How to live an active and healthy life when life is happening

Yesterday I participated in Global Running Day through a Fleet Feet event in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My time was 30:26, which is a 9:46/mile, a personal best! I was shocked and extremely proud of myself. More on this in a bit, first I want to share a little of how I came to this amazing personal achievement.

I used to be an avid runner, a couple half marathons, multiple 10k’s, 5k’s and used running as the only form of exercise for many years. I love running, it makes me feel free, it reduces anxiety and stress, it quiets my busy mind. I also love that you can run anytime, anywhere, you don’t need special equipment or a gym membership. To me, it’s the easiest way to get in a workout. I love rocking out to loud upbeat music while I’m running and pushing myself as hard as possible.

However, life happens and sometimes you need to adjust what you do to make sure you stay healthy and on track. Just over a year ago, I injured both my feet pretty bad going up some slippery stairs at work. I had stitches, a broken toe and had to stay in bed for 2 weeks. I had just run the Tar Heel 10 miler a week before and was on top of my game. I was devasted.

I had to use some super powers that were buried deep inside me to stay positive and to trust the healing process. I ended up having to wear a boot shoe for 6 weeks to let my foot heal properly.

Fast forward 6 weeks – the podiatrist cleared me to run again, just stating “don’t go off and run 10 miles your first day.” I was super excited. My husband and I traveled to San Francisco the very next day for a friends wedding. I went running every day I was there. I ran through the city, I ran through the vineyards in Napa Valley, I ran up some big hills in the Sierra foothills, I was beyond happy.

I kept running on a regular basis for about a month, and then I noticed that my Achilles tendon was hurting and had a bulge. I went to an orthopedic doctor that specialized in sports injuries, he diagnosed me with Achilles tendinitis! What the heck?! Apparently, I went at it too hard too fast and because of the injury, my foot wasn’t ready for this type of exercise.

I couldn’t believe it, I blamed my job, I blamed myself for pushing myself too hard… the healing time for Achilles tendinitis is brutal, it can take 6-8 months before you can run again. I went to physical therapy, I iced, I took anti-inflammatories. I felt that it was not getting better after a couple months. Then, a friend introduced me to some workouts that I could do at home, called Beachbody on Demand, that help with balance and build strength without the heavy impact of running. I gave it a try and haven’t looked back. I stopped running completely and did these home workouts that included weights, cardio, yoga, pilates, and moves that help you with balance and coordination which really helped me build muscles that ultimately relieved my Achilles tendinitis.

Once the weather warmed up, I tried running a couple times and it felt great. I ran one mile, then 2 miles, then 3. However, I only ran a handful of times before yesterday’s race. The Beachbody workouts have kept in excellent cardiovascular shape and have greatly enhanced my endurance.

Long story short – I didn’t give up because I couldn’t run. I figured out another way to stay healthy. I have had to miss many weeks over the past 8 months because of sicknesses and a sprained ankle. But the consistency that I have kept with the workouts and living a healthy life has certainly paid off. I didn’t give up, I stayed on track. I didn’t let a major injury hold me down. If you would have told me a year ago, that I would be back running again today as if nothing happened, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s amazing what we can accomplish if you believe in yourself and don’t give up!!!

Yesterday, I didn’t sign up for the race to try and beat my personal best time, I signed up because I thought it would be fun to participate in a global event that supported being healthy while allowing me to get in my workout of the day.

Life is complicated, unpredictable, scary, and absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, it is easier to navigate “this thing called life” (thanks, Prince!) when we are healthy, have good cardiovascular strength, strong muscles, and a sound mind (I’m working on this!).

Thanks for all of your support and for reading my story! Now go exercise!

Artisan Angela