I just endured seven of the longest days I’ve experienced in a year

Today was my first run in a week. And it was only 2.5k. For some this is an accomplishment, but for me, this is a hard pill to swallow. My run club is full of elite runners who challenge me to improve, but even their standards can’t compete with the one I set for myself.

I have been having issues with my right leg the last few weeks and then I came down the cold to beat all colds, so today’s run was a tough workout. So, it was a week…that’s only seven days, right? Seven days where I felt myself starting to get dizzy and fade away. It happened so quickly this time, it took me by surprise. That sounds dramatic, I know, and I’m prone to waxing poetic but today reinforced that running has become the glue that keeps my life together. Running for me is about more than exercise. It’s about survival.

I’ve battled anxiety and have fought off depression several times in my life and running has become a key part of my treatment plan. I realized that this past week is the longest I’ve gone without running in almost an entire year. And it’s been one hell of a year to say the least, (moving across the country, leaving my marriage, establishing a new normal…creating a new life.)

When my running is on track, I feel confident and strong and capable. When my running started to slip, I felt like the rest of me was melting away like something in a Dali painting. I’ve noticed my hydration goals waiver and my commitment to balanced nutrition faded into the background. I felt foggy and lost and so unlike the best version of myself. I was her only a month ago! Where the hell did she disappear to so quickly?

This is what depression and anxiety to do my life. They sneak up on me and chip away at all of the progress I’ve made. First, my confidence as a runner is shaken, then my worth as a mother and entrepreneur and friend. I find myself questioning my decisions but lacking the energy to get back on track. I know better, I really do but it’s like that logical part of my reasoning is locked in a cage and left to scream in solitude.

I know I am not alone. My work as a Worth Living Run Ambassador has taught me there is strength in sharing your story openly. When someone else takes a moment from their struggle to encourage me through mine, I’m reminded that I’ve got an army of cheerleaders behind me.  My work as podcast co-host has allowed me to connect with people who have overcome obstacles and to learn from their experiences. I know I am not alone but this challenge is all mine.

I had a Twitter friend sternly tell me to get out for a run today and I needed to take the first step. I need to recommit to drinking my water and eating my vegetables and moving my ass. I’ll recommit as many times as necessary because there’s too much inside me that needs to get out into the world for me to back down from a tough time.

I know not everyone understands why I run and some of you may even think the fact that I need it is unhealthy. I need running like I need my medication. I’ve been through this cycle enough to know what works and what doesn’t and I’m embarrassed that I slipped, but I’m putting myself out here for everyone to see so I can step out from under the shadow of shame that my mind sometimes casts.

I’m not sure why this half-marathon training journey is off to such a shaky start when my experience last time felt almost effortless. I don’t know why my body and mind are at odds with each other, but I’m going to keep moving forward. I will cross that finish line in June come hell or high water. I will do the work like my life depends on it, because it kinda does.

The Most Infuential Influencers Who’ve Ever Influenced

Well…sorta.

We’ve all seen the lists of top influencers and we know they’re all pretty subjective and this one if no different. I’ve chosen the folks on this list because of the impact I think they have on the world (my world, especially) and because I believe they’ll have an influence on yours too!

 

Melissa Kahn (www.runheiferrun.com) Melissa Kahn (1)

I have yet to meet this lady face-to-face but she’s become one of the most influential people in my life over the last 10 months. She has created a worldwide community of supportive people who encourage each other through running and life, and I’m so blessed to be co-hosting the Run For Your Life podcast with her. She’s the one I message when anxiety sets in or I’m celebrating a win and it’s amazing how connected you can become to someone through Twitter. She’s an inspiration because of her past but also because she lovingly supports those around her to reach for new heights and her sense of humour is second to none!

 

Lindsay Umlah (Loving Myself Loudly) Lindsay Umlah (1)

If you are not following this fabulous womyn on Instagram yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Sometimes we need permission from the outside world to love ourselves and this is what Lindsay is all about! She recently launched a podcast called The Momgasm Podcast which addresses sexuality after motherhood, but don’t you agree we could all use a LOT more self-love (in whatever form that takes?)

 

Emma Burgess (www.emmainflow.com) Emma Burgess

I’m not even sure exactly how I started following Emma on Facebook but her daily live videos caught my attention. Her focus is on helping women love themselves and if that ends up in her clients finding fulfilling relationships, then bonus! Every time I hear her speak I find myself having A-HA moments and even those of you already in amazing relationships with amazing men deserve to check her out and build an amazing relationship with yourself.

 

Mia Lockhart (www.girlsonboards.co)ShannonMia

Although Mia and I live in the same area, we hadn’t met until recently. She is the founder of Girls on Boards, which provides teenage girls with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and confidence through stand up paddle boarding and snowboarding excursions. I was privileged enough to work with her in producing a recent women’s snowboarding event and I witnessed first-hand the magic that happens when women build each other up. Mia fosters a safe environment for girls and women to try new things and develop a new awareness of what our bodies are beautifully capable of achieving. She’s also a yoga teacher and amazing massage therapist (my running body is grateful for her expertise!)

Jill Payne (www.jillpayne.ca)21745132_10103625072922181_944065778_o

Are you a dime? Not even sure what that means? You definitely need to check out Jill on social media and get a dose of her philosophy on living life at a 10. I attended on her energy management workshops as a birthday gift to myself two years ago and I haven’t been the same. I’m a strong believer in the fact that we all have a choice in how we show up in our lives and working with Jill has taught me that the ability to change the direction of my day is always one choice away. I get asked how I’m handling my divorce so well, and it’s without doubt because I choose to handle it so well. Jill has shown me that all I need is within me and you deserve to take one of her programs!

Mel Robbins (www.melrobbins.com)

I have yet to meet this fierce woman in person but she has replied to two of my tweets so close enough, right? It was actually Jill Payne who introduced me to the 5 Second Rule and I now have a 5-4-3-2-1 sign next to my bed as reminder to just do. Her books and online course have renewed my confidence in myself to make decisions and to be able to face any challenge sent my way. Being an entrepreneur and a soon-to-be divorced mom of two, those challenges are plentiful and often fraught with anxiety. As a lifelong anxious person (more anxious than average) the strategies Mel discusses have helped me take on public speaking, pursuing a divorce, and starting a podcast.

Dr. Jen Gunter (@DrJenGunter on Twitter)

I have never trusted Gwyneth Paltrow to be an authority on health so when I came across Dr. Gunter’s “attack” on GOOP, I was enthusiastically on board as a follower. Dr. Gunter is a gynecologist who disputes trends (vaginal steaming and inserting jade eggs into your vagina)  and she is vocal and opinionated and empowering AF! She’s made posts detailing how much vaginal discharge is normal and describing what a “normal” vagina should smell like. TMI? I don’t care because there are so many girls and women who have no idea just how normal they are because of the foolishness we’ve been spoon-fed all of our lives. Go check her out and you might learn something new about yourself.

Kathy Johnston-Isenor (www.fitnessjunkiesns.com) presentation12

The impact this amazing woman has on people reaches far beyond the walls of the facility where she holds her bootcamp classes. I met her four years ago at a boxing based bootcamp class as her energy radiated across the room and climbed into my very soul. That sounds poetically profound but once you interact with her, you’ll never be the same. I’ve seen her motivate men and women and children to reach new heights and I’ve borrowed strength from her more times that I can count. Kathy encourages us all to find our power and celebrate that strength and each International Women’s Day, I have the privilege of helping her host an event that calls on each of us to acknowledge our abilities and to own them with grace.

Eleanor Beaton (www.eleanorbeaton.com)eleanorshannon

I’ve known this fierce female since I was 15 but she reappeared in my life about 5 years ago as my business coach and helped me change my focus and start moving my business and my life in a new direction. She works to help female entrepreneurs and business leaders to take their place at the top where we belong. She showed up at one of my fitness events and showed she’s not only a force in the boardroom but on the trails as well! I am motivated to follow her example everyday and you owe it to yourself to tune in to what she’s saying in her podcast and workshops.

 

It was difficult trying to narrow down the inspiring women I follow, otherwise this post would go on for days!

I invite you to celebrate the amazing women in your life this International Women’s Day. Acknowledge them publicly and share the love for our hardworking sisters and mothers and daughters.