My shoes slurred and sucked into the mud as I grasped for tree branches. With each pulling step, I tried to tread lighter so I could stay on top of the sludge. Muck poured into my shoes, down into my socks, rubbing my skin like sandpaper. No matter how hard I tried, pulling, fighting, grasping, I struggled and sank.
Yeah, it’s kind of like that. This fight I’m in and as I know others are too. Others just like you reading this. You know, the one where you are battling health problems, doctors, insurances, only to get a glimpse of what your life was before and little to no answers. Marveling, mindset mastery and how to overcome the next negative thought, the next symptom, the next blood draw. Continuously telling yourself others have it worse, knowing God has his reasons, and changing course the best you can to make the most of it.
For those that have followed along with my adventures and journey, you are well aware that I have encountered health problems. Autoimmune diseases, heart surgery, hip surgery, thyroid and more, you have continued to support my efforts in overcoming these challenges. I am so GRATEFUL for you and KNOW some of you have it even way worse. Thank you for being a continued inspiration and thank you to those who may not be up against the devil right now, but recognize the importance of a strong support system.
Life turned about 3 years ago post thyroid surgery. It was a time I had everything all planned out. My business was excelling, I was going to get fixed up and be able to get pregnant again, and I would come back stronger than ever to conquer my running and fitness goals.
I was wrong. Dead wrong. Have any of you grasped for branches only to get sucked into the sludge?
Reminding myself that life happens FOR me not TO me, I continue to pick myself up and hurdle the next obstacle. It’s been over 2 years since I last raced. Mentally and physically a war. I have 4 cardiologists, 3 immunologists, 2 neurologists, 2 rheumatologists, internal medicine, and the list goes on…. in a few different states. Again, I remind myself that God has a plan. He is telling me something. What is he wanting me to learn from this? Should I slow down, not race as much or at all, should I change my career, be more grateful for the one, beautiful little girl I have and absolutely focus on what I DO have, not on what I don’t have??? How can all this suffering be good? And WHY so much suffering? And then again, I remind myself, some of you reading this have had it even worse than I have. Joy in the journey, not just the destination.
You breathe strength in me, to take it one day at a time. To create my new list of goals within the realistic boundaries of my health. To pivot, to make changes, to continue to BELIEVE that I exist to inspire but to observe that it doesn’t mean only in one way.
With that said, I am amazed at how God is testing me to be even better. To get unstuck from the muck. And in order to do that, I must step out of my comfort zone, the one I had planned out with more babies and races… health. To dig deep, to find the WHY, to align my goals with his, so I can indeed, make the biggest impact, live the fullest life, not just for me, but for others too. YOU EMPOWER ME. You all give me strength to RISE UP. To use my gifts and talents in multiple ways.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
How often we witness failure and not notice the benefits of it. Our minds are wired, created, and overtaken by negativity. It’s time we rewire them. We can change our words and our actions so our mind literally creates new neurons. Did you know that? When we learn something new, we create new connections between our neurons. We rewire our brains to adapt to new circumstances. This happens on a daily basis, but it's also something that we can encourage and stimulate. Changing our words from “ This will never work,” to "There's a chance this won't work out, but there's also a chance I might succeed. All I can do is my best." And ENVISION the positive ways it could work!
My word of the year is Perseverance- persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
So as I continue my battle, as you continue yours (and whatever that may look like, health problems, addiction, courage to step out of your comfort zone, turbulence..) I encourage you to make a change this year. To note that you cannot have both comfort and courage. You must at least take one step out of your refuge. And yes, a baby step counts. Yes it will be scary. Yes the result will be unknown. But what I do know is that you plus me equals a stronger support system than on our own. We can build a strong foundation together so we don’t get washed out in the mud. Our arms will be linked and although muddy times will occur, we will be able to get through them together. Not perfectly, any progress is progression.
So now, 2 years later, I have not run a race, but I did through inspiration of others (especially Giovana P), overthrow my fear of running Mt. Falcon again. Although it was slow, imperfect, and hard, it was still a win. Here is to YOU and us letting our lights shine in 2022! -Michele Yates
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If you are interested in being a part of the Rugged Running community and/or meeting Michele in person check out our group events for the next few months: