Hello and welcome to my blog!

Who am I? I’m Melanie Clement. I started running in January 2012 in order to join a team of coworkers for an upcoming Spartan Sprint race. At that time, I was inactive. I started training with a walk run program to build me up to an hour run before the event that took place in June. While I did not enjoy the mud race, I discovered that I had a passion for running. From that passion, a desire to compete and see how far I could go was born.

I’ve since competed both on trails and roads at different distances, including ultra-marathons. My strength lies in road running. My proudest achievement was to be selected to compete at the World 100k Championships in Spain in November 2016. I have since dropped down in distance to work on my speed. I also moved to Vancouver last July in order to train where the best in our country train. In 2018, I plan on competing road races, as well as masters track and cross country races at the regional, provincial, national and international levels.

I strongly believe that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and your dreams and I am here to prove it.

Why the RunMelanieRun name?

In 2013, I joined a team of 23 runners to complete a 100k road run (we each ran the full distance as solo runners!) to raise money to fight kids’ cancer. The run was part of the Sears Great Canadian Run. We ran from Ottawa, Ontario to Montebello, Quebec. Having been a runner for less than 2 years at the time, and having been inactive before that, training for the 100k event was not without its challenges. To encourage me to keep going, a friend started using the hashtag #runmelanierun in his comments on my Facebook posts. Other friends soon joined in and it stuck. The run was a success as our team raised more than $100,000 for the cause. I look forward to sharing this story and more of the incredible moments running has allowed me to experience with you. Please keep visiting my website for regular updates.

Injury Doesn’t Have to Be a Feared Word

Over a month ago now, my physiotherapist gave me some bad news: that I was looking at a 4-6 weeks recovery period from an injury I’d sustained. I could hear Seinfeld’s soup nazi in my head saying: “No Spring races for you!” That’s not the news any runner wants to hear, least of all, me!

A good friend suggested that maybe it was time to reconnect with some of my other passions. I grumpily thought, “What other passions? Running is all that matters!” I told him I had none. But I knew he was right. I could choose to pout and be miserable for all that time (hey, that’s always an option!) or I could use this break to enjoy other things I’d neglected.

We are more than athletes!

It’s funny because, before the injury, I had been struggling with my running and even thought of quitting a few times. So really, what was I missing so much now that I couldn’t run? That got me thinking about what it is about running that I (obviously!) really like. The answer that stood out for me was that I like who I am as a runner. Identifying as an athlete, has helped me gain more confidence, more strength, more resilience, more passion. This sport has helped me push my limits and see just how much I am capable of. Ultimately, it has helped me grow into a woman I like and who has inspired others to chase after their own dreams.

But while there is much to love about running, I also realized that this is only PART of who I am. I am ALSO a kind hearted person who loves helping others. I enjoy meeting people and making new friends. Most of all, I enjoy sharing my love, smile, positive attitude with the world and especially those who need it most. And guess what? That can all be done without running! And I really like who those qualities make me, just as much as those I gain from running.

Injuries don’t have to completely suck

I really believe that everything happens for a reason. There is at least another week to go before I can return to running (and maybe more in the end), but my attitude towards my injury has completely changed. Who would have thought?! I am making more time to volunteer at a local homeless shelter and for other organizations I like to support, like impossible2Possible. I am making new friends and I’m remembering to do little acts of kindness more often. The result? Instead of being an injured grumpy runner, I am actually happier now than most of last year when I was running. I may not be competing, but I am helping make the world a better place. And that makes me happy too.

Many priorities

Moral of the story? I knew I couldn’t keep on focusing just on my sport (I’ve already shared this in a blog post last year). But this forced me to actually do it (be careful what you ask for, right?). I have to say I did not expect the result to be this good though. Now I know I need to make sure that, when I return to running, my life has room for all of this because I’m happier living life as the whole me. Running can still be a priority, but I’ve learned that there can be more than one priority in my life. This injury has helped me remember that I am so much more than a runner and I’m grateful for that.

How do you cope with an injury? As always, I’d love to hear your story!

Anxiety Disorders and How You Can Help

I can run 100km, but I can’t fucking do my groceries. That’s what I told a therapist last year when he reminded me that there are things I can do that others can’t. I was in tears. I was embarrassed that there are things that others do every day, without even thinking, that can cause me so much anxiety.

Of course, I was exaggerating. But, once upon a time, that was my reality. I did have a hard time going to the grocery store (or even getting out of my apartment). It’s not an issue now but, as I was explaining to him, some changes in my routine at that time meant that, my new option for groceries involved parallel parking on a busy street. I was frustrated that day because I had not been able to even try because it was bringing up too much anxiety for me. I was feeling broken.

Living with anxiety isn’t easy. People sometimes ask me how they can help someone with anxiety issues. I always tell them that it’s different for everyone and that they should always ask the person they would like to help. While I still think that’s true, I also thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.

Be compassionate

New situations can be difficult for anxiety sufferers. They’re not always the typical situations where people experience it either, like public speaking or having to meet your new partner’s parents! For me, it can be sometimes as simple as filling up my car at a new gas station. Last time I did that, I noticed my hand was shaking badly as I put my card in the machine to pre-pay. I prayed to God no one saw. Why? Because it’s totally embarrassing to me that, as an adult, something so simple can shake me up so badly.

So please, if you see someone showing signs of nervousness or acting in a way that seems a bit strange to you (I’ve had to sit down on the ground at a Skytrain station once to prevent a panic attack), don’t laugh, don’t judge. Be compassionate and try to understand that everyone has their own struggles.

Under that same heading, if you see an adult snapping a selfie for seemingly no reason, don’t assume that they are vain. They may just be celebrating something that was hard for them to do. Yes, this is me, the first time I put air in my car tires. It may seem insignificant to most people, but I’d been stressing about having to do it for a week and it was quite an accomplishment for me. I deserved that selfie (though I was too self-conscious to take it from outside the car – haha!).

A picture of me with the tire inflator machine.

Acknowledge our strength

Sadly, there’s still a lot of stigma around mental illness. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I’ve been worried about people seeing me as weak. Unfortunately, this is something I have to live with a lot. Many people still see mental illness as a weakness. But I guess this is why it’s important to get the information out there and talk about it.

I often think about the quote that says “every day you should do something that scares you”. If that’s the definition of being brave, I can assure you that no anxiety sufferer is weak. Because we do something that scares us most days, if not every single day. When I seem to be at my weakest, I’m probably actually fighting some of my hardest battles. Not giving up requires a strength that those who don’t suffer from mental illness will luckily never know. If I let you see my fears, know that it’s because I trust you. It’s not easy for me to do. Please respond with kindness.

Anxiety is not all in our heads (well, kinda)

Many people think that anxiety is like stress. That I can just shake it off and that I should. That taking deep breaths or talking it through will make it go away. While that’s sometimes true, other times, not much seems to help. It’s not for lack of willingness. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could just be normal (so if I could, I would, believe me)!

Newer scientific studies actually show that there are physiological causes for it. Someone was explaining to me last year that the part of my brain that feels anxiety is likely overdeveloped (maybe as a result of early abuse). Studies also show lower heart rate variability in anxiety sufferers and mine is no exception (my numbers are way below average). So again, please be understanding, we are doing the best we can.

Ask

Don’t assume that you know what’s best for someone else. If you’re not sure how to help someone, ask. I’ve had a friend once who chose not to invite me to a party because he thought I would feel pressured to go. While I appreciate the thought and know it was coming from a good place, I ended up feeling left out instead. I heard about the party and wondered why I had not been invited. The sad thing is that I wanted to go and would have gone.

Each person is different and they will know best how you can help. They may also ask to try a few different things. If you are willing to listen and try their suggestions, it will mean a lot to them I’m sure. It certainly does to me!

And maybe sometimes there’s nothing that can be done other than just being there through the hard times. Or maybe you’re that understanding friend they can celebrate their small successes with (thank you Dawna!). Either way, your willingness to just be there will help I’m sure.

Some final thoughts

If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you are not alone. There are ups and downs. Make sure you have some supportive people that can be there for you along the way. Stay away from the people who will tell you that you don’t have what it takes to reach your dreams. Find the strength to slowly prove them wrong. Yes, some days, the anxiety will win, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Every day is a new day and an opportunity to try again. Some day, you will be able to tell that anxiety to get lost. And you will do something you never thought you could (be it running at a World Championship or parallel parking!). 😉

I hope this has helped someone. Feel free to share your thoughts. Thanks for reading. Let’s keep on fighting the stigma!

Intentions to Start the Year on the Right Foot

At the beginning of last year, I wrote about intentions. Intentions aren’t like the typical new year’s resolutions. They aren’t goals to reach, but are more about the journey to get there. I like to think of intentions as the “flavour” we want to give our lives.

The start of a new year is always a great time to set new intentions. I think of it this way: when at the end of the year, I want to look back at it and use which words to sum it up? I pick no more than three to keep things simple.

My three words

Last year, I chose: fun, faith and feistiness. I wanted to have more fun with my training, let go of outcomes more and approach my goals and life with more courage.

While my year didn’t quite turn out like I had in mind when I set them, I still showed a lot of faith and feistiness. Year 2018 was one of major changes for me. Some were really difficult. It took a lot of faith for me to make them and trust that they will be for the best.

While change isn’t easy for anyone, it can be even trickier for someone who, like me, has anxiety issues. I was too embarrassed to talk much about it at the time, but I ended up having panic attacks early last year. One time, I even had to walk back home from a run. I struggled and even had to miss a race.

On a more positive note though, it forced me to work on this more than ever before. With some help, I decided to be brave and trained in spite of the anxiety. I was determined not to let it win. It was not going to take my running from me! And, after having some success with my runs, it encouraged me to tackle it in other areas of my life (where I’m proud to say I really kicked some butt!). This all took courage and this is how I showed feistiness this past year.

2019 Intentions: Fun, fun and more fun!

The only word I can’t say represented year 2018 for me is “fun”. It was a difficult year with tough decisions, (too) many changes and a lot of losses to mourn. But, I think it has put me in a great place to start the new year!

For that reason, “fun” is the only word I choose for 2019. I need to give this one another shot! I’ll use it to remind myself to not take life – and especially my training – so seriously! If I’m not enjoying the process, then what’s the point of reaching my goals?

Having fun doesn’t have to mean that I can’t compete or try to get faster. It means I have to reconnect with the things that I like about running. Training with others is something I always had a lot of fun doing. So, to kick things off, I’ve joined a new (fast!) running group. The fun starts at the track tonight!

What will your intentions be for the new year? How will you make them happen?

Choices: Making, Changing and Owning Them

We make choices all the time. Some are small, like deciding what to have for breakfast. Others are bigger and have more of an impact on our lives. But, even if we sometimes wish we could, we can’t escape them. Even refusing to make a choice, is making one.

The good news is that, no matter how scary some choices may seem, none are set in stone. We can always try something for a little while and then decide if it’s for us or not. I was just telling a friend that maybe life choices are like finding a good pair of running shoes: you have to try a few before you find the right fit.

Making Choices

In my last post, I wrote about not being happy, feeling I’d sacrificed a lot while chasing my running goals. I felt lonely and I wasn’t sure if the goals I was after were really what I wanted. So, I made a commitment to try a few changes: let go of formal training / coaching, run more for fun, hang out with friends, volunteer, and start dating.

I’m proud to say that I was brave enough to try it all (yes, even online dating!). I pushed outside of my comfort zone and I’ve learned a lot about myself as a result. I also met some great people and had fun!

Changing Choices

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this? Yes, maybe sometimes you need to let go of something to realize how much you want it. While I still want to spend more time with friends and volunteer, I’ve found out, over the last few weeks, that I’m not ready to give up on my running goals just yet. So I’ve decided to go back to chasing them.

As part of that decision, I will also hold off on my search for that special someone. As long as I spend enough time with friends, I don’t feel the need to date right now. I also know that, while focused on my sport, I wouldn’t be able to be the partner that I’d want to be. Two-time US Olympian Megan Kalmoe, summed this up pretty perfectly in this older blog post. She imagined what her online dating profile would say. I love this part: “I will always, with no exceptions–ever–choose training, eating, sleeping and recovery over you. Call me?” You get the picture.

Owning Choices

So, was this all just a waste of time? Not at all! I’ve learned that, even if we end up deciding that the choices we made weren’t entirely right for us, we’ll still learn and benefit from having tried them. For example, I now know that chasing my running goals is really what I want to do. For me. I no longer have to question if it’s just something I feel like I have to do. Also, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing not having a partner for running anymore. It’s now a conscious decision that I’ve made and that I’m happy with. I truly own those choices and that’s a great feeling. I have my answers and I know what I want!

What Now?

The new changes may not all have felt quite right for me, but neither did what I had before. The result (for now) is a mix of both. More changes may be needed in the future, but I guess that’s all part of life. My message is, if you’re not sure about something, give it a shot! What do you have to lose? Even if it doesn’t stick, you might still gain something out of it like I did!

This past year really has been one of many changes for me. It has been at times painful, but also a great learning experience. But, best of all, I think it has put me in a great place to start 2019! Bring it on!

Change What’s Not Working to Get the Life You Want

Change is hard. I doubt too many of us ever would if we had a choice. Yet, now and then, we get to a point where’s it’s clear that we need to. Sometimes, we have to hit rock bottom before we’re willing to do the work, but it doesn’t always have to be that extreme. Maybe we’ve just had enough of the same old. My last eye opening moment came when, a few weeks ago, my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant.

that moment of clarity and choice

Now, I first want to say that I have nothing against medication when it’s needed. The problem is that I don’t suffer from clinical depression. I wondered at first why he would do that, but then realized that I definitely had some of the symptoms. So I had a decision to make. Go on the way I was, take the meds and hope they’d help (small chance of that happening!). Or figure out what wasn’t working in my life and take the steps to change that. Yup, I chose option #2.

With a little help from some friends and pros, I realized that, for most of my life, I had been trying to please people who needed me to be the best, who needed me to win. I spent a lot of time trying to get their approval, but it was a fight I couldn’t win. No matter what goal I chased, or reached, it was just never good enough. I kept trying until it got me to where I was: stressed out and unhappy.

While those people are no longer in my life now, I just kept doing the same thing, not realizing that it’s not what I really wanted. I had convinced myself that this was the life I wanted. But like Sheryl Crow said so well: “If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?”. Hmm, good question!

doing the work: going after the life you want

It wasn’t easy for me to admit that I wasn’t happy, but once I did, then I was able to get help and change. I’ve spent the last 4 years now, chasing big goals. Some that I’ve reached and I’m really grateful for. Others that may remain unattained. Like anything I do in my life, I committed myself 100% to those goals and made a lot of sacrifices. I’ve sacrificed friendships, I’ve sacrificed finding a partner. The focus I gave running, in the end, made me feel really lonely. It has now become clear to me that I need more in my life than just my sport.

So… here comes Melanie 5.0 (I’d like to say 2.0, but we’re way past that now)! Changing what I’m doing is both exciting and scary. First, I had to find out what I wanted out of life and now I’m working on taking the steps that will get me there. I have decided to: 1- let go of formal coaching for the time being (which was a very difficult decision – thank you Derrick Spafford for getting me to where I am!); 2- keep running and competing but more for fun and the social aspect of it (I plan to join in more group runs); 3- build more friendships and start dating; 4- volunteer more (which is an important part of who I am and who I want to be).

change is hard

Yes, it’s worth repeating. Change is damn hard. Even when it’s needed. If you think this has been a piece of cake for me, think again. None of these decisions were easy (my friends may even think my blog was hacked!) and there have been quite a few tears along the way. Some of the work that I still have to do is also quite nerve racking for me. I even told my sport psychologist that maybe “ignorance really is bliss”. Some days, I wish I hadn’t realized that I was miserable. But I also want more out of life. I want to be happy. So I’ll keep taking the next step and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my new adventures with you!

Motivation: Find It by Connecting with Your “Why”

It’s no secret that I’m a runner who likes to chase big goals. Every day, I work hard to reach them and make a lot of sacrifices. Most days, I have faith that it will all be worth it, but sometimes, it’s harder. This year, after an emotional Spring, I started seeing my race times get slower instead of faster. I started losing hope that I’ll ever reach the goals I’ve set for myself. As my hope went, so did my motivation. I felt lost. What was the point of all that training if I could never reach the goals I was training for in the first place? Should I give up and cut my losses now?

Since running is such a big part of my life, I knew I needed help to sort this out. So I reached out to sport psychologist, Dr Simon Marshall, who suggested I reconnect with my “why”: the deep, emotional reasons why I run. While running to “stay active” or “because I like it” may be good, he explained, that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for the reasons that get me all choked up when I talk about them. As funny as it seems, after 6.5 years of running, I had never taken the time to really find out why. My motivation had mostly been to get faster, set new personal best times and, because of that, changed depending on how well (or not) I raced. I needed something that would keep me going, no matter what my race times were. I share my results below.

My “Why”

#1: I run to prove to myself that I’m strong.
I’m an abuse survivor. It’s not something I talk about much, but I’ve suffered abuse in more than my share of bad relationships. I always had to tiptoe around my abusers, never knowing what might set them off. I lived in fear and learned not to matter. As a result, I grew up into a person who felt very small, with no self-esteem, no self-love, no self-confidence. I was afraid of my own shadow and felt beaten down. I felt weak. Running has shown me that I’m capable of so much more than I think. It has helped me see that I have a whole lot of strength in me; that I’m actually a woman I can be proud of and who can inspire others. I never believed, in my wildest dreams, that I would ever become who I am today. I’m excited to see what my future still holds.
#2: I run to save my life.
I’m a recovering addict. Through the years I’ve been clean, I’ve seen many friends die from their addiction. I don’t want to die. Because exercise is great for treating mental illness, running is my lifeline. It helps me deal with feelings in a healthy way and keeps me sane (well, as sane as a person who likes to run 100k for fun can be!). I run for the friends I’ve lost because they can’t run anymore, ever. But I can. I’m still here and I want to stay here. So I run.
#3: I run to show others that they can.
I hope to show others who suffer from addiction or who are victims of abuse that, if they reach out for help, one step at a time, they also have the power to change their lives and become who they want to be. If I can do it, they can too. I want them to see that we’re not too “broken” to do great things. WE CAN. There is a better way. If I inspire just one person and it saves their lives, then it’s all worth it.
#4: I run to belong. 
Growing up, I had a hard time fitting in. I never seemed to do or say the right thing. I never felt like I was really wanted or belonged anywhere. Sadly, not long ago, I also had to take my distances from my immediate family. Being a runner gives me not only an identity, but also a community that I can be part of, where I feel accepted for who I am. I’ve made so many good friends through running. Runners support and encourage one another. We challenge each other. We understand each other. And we are there for one another – when things are good and when things aren’t. Above all, we are part of the same tribe, no matter what, no matter who we are. We are family.

Next steps

It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of why we started something. We get caught up chasing goals and we forget. Reconnecting with our “why” can help us get our motivation back when we’ve lost it. I will now post the reasons why I run on my fridge and, each time I see them, I will remind myself that they really are all that matters. These are with me forever, no matter what happens. They will keep me going when things aren’t going the way I’d hoped. No bad race result will ever change that.

My next task is to find a mantra that captures them and that I can use during workouts and races. Suggestions are welcome. I’d also love to hear your reasons “why” if you’d like to share!

Are Defeating Self-Beliefs Your Safety Net?

Old defeating self-beliefs: everyone has them. You know those little voices that say “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not lovable”, “I’m scared”, “I’m weak”, among other things? Well, I’ve recently decided to work on identifying mine and getting rid of them.

I can't do it. I'm not worthy. Nobody Loves Me. I must be perfect. I'm not good enough.

Through a mental exercise, working with a mental skills coach, we pictured that all the information about each one of my defeating self-beliefs was written in a book. Then, we took each “book”, and burned it. But somehow, on some days, I go back, sift through those ashes, and find remnants of those books that I want to desperately piece back together and hang on to. I want to hang on to past experiences and beliefs that keep me small. Why?

My Safety Net

I think it’s because there is comfort in the old and familiar, even though it’s no longer serving me. Staying limited by those old self-beliefs sometimes feels safer than spreading my wings and stepping out of my comfort zone. It feels safer than facing the unknown and taking risks. Yes, there is safety in the “I can’t” and if we’re not careful, it can easily become a crutch. Every excuse from our past (or present) is then used as proof that we shouldn’t (or can’t) try.

The problem is that, while they may help us feel safe, holding on to those old defeating self-beliefs also prevents our growth. If we don’t really believe that we can, even if we go through the motions, we’re limited to a mediocre performance. Believing in ourselves and doing all the necessary work to reach our dreams, means taking risks, including the possibility that we may fail. But haven’t we already failed if we don’t even try or don’t give it our best effort?

I can

With that in mind, I have decided to face my fears and really let go of these old self-defeating beliefs once and for all. I’ve had enough! I refuse to let them hold me back anymore.

Faking it

Something that seems to be working for me is pretending that I don’t have them. Some days, I can even pretend to be someone who inspires me if that works better. I’ve heard many times the expression “fake it until you make it”. I’ve wondered before how that could possibly work. It works because when I pretend to be confident and strong, for example, those are the thoughts in my head that I feed. The more I feed positive thoughts, the more they multiply and the more they become a part of me, instead of the old self-defeating beliefs.

Are you holding on to self-feating thoughts? If so, which thoughts will you decide to feed today?

 

Setting Intentions: Keeping it Simple

Often, in the yoga classes I attend, the teacher will ask us to set an intention for our practice. Something we’d like to focus on during the session, like “patience”, “letting go” or “being present in the moment”. Until working with mental fitness coach, Sara Wegwitz, it had never occurred to me that I could also, very similarly, set intentions for my life. She has recently asked me to do just that, with three words that will guide me in the upcoming year.

What are intentions?

I’ve had to do a little bit of research to answer this question. Intentions are not goals. Goals are set in the future and are external achievements. Intentions are always happening in the here and now. They are based on values that are important to us and guide our actions. They are more about the journey to reach our goals and are lived daily (hopefully!), regardless of how far or close we are from attaining our goals. Intentions are changes that will lead us to greater fulfillment.

How to set intentions?

It’s easy to get carried away when we want to improve ourselves or our lives. Maybe we focus on too many things at once, feel overwhelmed, and then, abandon the whole process. Picking just three words keeps it simple and keeps us focused on just a few things at a time.

My three words

To make them even easier to remember, I’ve chosen three words that start with the same letter. Of course, you can also select fewer if you prefer or make them into an acronym. Year 2018, for me, will be about:

  1. FUN: I tend to take life a little too seriously sometimes. I am so determined and focused on reaching my goals, that I can forget to enjoy the process. Enjoying the journey more will mean that I have no regrets, regardless if I reach my goals or not.
  2. FAITH: This year, I will strive to focus on my efforts and the present moment, letting go of the outcomes more. I will also trust that the universe has a plan for me and that everything happens for a reason, even if things may not end up the way I had pictured them.
  3. FEISTINESS: Finally, I’d like to approach life and races with more boldness and courage. I will do my best to leave any doubts behind, trust myself (and my training), and aim to take more risks in order to unleash my full potential.

Having picked my three words, I will now write them down and display them somewhere I can see them daily. Each time I am faced with a decision or a choice on how to approach a situation, I will do my best to remember to let them guide me.

Which three words will guide you in the upcoming year? If you decide to set intentions, I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Rest and Recovery: Listening to Our Bodies

Almost four years ago now, I attended a fundraising event for a non-profit organization that I love – impossible2Possible. At the event, I had the opportunity to meet Canadian Olympic athlete Melanie McCann. As I was, even back then, very eager to learn from our country’s top athletes, I asked her what recommendations she had for a newer athlete. Her answer: take those rest and recovery days very seriously. My coach at the time also insisted that this was crucial, so the message was loud and clear! It quickly became an important part of my beliefs regarding my training.

