JEN’S JOURNEY: MORE THAN JUST EXERCISE

April 8, 2015
lovin' the new kicks.

lovin’ the new kicks.

Last night, I laced up my new sneakers and went for my first run of the season.  Here’s a snippet of my inner monologue:

Oh wow. Amazing. These shoes feel so comfy; I can’t wait to tackle this run!

Ugh. Definitely not moving as well as I did the last time I ran. It’s ok. Keep on trucking. It’ll improve.

Ok I have a cramp. It’s probably time to take a br- what? It’s only been 3 minutes?  Gah…

The cramp is gone but I can feel my belly shaking. This is both motivating and extremely depressing.  Go away, flab! Go away!  I’ll bet my butt is jiggling too…

Oh I love running.  It’s been 12 minutes and I’m starting to settle in. I’m getting that good running feeling! I can still feel that cramp.  Shut up, head, enjoy this. Oh I love running!

…and on it went for 30 minutes until I was a sweaty, happy, smiling mess.

Although it may not seem like it from my inner monologue, running has been my mental health savior these past few years.  I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can  remember, and when I discovered running, I opened the door to a remedy that could never be found in a pill bottle.

As a kid and teenager I was a total running failure. I would be the one walking around the track as the others sprinted effortlessly.  I would hide behind the portables on track and field day.  I avoided team sports and gym.  I wasn’t built to be a runner: at 5’ tall and 25 lbs overweight, I was stocky, pear-shaped, and completely unsuited to the activity.

Fast-forward a few years. I’m about to turn 21, living on my own for the first time, in a sucky relationship, and have a new job as a Personal Trainer. I’m still overweight (although strong and generally healthy), and I’m feeling self-conscious about being unable to run in my current position as a health role-model.

I decided to train for a sprint triathlon.

While the odds were against me, I toiled and sweated and inner-monologued myself to the edge over three months of intense training.  I learned that running was a place to sort out my problems.  I learned about my body’s language, and began to appreciate how my body worked for me when I fed it running fuel and stretched after my runs.

I lost weight. The months leading up to that initial triathlon saw me drop 10 % body fat.  I no longer felt like a fat Personal Trainer. I felt like a good, healthy role model for my clients.

My first triathlon.  I did it!

My first triathlon. I did it!

Fast forward another few years.  Running has given rise to peace from anxiety attacks, quality time for self-reflection, and accomplishment from achievements.  I started with 5k and progressed to half marathons.  I got my Mum involved in running, too (she now puts me to shame and runs at least two full marathons a year).

I use running to both escape and connect.  When I had a miscarriage a few years ago, running helped me get through it.  Running has allowed me to evolve as a businesswoman and make better, more solid decisions for my team.

I will lace up my sneakers again tomorrow, and venture out again.  Eventually, I know that my inner monologue will quiet down and let me enjoy a peaceful silence in my mind.

Until then, I’m embracing the journey.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen