At the beginning of the year, I wrote about my focus on becoming stronger in 2018. Little did I know that:
- Both of my cats would be diagnosed with cancer and cross the rainbow bridge.
- Stress and anxiety would cause heartburn which can mimic heart attack signs.
- The flu would attack the day of my FAVORITE race of the year.
- Other professional and personal disappointments would creep up quickly and pile on.
Here I am. Still standing. A little raw at times. A little murder-y at others. Other days I feel great. I’ve identified ways to offset some of the bad with the good. I opened my heart and home to two new cats. I feel like they’ve been with me forever. I made some changes to my diet and fitness routine to combat some of the heartburn effects.
Through all of this, it’s been my consistent work on my physical strength that has been the greatest influencer on my life. When I looked back at the original post I wrote on this topic, I was right about the physical part of this strength journey being the easiest. But, what I didn’t realize is that, for me, physical strength goes hand-in-hand with emotional and mental strength.
I’m sure you’ve seen the phrases “running changes everything” and “running is cheaper than therapy.” For me, it has really made a difference in my life. Not only am I getting the amazing endorphins that help counteract those bad days, I’ve made an entire group of friends who push me to new heights and are there to support me on my bad days. Anyone who is a distance runner knows that it’s not just a physical sport; it’s a mental challenge. Your brain will give up on you WAY before your legs will. But you learn how to ignore it and tell it to shut up. This skill is something I’ve applied to those days where I don’t think I’m good enough or ask myself the proverbial what-if questions. On other days, you just need a good, hard speed workout where you push until you nearly break and run away all of the bad things that happened during the day.
As part of getting faster and stronger, I’ve started to cross-train more. I joined a Bar Method studio and the workouts intimidate the heck out of me. They’re new. They’re hard. They’re frustrating because they’re new and hard. But they’ve taught me to keep being mentally tough. I go in and I try and I work toward improvement. And my small improvements in the studio help remind me that I can make other small improvements in other areas, even if it doesn’t seem possible.
I’ll be honest. I still don’t have a solid roadmap for this goal. I’ve had a few drafts that have gone in the trash. That’s OK. I’m still making progress without one.