What a perfect time to come across this little prompt (and get a chance to win an amazing prize by one of my favorite IG’ers, @RunToTheFinish).
What “Wellness” Means To You… Loaded statement, first of all!
I’m going to start by honestly saying my meaning of wellness has been redefined in recent years. Originally, I recognized that health and fitness needed to be part of my life by being active in high school. I saved up for the initiation fee to my first gym membership and I’ve never looked back!
My world was shifted when I found out I was pregnant with my son in 2006…Suddenly my health and wellness wasn’t just mine anymore. And that didn’t stop after I had my son, because my health and wellness was still connected to him through breast feeding, mental health (babies can sense you… I mean they can really sense you!). I also wanted to raise him on quality nutrition with a healthy dose of active lifestyle so where I went, he went… What I ate, he ate… he has always been my little adventure buddy!
When I started long distance running, it was more to recover from a sad divorce, use exercise as medicine, and sort of prove my mental strength by physical strength. Except if you have ever ran a marathon, you will probably agree that it might be more mental strength that gets you to that finish line! I ran my first full marathon in 2008 and have racked up 13 total.
In an effort to stay outside of my comfort zone, I have dabbled in a multitude of events: a sprint triathlon here, a fitness/bikini competition there, trail running, tough mudder/warrior dash events, even powerlifting for a bit! I learned a lot along the way, found some strengths, found some weaknesses, and figured out how to rehabilitate a broken metabolism to let me eat more food. RIGHT?! MORE FOOD!
Obviously, wellness is more than just workouts. And without being redundant, my definition and meaning behind wellness took another dramatic turn in November, 2011 when a routine skydive (my 490th jump of my “career”) was almost my last. Brief video of our “event” here. That event, and chain of after-events, triggered post-trauma stress symptoms and responses that were unbelievably foreign to me… and again, I turned to wellness for my medicine… aaaaaaaand yoga.
At that point, wellness was in the form of workouts, therapy, healthy food and occasionally a solid glass of wine or a good beer! That’s when I took endurance to another level, committing to the Upper Midwest Endurance Challenge which is two full marathons and a 55k cross country ski race in 7 months. Again, proving that when I’m physically strong, I’m mentally more able to process things healthily.
Currently, wellness is me taking care of me to be better for my family. It’s no secret that I didn’t handle us moving 1200 miles away from my home, my family and my life to a place I didn’t know how to fit in very well. But the running community is funny in that you’ll always find a place, and you’ll always be welcomed. So a little bit more therapy, a lot of good food (and good company thanks to Emily’s almost weekly salad-jar-parties), and a strong community of moms and women who carve out time from life to work out together, or run together, and a strengthening and deep love and support from my husband has found a new kind of wellness for me.
At least, for now…