Becoming you

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I always had a hidden running/triathlon bucket list that I wouldn’t have dreamt sharing with anyone, because at the time it just seemed so out of touch. It wasn’t until 10 years ago that I finally allowed myself to start chipping away at my list. 

Most of my doubts and insecurities surrounding ticking things off my list were body image & self doubt based.  How do you make a start and not be concerned about others judgements?  And how do you continue on when those judgements from people that you were so terrified of actually occur? Because let’s face it, there are some real arseholes out there & I have encountered a few along the way..

What have I discovered so far?:

Firstly, I didn’t want to give any more of my years (and my children years) to somebody else. To not see what I was capable of because of some judgemental person who had no positive impact what so ever on my life.

I discovered that there really is nothing better than when you prove to yourself (yep, yourself -not anyone else) just how strong you are. When I crossed my first finish line, I didn’t look around to see if anyone was looking at me. Instead I just looked within and felt strong, accomplished. ‘That’ feeling – no-one was taking that away from me.

I learnt that I didn’t need to wait until others accepted me, I didn’t need others to think I looked like a triathlete or a runner. I just had to believe it myself and tell myself I could.  The more I did, the more I replaced that inner mean voice with a inner positive voice, the stronger my ambition grew.

I stopped waiting on someone else’s approval and stopped working towards someone else’s benchmark.  Instead I set my own personal goals. I reminded myself that we don’t all have to be the same.  I remember writing down, “You are allowed to set your own goals and standards. They can be different to other people’s, and thats OK”.

I couldn’t control the arseholes who ridiculed me when I was running nor could I stop the man giving me advice on my body shape in the pool that day, but I’ve learnt now that I could control the power I let it have over me.  I’d allow a quick vent and then move onto working on something positive, something that would make me stronger.

Why share my running pics? my blog? I know it’s not everyones cup of tea. Perhaps I get a few eye rolls.  But I’ve also decided that, that is ok.  It isn’t for them.  It’s for the others.  A long the way, a few people have shared their insecurities with me. They have taken the time to show me their way of doing things – and they gave the middle finger to all those ingrained stereotypes. They allowed me to see that the differences we have aren’t something that need to be shamefully hidden.  They allowed me to see my own worth. They inspired me to be the change that I  wanted to see.

So I still work hard at making sure that voice in my head is so fucking powerful that others judgements can’t even be heard.  I remind myself that If people don’t get or like what I  do, then I don’t have to care. I don’t have to take it on.

Is it easy? No, but nothing worthwhile usually is.  Do I struggle? All the time.  Do I continue? All the time.

Don’t ever let your fear of what somebody else might think get in the way of you being you. You are worth more than that.

@edsrunfree

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You know those moments when you need to remind yourself of the bigger picture?

Sometimes you get a dose of reality with bad news,

Sometimes you have a pity party over insignificant shit

Sometimes you are just having a bad day.

Sometimes you get bogged down with lots of the grass is greener scenarios & you just have to jot down what is important to you….

I choose kindness over haters

I choose taking on challenges over worrying what others may think

I choose being kind to myself over hating on myself

I choose running through finish lines over hating on my thighs

I choose smiling over worrying about my wrinkles

I choose Personal bests over comparisons

I choose diving into the ocean over sitting by the sidelines

I choose living each day over wishing back my youth

I choose challenging my body over punishing my body

I choose encouragers over Judgemental dicks

I choose Me.

@edsrunfree

Learning to save ‘Brave’ for the important things

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Standing by the oceans edge, the sun on my body, waves gently rolling in, kids splashing & at their best.  I was stuck inside my own head working up the courage.

Courage? What brave noble act was I about to partake in I hear you ask!?

I was merely working up the courage to strip down to my bathers and walk into the beautiful ocean.

I love swimming. I truely believe a dip in the ocean is good for the soul & always makes my EDS body feel invigorated.  But there has been so many times I have opted to “just watch” because I was too self conscious.

I use to think of that point of quickly ripping your clothes off to expose my body in bathers as the walk of shame.

Shame that my body took up too much space,

Shame that it bared my droopy Ehlers Danlos scarred skin,

Shame that it wasn’t “beach body ready”

So much shame that made me think that no one should or would want to bare witness to viewing it.

This is where the story use to stop with me. 

I just wouldn’t go in the ocean.

Thankfully, these days the story has changed at this point.

I wont lie.

I still have those thoughts, some days more than others.

What has changed for me?

Life experience perhaps

Life Priorities perhaps

An understanding and gratefulness for the freedom of health and movement

Accepting that there are still things I want to change about my body (mainly for functionality) & work on BUT I can still love it & USE it right now as it is.