Olympian Melanie McCann and me

I consider myself very lucky to have learned this early on in my running career. I’ve benefited greatly from it. As many coaches say: consistency in training is key to good performance. How can anyone train consistently if they overwork their body and end up always injured? Muscles need a break in order to build and get stronger.

In training, my priority is always staying healthy and avoiding overtraining. The way I see it, taking care of myself and my body is also practicing self-love. I am always honest with my coach and let him know right away when I need a little extra rest. I know that it’s much better to take a few extra days when I need them than end up overtrained, sick, and possibly missing a week or more – or worse, end up too tired to race to the best of my ability.

People often assume that, because I am very competitive, it must be hard for me to take a break. The truth is that, if I work hard on the days where I am supposed to work hard, then I have earned the rest and recovery days and I appreciate them. If I work hard on easy days, not only do I risk injury, but I am also reducing the chances of having a solid workout on the hard days and then won’t gain the benefits of training as much as I should. And I definitely want to avoid that! So you see, it is because I am competitive that I take it easy on my recovery days (and the elites do too!).

Not only are breaks helpful for the body, but they are also essential for the mind. Always being focused on training and the things needed to reach my goals can be draining. I am just now slowly returning to training after an end-of-season break. I took some time off, went out on easy group runs, hung out with friends and ate some unhealthy restaurant food! In other words: I did all the things I cannot always do while training. This was exactly what I needed to recharge and feel excited about the upcoming training season. Now I’m ready to recommit to training and take on 2018!

beyong training

While this blog post is a little more focused on my training, the need for rest exists in every area of our lives. If we overdo anything and tire ourselves out, we cannot be our best. We cannot help anyone, give of ourselves or share our gifts with the world if we are not, first and foremost taking care of ourselves. I’ve learned many important lessons from running and self-care is definitely one of them.

What important lesson regarding rest and self care have your learned?

No One Is Special: We Can All Reach Big Goals

Today’s blog post on reaching big goals can be summarized with the following words:

Let that sink in for a minute.

Too often, we compare ourselves with others who are more competent than us and we think that there is something special about them. Maybe they were born with more natural talent than us. Maybe they’re not dealing with the struggles of daily life that we do. Maybe they have the right connections and know the right people. Or maybe they are just plain lucky.

When we assume that more successful people than us, in any area of life, are somehow different than us, we lose all power to ever get to that level ourselves. We just plain give up. Why bother even trying since they have something that makes them thrive, something that we don’t and will never possess?

I say it’s time we stop believing that. We are all human beings and therefore, all the same. We were all born with the potential to be outstanding, to be champions. Those who achieve big goals show us that we are all capable of accomplishing great things if we want to. We can all be triumphant.

You don’t have the right circumstances? Change them. Yes, some of us may have to work a bit harder to get where we want to be, but that will only make our success taste even sweater. Focusing on the reasons why we think we don’t have what it takes is only an excuse not to take action. For every reason we may think we cannot attain our goals, I am confident we can find people with the same circumstances who did.

Firmly believing that we can achieve our goal is key. Acting as if we cannot and will not fail. Often, we don’t reach our goals because we let doubts poison our minds. We may even let others, who believe they have our best interest at heart, convince us to go for a smaller “more realistic” goal. I strongly believe that the only reason there aren’t more people who achieve big goals is that they don’t believe they can. Let’s dare to be different.

If you’re reading this and thinking “but…”, squish that thought. Remember: Anything is possible. If they can, we can. We all have the power to change our lives. If we want something, we need to go after it. Do what it takes. Find out what the people we admire did to get where they are and put in the work. None of them got there without struggles and hard work. We may not always see it because it happens behind the scenes, but it’s there. They once were exactly where we are, but they believed they could and they did. And they never gave up. Let’s find the courage and determination to do the same.

Who’s with me?