plotting her next ultrarunning challenge. And such challenge could be tackling the John Muir trail in California covering over 220 miles in four days, 11 hours and 20 minutes!
That was Abby’s incredible achievement in September 2020 after committing herself to running since the age of 12. She ran in school and then excelled in college, but it wasn’t all plain sailing as Abby explains.
“I never thought that I would or could be a professional athlete. Ever. I feel most professional athletes’ share a similar story in which from early on they kept winning races because of their obvious talent, then signed a contract, got a scholarship and moved forward from there. But mine wasn’t this typical path filled with victories.”
Trust yourself and follow your passion
“As a kid, I struggled with perfectionism. For years, I would go into my races with unrealistic expectations and be heartbroken when these dreams didn’t come true. I always felt like I underperformed and that there was this deep well of potential I couldn’t access.”
But Abby didn’t let that disappointment stop her living her passion. “After competing through high school and college, you go from a rhythm of practice and competition to a wide open path. My relationship with running could become whatever I wanted it to be. Looking back, this was a formative time. I always think it’s the moments when no one is watching that define us the most. No one was making me do it. No one had any expectations of me. All I knew was that I wanted to keep going.
“I started trail running because I wanted to be part of a community. I wanted to be with like-minded people who are brought together by the sole purpose of finding their own summit, each with different goals in mind and obstacles to overcome.”
Ultrarunning needs both the head and heart to master
Abby not only found a community in Boulder, Colorado and later in Flagstaff, Arizona she also found her next big challenge – ultras!
“When I first got into ultrarunning, I joined as many group runs as I could and was eager to learn as much as possible about the sport. I wanted to get good at it, but this certainly didn’t happen as quickly as I thought it would. The first time I ran the Leadville 100, my goal was to win, and I ended up getting second to last place—it was the first time I truly grasped what a diverse mastery of skills this sport requires. After that race, I had two choices: pretend it never happened and avoid 100-milers at all costs or get to work. I chose the latter.
“It took a lot more experience at ultramarathons to learn I couldn’t just will these things into action. I had to have some hard conversations with myself and reshape my relationship with success into one that was about being MY best. For me, it has to start there.”
Letting go of perfection
I delve a little deeper into the work Abby puts into herself that nobody else sees. She explains that “Leaning into my weaknesses as much as my strengths has helped me let go of perfectionism and embrace who I already am. Being content with who I am allows me to reach for these summits without it being all about the outcome.
“Fearing failure, especially when I entered the sport as a young woman, led to the pressures of perfectionism that I felt growing up. I’m grateful that I had opportunities to fail, because they were shaping me. Over time, I began to see failure not as a roadblock, but as a sign that says, ‘go this way’, or ‘keep going’.
“This mindset taught me to approach the sport with humility and patience. I am always reminding myself that it’s not about my perfect path but embracing the path as it unfolds.”
Look to your peers for inspiration
What does Abby use that motivates her to spend days in the mountains looking for Fastest Know Times (FKTs)?
“My biggest inspiration comes from those around me. I’m often thinking of moments from my husband’s races (fellow trail runner Cordis Hall), and also of my teammates’ races when I saw them push through impossibly hard things. I think about how I want to make them proud. I don’t think we realize how inspiring we all are as humans, the things that we do every day.”
Find your own personal summit to tackle
Abby recognizes that not everyone is able to take on ultrarunning or run a marathon but wants to remind people that, as we say at adidas, Impossible is Nothing.
“Summits are often not what we expect. It may be letting go of perfectionism or belonging to a community. To this day, it kind of blows my own mind that I was able to achieve some of these things that I always wanted to, and I want others to know that they can too.“
INSPIRED TO FIND NEW SUMMITS TO TACKLE LIKE ABBY HALL?
Visit adidas.com to tell us your dream and how we can help you achieve it.CLICK HERE