An understanding to not give meaning to my body solely judged on its aesthetics.

Now I give those useless negative thoughts the middle finger.  I get frustrated with myself for wasting the act of bravery for something as simple and primal as swimming & make the plunge into the beautiful ocean water.

As I swam in the (icy cold) water (bloody Melbourne) I realised I had so many more worthwhile things to work towards & actually be brave about. Wearing a swim suit was not one of them.

I ain’t got time for this anymore.

On any day my option to breathe in the ocean water could be taken.

Fuck being “Brave” for just showing up & enjoying the simplicities in life.

We are so much more than this.

#EDSRUNFREE

We all struggle. Just keep going.

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I think sometimes the common misconception taken from my blog is that I find being positive about my body & motivating myself to exercise super easy.

No.

I Struggle.

And I guess I’ve learnt along the way that a  lot of people struggle with it. Sometimes people you wouldn’t even expect.  It really doesn’t discriminate & its not up to us to judge who we think can feel that way.

What I have learnt to do over the past few years is take the good with the bad days and understand it is ok to struggle… but it’s not ok to quit entirely on myself.  Its ok to love my body but still want to work on aspects of it & to feel frustrated by it at times.

I think it’s hard to understand or believe other  people have struggles when all we are seeing is snippets of their life via Instagram.  We see the finish line photos , picture perfect abs.  We don’t often bare witness to the struggle.   It makes it hard for us to see the real life within insta life.

My overactive, overanalysing brain these days is pretty helpful in talking me out and around those bad days – I guess thats why I like to share my blog- as I didn’t always have that handy skill.  I know how much seeing other people realness helps me push on.

The days when I’m in pain, the days when I wish for a “smaller more acceptable” body, are the days I have to remember everyone struggles. Some people face big struggles, others face smaller struggles. It’s all relative & it’s all life.

And I’m Lucky. Very Lucky.

We have to remember it all takes time. Our goals aren’t going to set and met within a week!  Life has swings and roundabouts. It has so many speed bumps and stop signs that sometimes it will feel like you are going around and around in circles – but that hard stuff is what will get you smashing your goals.   It’s like I explain to the parents of the children I’m teaching – the process  of what we are doing is what matters, it is also where the learning happens – not just the end product.

All that really matters is that you find what makes you happy, what makes you passionate, what makes you feel alive.  That you remember to put your well being, the happiness of your family/friends (the ones who support you) first,  instead of living your life wasted on near strangers opinions.

All the things I’ve hated about my self , all the things i’ve found so hard – my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, my body image struggles – are now what have taught me true life lessons.  They have taught me strength, acceptance, empathy & that despite the obstacles I’ve faced, I can and I will continue on despite them.

 

@edsrunfree

Our Mind can push us further than our body wants to go

62242542_879244019093307_546511047700250624_n“Our mind can push us further than our body wants to go”

I’ve pondered this before but at last weekends Fun Run, I was really able to put it to the test & come out a true believer.

When I enter a race, most of the time I have a set of goals that I delegate to that event. (over thinker much?) But I believe it helps me train, keeps me motivated, keeps me interested & pushes me further than if I just had the same set of motivations for each event.

Last Sundays event was no different.

The details were a 10km event around Albert Park Lake.  So a x2 loop event. Not my favourite by a long shot. I hate running knowing I still have to double back and do the same again. For those of you who have ran Albert Park you also know its flat. (as my chest). Which once again isn’t my favourite.  It was also a small event- approximately 300 people in my event.  Once again not my fave! The odds of falling in with the back of the pack superstars were higher & more likely to mess with my head.  But these were the facts & it was up to me to set my goals.

My goals/plan were:

  1. Eyes on my lane.
  2. Focus.
  3. Run my own race.
  4. Absolutely no walk breaks.
  5. Come in at Under 70mins.
  6. Focus on breathing when it gets tough.
  7. Regret nothing at the end.

Now I cant stress enough. These were MY goals.  I don’t generally talk times etc. & I believe it can contribute to negative comparisons by others. These were my individual goals & I encourage everyone to have their very own individual goals. Whatever they may be is OK!.

Now I’ve done many many events now ranging from Triathlons, stair climbs, 5km-21km run events and no matter what, I always feel the same way at the start line.  During that initial 20 minute wait at the line with all the other runners,  I always go through the same motions – ranging from “oh shit do I need to wee again?” to “I cant do this! I could be at home in bed” right back around to “woohoo, lets do this!” These sentiments whoosh around in my head until the horn goes and until I set my Garmin and we are off.

Now when I set my Garmin on, there must be some type of switch in my brain that also goes off at the same time. Its kind of an overdrive button where my inner voice grows loud & doesn’t shut the hell up.

During the first 3 Kilometres, the inner mean girl spoke out “look at all these people passing you, you are so slow! This is already hurting, no way you can do 10kms today without stopping”  As this dialogue ran through my head – I physically felt my shoulders sag and the follow on was my pace slow.

Your body really does hear and listen to what you tell it.

It was in that very moment that I piped up, went back to my goals ( In fact I think I was that weirdo talking to herself out loud ) & said “Not today Fuckah! Practice what you preach.”  I knew in that moment that I had to change my mind set or quite simply my body would give up.

I started with changing a few physicalities & went back to my goals. Eyes on my lane, focusing on straight ahead, not to be sides, not who was in front or behind me and I powered on. Running your own race is one I find hard to stick to on race day.  You are caught up with the event, nerves are high and you start to be more concerned about others pace than your own. I knew to beat my goal of 70 minutes and with no walk breaks I was going to have to rely heavily on sticking to my own race and not use up energy worrying about others.

At one stage I found myself so focused that I missed half a supportive conversation another runner was trying to have with me. ( I thanked them and explained my self at the finish line!)

When my lungs and legs were burning and I was wanting to give in to a walk break, I focused entirely on my breathing pattern and reminded myself that  I felt like a walk break back at 3km and had managed to make it a further 5km more without one.  My mission was to keep my mind strong and positive when my body was feeling differently!

My mantras consisted  of  “Shut it all out”, ” you are doing this”, “eyes on your lane” , “I will not stop”, & “run your own race”. I will admit that there were a few expletives thrown in there as well.

When I reached the 8km mark & knew there wasn’t much left in the tank , I reminded myself that now was not the time to give up. I had not come this far into reaching my goal to stop.  A couple of niggles in my body had become a bit louder and I knew that 100% focus and determination was going to be needed to meet my time goal.

Repeating my positive thoughts to myself to override the physical pain I was able to make it to that finish line with all goals ticked off.  Did it hurt? yes, but I was able to rely on my strong mind to keep going where as on another day I might have given in to the voice that said ” Stop”.

Sometimes I become lazy and forget that feeling of pushing myself 110%.  The rawness, the elation, the pain, the hard work, the pure satisfaction.

There is nothing like it.

So next time you see a woman running along having a heated conversation with herself , don’t think she is crazy, just know she is a woman on a mission!

@edsrunfree

 

 

 

 

What happens when you…stop competing with strangers on Instagram

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Have you ever been struggling in the last set of exercises & someone cheers you on, letting you know that they believe you can do it ?

What happens?  Some how you dig deep and get it done. You complete more than your brain and body were telling you was possible.

Have you ever made it to the final finish line chute of a running event, legs of lead, breathing heavy & exhausted, then you see crowds of random strangers cheering you on?

What happens? Some how you pick up a pace that you thought was left way behind in the 10km mark and finish strongly chasing down that line.

Have you ever seen someone out there exercising, they may even look like you, or they may not fit stereotypes out there giving it everything they have?

What happens? 
That inner voice inside you pipes up that maybe just maybe, you too can give it a go & achieve things that you didn’t think possible.

Have you ever stopped competing with strangers on Instagram?

What happens? You start to set your own personal realistic goals & start kicking butt. You focus on what is real & useful to your own personal growth.

Have you ever stopped caring about the negative people commenting on your life?

What happens? You soon realise that you don’t have to care! That you are the only one who needs convincing of your worth.

Have you ever cheered others on to help them feel strong and empowered?

What happens?  You realise how powerful & helpful your words can be & the joy in watching others experience those feelings of accomplishment.

Have you witnessed someone train and work towards a goal and that look of accomplishment & satisfaction on their face once they nailed it?

What happens? Not only do you  feel inspired by their actions, you join in their celebrations with a big fist pump.

Have you ever experienced a person in your life who always has your back?

What happens?  you realise that whatever obstacles you come up against, that you won’t be facing them on your own. You feel supported to reach your goals & most importantly to just have a go at your goals.

Have you ever been that person who always has someones back?

What happens? You help someone! Thats what meaningful relationships are made of. Thats where the good stuff happens.

Use your words to help someone feel strong, empowered and unstoppable.

Use your actions to help show people that anything is possible.

There are already way too many arseholes out there already.

Don’t be one.

Be the person who lets others know that you bloody believe they can do it.

 

#edsrunfree

I’m glad I show up as Me

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I’m glad I show up even when I might be the slowest

I’m glad I show up even when I might be the unfittest

I’m glad I show up even when I might be the biggest

I’m glad I show up even when Im scared

I’m glad I show up when my EDS gets in the way

I’m glad I show up when I know its going to hurt

I’m glad I show up when I know its going to be uncomfortable

I’m glad I show up for Me.

I’m glad I show up as Me.

Sometimes we take so long waiting for the perfect opportunity, for the perfect conditions that we end up missing the opportunity to learn & progress.

We waste our energy on trying to fit in, on trying to be like everyone around us. Authenticity & hard work comes hand in hand when you are strong enough to show up time and time again. For all those times I doubted myself,  I know I’m stronger for showing up.

We forget that just by the discipline of showing up, thats the feat in itself.

Your Body.

Your Rules.

Your Progress.

Your Business.

Your Story.

Head Held High.

@edsrunfree

You are the only one who needs convincing

57154448_843456299338746_4324805687935762432_n“When you believe in yourself , start lines become finish lines ” 

Finding myself once again on a start line last Sunday reminded me that no matter what your experience, that inner voice is always there & speaks the loudest.  It is a force not to be messed with and our most powerful tool.  Whilst our bodies physically get us to the finish line,  our minds can be the deciding factor on how much we are going to suffer.

The usual nervous chatter filled the start line – “I’m so not ready for this!”, “You are going to be so much faster than me!” “I feel sick!” “why aren’t we home in bed!’  It never ceases to amaze me that, such a ‘simple’ act of running can really test a persons spirit & teach you so much about yourself.  I have no doubt that a lot of people on that start line were doubting themselves that morning.

My inner voice is always on overdrive race morning.

Is it always positive? No.

Is it improving? Yes.

What do I think lets a lot of us down? Stops us from even getting to the start line let alone the finish line? –  The picture in our head of what we think it should be like, or WHO we should be like.

Your results. Your goals. Your race – they don’t have to be like everyone else.

Your race should be your race.

They don’t have to be ‘perfect’.

BUT it will be YOU.  Own you. Get to really know you.

I think sometimes we can be sidetracked or disheartened by ‘noise’ around us.  We can  be solely driven by outside influences, media or work out friends that we forget to see what’s important to us, what our own individual goals are.  Take time to listen to yourself & what really matters to you.

You are the only one who needs convincing that there is nothing you cannot do.

@edsrunfree

Today I was that Arsehole.

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I know I’ve been honest in sharing my encounters with negative arseholes while I’m out running but todays encounter was a little different.

Today the Arsehole in question was very familiar to me.

A good 7kms of my run was being told ‘You are going too fucking slow”.  The Arsehole was telling me to pull my top down and feel self conscious about my body anytime I passed someone.  The Arsehole even tried to encourage me to slow down and walk past people so they couldn’t see how I looked when running as obviously I didn’t look like a ‘Runner’.

As I continued on my run I realised that, that Arsehole was causing me to actually grimace, my shoulders to tense and my breathing to fuck up.

It’s been a while since I’ve encountered this particular Arsehole.  Luckily I feel I’m stronger now to take them on.

I was better than this.

A quick reality check and talking to for this overthinking Runner & here came my game plan;  my last 4 kms of running would involve –

-No looking at my watch

-Dig deep & run hard because nothing beats that feeling of strong.

-Total change of mind set – moving completely away from the focus of aesthetics to the gratitude of the simple act of movement.

-Smile like a mofo Psychopath.

-Only inner dialogue allowed is Positive & Kind.

-Remind myself What’s the alternative? If I waited till I looked like a ‘Runner’ or was faster i’d still be sitting on the couch.  Self hate couldn’t and wouldn’t be my motivation.

So what happened?

Was I faster? No, bloody idea I wasn’t looking at my watch.

Did I have to fake it? At first yes. After awhile No.

Was it more enjoyable? Hell Yes.

Was it easier? 100% Yes.

Did I feel better about myself? 100% Yes.

Stop putting energy into things that don’t fucking matter.

I  may not be able to control the shit I hear and see from others but I sure as hell can control what I tell and show myself.

Just as you are.

@Edsrunfree

Every single day I hear you speak badly about your body
(Every single day I hear you thank the miracle that is your body.)

Every single day I hear how you hate your thighs
(Every single day I see you run up those hills.)

Every single day I hear how you hate your stomach
(Every single day I see you sweat while you push through another round of sit-ups.)

Every single day I hear how you hate your wobbly arms
(Every single day I see your determination as you lift those weights.)

Every single day I hear how you hate your wrinkles that are starting to form around your eyes
(Every single day I love seeing your face, as it dissolves into heartfelt laughter.)

Every single day I hear how you hate.
(Every single day I want to see you trying to love yourself.)

Change your story.

@edsrunfree