Run This World

115 – Tracey Hulick Ran 50 Miles with One Kidney

I first came across Tracey Hulick when I opened the front page of the Denver Post Sports section and there she was running an ultra. That’s cool, but not that big of a deal, especially in Colorado where there are plenty of ultrarunners. What makes Tracey unique is that she was doing her first 50-miler ever. With one kidney. By choice.

Tracey made the decision at an early age that she would donate a kidney someday. She literally just felt called to do it. What intrigues me is the why behind the calling? Why does someone decide to do something that most people consider crazy, and I am pretty sure that most people do not feel called to undergo surgery to give a part of their bodies to someone else that they don’t know. Or if they do, it might be when they’re older and they feel the need to give back to help someone else. Not when they’re 12.

I think we get to the bottom of it, or at least we uncover part of the path to where Tracey is today. Like so many other people, she was healing one part of herself at the same time that she was tackling something else. I have a feeling that Tracey left some things unsaid, but I also think she shared more than she ever has before. And that’s all part of the process toward becoming the people we’re supposed to be.

Today we hit on:

  • Saying “I love you” for the first time
  • Why we often say yes to things (like marriage proposals) even when our guts say no
  • Growing up in an abusive household
  • Manifesting optimism even during dark times
  • Why Tracey was called to donate a kidney
  • Kidney donation: specifically Donor Chains & how many people can be impacted by your decision
  • Kidney Donor Athletes: A place athletes who donate can share stories and connect
  • Running: You can do something as extreme as donating a kidney and come back better than ever before
  • Holding the pen of your life

Here’s what I love about this episode. It’s not what I was expecting. I thought Tracey would be a kidney donor evangelist – pretty much focused on sharing that experience and recruiting others. What we all found was a beautiful spirit, stumbling her way through this world like the rest of us, but someone who actually does what her soul pushes her to do! I love her quote, “I’m hard-wired for optimism” – I think we should all adopt this mentality, at least for one day. When you immediately go to the dark side, when you immediately say “No. I can’t.” Stop in your tracks and reroute. YES YOU CAN! You always could and you still can. If you are someone who generally sees the negative first, take a cue from our old friend George Costanza. Remember that Seinfeld episode where he did the exact opposite of what he usually does? Try it! And if you are like Tracey and you’re hard-wired for optimism, then don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with the world. Maybe that means more smiles; more hugs. Maybe it means giving a kidney. If that’s the case, be sure to get in touch with Tracey. This world is a better place because she’s in it.

How to connect with Tracey: