I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
I’m so stinkin’ blessed to have the
clients athletes that I do. They are simply amazing and inspiring.
So let me introduce you to Michelle.
Michelle is going to be taking up my #motivationmonday for a little bit. Michelle is a triathlete, daily inspiration, and a mathematics professor, among many other things. I’ve watched her grow in confidence and I’ve watched her journey to health – both inspire me daily. I’ve watched her be an amazing friend and cheerleader to those around her; I’ve witnessed her cheerleader skills. I’ve watched her get up early and spend the ENITRE day working out. I’ve biked in her basement. I’ve swam in her lane. But what inspires me most is that Michelle doesn’t quit. I think she would quite literally crawl across a finish line or carry her bike the last few miles if she had to. She’s that kind of person. She’s humble. She’s generous. She volunteers. And she’s got a great story. So… over the next few weeks, I’m going to let her tell you her story, as only she can do.
I’m depressed, I know the feeling of being drowned in an abyss of bad thoughts. I recognize it but I will not accept it, I will not go quietly without a fight. For years depression shaped my life, every aspect of it, I measured my self-worth based on the quiet voice inside my head that told me over and over again I was not good enough. Time and time again I walked the fine line of living and dying, there were days upon days where my life was a fog of self-loathing, days upon days where I questioned whether or not I should just end it all. Finally one day I had enough, I sought help, both through therapy and through medication. Eventually I found a life outside the prison of my own mind, the part of me that whispered quietly that I could not or should not succeed in life faded, I weened off medication and started to embrace the life I had to live. Don’t get me wrong, it is still there, but I have found a way to be a warrior against my own depression, I have found a new voice. My voice is still quiet, but instead of the constant bombardment of self loathing, my voice is of courage. To quote Mary Anne Radmacher “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” This is how I choose to battle my depression, by trying again and again to be the best of who I am.
I have my new voice because one day, 7 years ago, I quit smoking. Something happened that day, something very special, I started running. Oh I was not fast, I was not furious, I was not a gazelle. My first day I made it 30 seconds, yep 30, the longest 30 seconds of my life. I got up the next day, and I tried again. 30 seconds turned into 1 minute, which turned into 10 minutes and eventually into 30 minutes. You may be picturing this progression as a lady out there in cute Nike running shorts and a sports top whipping down a trail, but no, I was still not a gazelle. I loped along at my own pace and to be honest I would only run on the bike trail near my house early in the morning so no one could witness the event. But still, I tried. Within two months of starting to run (and at this point I could still not run a mile), I decided to sign up for a half marathon, I had six months to train and the support of my husband, my biggest cheerleader and source of so much inspiration. I trained, I ran, I cried, I hated some days, I got up and I tried again the next day. I ran my long runs, and eventually I ran my half marathon. I cried at mile 12 because never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be doing what I had just done. I cried because I was happy, I cried because I was tired, I cried because I was alive. I became confident that day I ran 13.1 miles. I began to love myself and what I was becoming.
Fast forward 5 years and 25+ half marathons and one full marathon later, I still had the bad voice in my head but I kept it at bay with running. Another event then changed my life, I signed up for a triathlon, I had watched (in awe) several friends complete Ironman Coeur D’Alene, and they inspired me to tri. For those of you wondering an Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. You have 17 hours to complete the entire thing. This was NOT the triathlon I signed up for, I did a sprint tri, 750 meter swim, 14 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. Me, swim, bike, run, Me?? Oh boy what had I done, I had not swum in years and did not even own a bike of any sort. I did what I had trained myself to do, to get up and try. I borrowed an old steel bike, and jumped into the local Y pool. I was humbled immediately, I hadn’t been on a bike in 20 years, and had never swum laps in a pool. I kept on trying though, I spent hours choking down water, learning correct swimming form so my feet didn’t drag, I learned to overcome my fear that others were laughing at this poor girl in the pool. I learned that this was my journey and other people were not looking or laughing, they were busy with their own journey. I started to learn to no judge myself against others, for I was on page 1 of my journey and they may be on page 200.
To be continued….
Take away point… TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE. Get the help you need and start moving. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be fast. But your journey to health starts now. Don’t look back.