Whenever I’m feeling lost or in need of a little inspiration, I turn to the writings of the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron. Today, I stumbled upon the following quote: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” That resonated so strongly with me because I vacillate between wanting to live in the security of my comfort zone and being enticed by the excitement of “being thrown out of the nest”.
I’m somewhat of a reductionist, so I believe that one thing, and one thing only, lies at the heart of all my problems or frictions in life, be they work related, relationship based, or even personal self worth—that underlying current of disorder is always fear. Whereas fear serves a vital role in the animal kingdom as an agent of self preservation, in human life, fear is often the undercurrent that manifests in inaction and painful personal stagnation.
The old adage “knowledge is power” rings so true because typically the more we know about something, or someone, the less afraid we are. My brain tends to fill in the unknown pieces with scary irrationalities that are always worse than the reality. Ironically, it’s fear that keeps me from acquiring knowledge about the “unknown”, and thereby a vicious fear cycle is created.
I was listening to an interesting podcast by the motivational speaker Brendon Burchard on strategies to overcome fear. Bouchard identifies 3 universal fears that govern our behaviour and ultimately lead to us living a smaller life.
The first fear is labeled “loss pain”, and it involves all the anxiety and irrationalities that come to us when we obsess over what we potentially could lose. In my life, I see this at work when it comes to issues around addiction. When I stopped drinking and drugging almost 17 years ago, I was only focusing on what I was giving up—what I was losing. Imagining a life where I could no longer numb my insecurities and anxieties with drugs and alcohol seemed impossible. To this day, I still wrestle with my addiction demons, and whenever I think about what I “can’t do”, instead of what I “can do”, I’m ripe for a relapse. This loss pain can also worm its way into our relationships as well. Often I’m reluctant to be forthcoming and honest with people close to me because I fear that if I honestly express how I’m feeling, I might lose the relationship. This is simply another instance where loss pain corrupts my thinking by making me focus on the potential downside rather than on all the potential growth that action entails.
The second fear identified by Burchard is called “process pain”. This is the point at which I get stuck quite often because all the fear associated with the learning curve when doing something new can be enough to make me second guess myself. It’s at this precipice, I need to remind myself that “what’s not growing, is dying.” The only way to overcome this second level of fear is to embrace the vibrancy of “uncertainty” and to thrive in the the buzz of challenging myself. As an ultra-marathoner, I need to tap into this synergy all the time because my brain is telling me that what I’m doing is unnatural, but when I learn to bypass that fear response, personal growth lies just on the horizon. My mantra is: “My abilities outweigh my doubts.”
The final level of fear described by Burchard is “outcome pain”. We’ve all been at this critical juncture where we wallow in self-doubt when we ask ourselves, “What if the payoff is not worth all the effort?” My mind is really adept at projecting all the potential negatives or risks of my actions, but when it comes to envisioning the potential gains, I typically fall short. This is the time I need a final push of determination. I remind myself that the status quo is no longer an option because it’s my dissatisfaction with the current state that prompted me to seek change in the first place. The entire impetus behind my Breathe Through This blog is my desire to smash through my status quo!
I’d like to leave you with the words of the French philosopher, Simone Weil: “We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say, “I am suffering,” than to say, “This landscape is ugly.”
There are times in life when holding on demonstrates our internal fortitude and immense strength, but there are other occasions when refusing to let go epitomizes weakness and fear. I’ve been struggling with this fine balance for most of my adult life. In the words of Deepak Chopra, “In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.” I think his Holiness the Dalai Lama articulated this contradiction best when he said: “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.”
I don’t seem to have too much difficulty letting go of things, but when it comes to people, it’s another issue entirely. What I’m trying to navigate better now is recognizing when it’s prudent to let go of people in my life rather than simply running away from them like I’ve done on so many occasions. I’m working on cultivating a sense of trust in my decisions so that I don’t equate walking away from someone as cutting the ripcord and free-falling to earth.
The older I get, the more I believe I only have room to successfully nourish a finite number of relationships at any give time. Maintaining healthy relationships takes a lot of effort, and I’d like to point out that I’m not complaining about that—Making authentic connections with people has become the driving force behind everything I do now. Even though I’ve been married for over 26 years, it’s only been in the past 5 months that I’ve started to view my relationship with my wife as relationship that needs to be nurtured daily. I’ve been guilty of taking the most important relationship in my life for granted, as I’ve mistakenly learned to let complacency and past resiliency govern what I cherish most.
When it comes to letting go of relationships, certain themes always rise to the surface. Does it have to be all or nothing? Can we relegate a primary relationship to a less significant connection? Am I able to disengage from an unhealthy relationship, or do I allow guilt and public opinion determine who I permit to stay in my life? So, how do you determine whether or not it’s time to let someone go? Here is a list of 5 things I keep in mind before making that decision.
1. Is the person a balloon or a ballast?
Last spring when I disclosed to people close to me that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, for the first in my life, I was able to make an honest survey of people in my life, and I determined that at this pivotal time when I’m most fragile, I want to surround myself with people who lift me up emotionally and spiritually. I don’t have time for toxic relationships from naysayers who constantly tap my energy and self-worth. One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was to decide to end my relationship with my mother. Even if I can get past the issues of physical abuse as a child, and the fact that she walked out on me when I was nine, I could no longer accept that every time I was with her I felt inadequate and unsupported. Sometimes walking away is the strongest thing you can do.
2. Relationships should be a zero sum game.
Every solid relationship is built on a bedrock of reciprocal love and support. Life is too short to be held back by people who seem to have an insatiable ability to drain my energy and time, and never offer support in return. I know this is a delicate subject because at times, we will all take more than we give, but I believe there needs to be a cumulative balance. Even when I spend a lot of time working with someone struggling in the early days and months of sobriety, the time I invest is richly repaid in feelings of industry, self-worth, and empathy that I receive.
3. Ask yourself who’s in the driver’s seat?
We all can benefit from constructive criticism, but hurtful communication be it bullying, pessimism, or malicious gossip can derail even the most resilient of us. I’m beginning to trust my intuition more and not let someone else's guilt, insecurity, or fears disempower my dreams—my vision.
4. Don’t not do the thing you can’t not do!
Lifelines are good, but they can easily become a noose that tethers my growth. In the words of Christopher Columbus, “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” We all have a passion inside of us that once it begins to grow, it can’t be silenced without losing a piece of our soul. Some of us are fortunate to find that inner calling early in life, while others struggle a lifetime trying to coax it to the surface. I believe there is nothing more attractive, more inspiring, than witnessing an individual pursuing his/her passion. As a spouse, a parent, or a friend, I have a duty to cultivate that nascent passion in others.
5. Nothing good ever came from people pleasing.
If you’re a people pleaser, you yearn for outside validation, and if you’re like me, saying “yes” to everyone and everything is almost like an addiction that fuels your sense of self-worth. The painful truth is that when I pathologically say “yes”, nine times out of ten, I find myself trying to weasel out of something I’ve committed to. This has been such a painful psychotic dance that’s played out many times over the years, so the strategy I’m starting to rely on as an antidote to this public embarrassment is to not give an immediate answer to other people’s requests. Stepping back from the situation and analyzing whether or not I honestly am capable of fulfilling this commitment, allows me the “space” to respond authentically.
I’d love to hear from you about how you’ve dealt with letting go, and whether or not you feel that some relationships naturally run their course, and even whether you would include relationships with family in that group.
When I sat down to write my first blog post six months ago, I set only two parameters for myself—I would chronicle my one-year journey of transformation, and I would be brutally honest with how I was actually feeling. What became quickly apparent was that my emotional well-being was not destined for a steady upward trajectory, but rather, I was strapped into an emotional roller coaster that at times felt unbearable. Any type of radical change leaves one prone to setbacks, and our ability to put those setbacks into perspective is what ultimately determines whether we have the fortitude to push through pivotal periods of transformation.
One of the bitter ironies, in my first 6 months, has been the appearance of immense challenge at the exact moment when I feel ripe for entering the next level of self-realization. I’m currently reading Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and she eloquently describes the universe’s ability to hit us with a stiff jolt of reality when we are on this precipice of transformation. “The precision with which the devil or evil or darkness (whatever you want to call it) worms into our own lives is breathtaking. It’s like a tailor-made radioactive isotope calling into question our identity as children of God. And nowhere are we more prone to encroaching darkness than when we are stepping into the light: sudden discouragement in the midst of healthy decisions, a toxic thought or a particular temptation.”
As a competitive runner, I’m used to dealing with setbacks all the time be it a freak injury, weather sabotaging a race, or even an unfortunate complication due to a nutritional issue. Where I brush up most against setbacks is in my recovery program for drug/alcohol addiction. I have an ongoing fear of relapse, and many others in my position might call that a healthy fear. Nevertheless, at times, it doesn’t take much for my sobriety to become precarious. Even almost 17 years clean and sober, I still fight with those inner demons that tell me whenever life gets too heavy, numbing those feelings of anxiety and depression with a drink or drink might be the answer. I was talking with a fellow recovering addict just yesterday, and I told her that every day I think about drinking, and the only thing that keeps me sober is when I ask myself: “Will drinking make this better?” —The answer has always been “no”. I know I’ll be in serious trouble the day that the answer to this question is “yes”.
So, if I can’t avoid being sideswiped by setbacks, how can I learn to cope with them realistically and rationally?
1. Triage your problem.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who gets overwhelmed by the immensity of the complications in life. Sometimes it simply feels as though everything is broken, and I have no idea where to direct my energy to make things better. I have the most success in overcoming my setbacks when I step back from the chaos and honestly determine what the primary issue is that needs my attention immediately. Often, it’s as simple as getting more sleep or eating better—both of which put me in better stead to deal with greater problems. Robert W. Service said it best: “It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe.”
2. Live your life like you play the stock market.
Whenever I feel a regression in my life or even a painful stagnation, my natural tendency is to beat myself up for not being further ahead in my life. It’s like that old adage, that if you hear 200 compliments and only one criticism, you tend to zero in on the critical comment. I need to continually remind myself that I should look on my life as an investment in the stock market. Little ups and downs are inevitable, and the real goal is to have an overall trend of growth.
3. Cut the blame game.
The easiest thing to do when something goes pear-shaped is to immediately look around to cast blame. What’s worse is when that blame becomes internalized and I fall prey to the voices in my head that tell me I’m not “good enough”. Unfortunately, blame leads to only one place--shame. Nothing good has ever come from a position of shame. This has been a hard lesson for me to remember, so it’s something I struggle with daily.
4. Find a positive in a negative.
There’s an African proverb that says: “It’s the valleys that make us appreciate the mountain peaks.” Some of the greatest strides I’ve made have come on the heels of a setback, obstacle, or even a devastating loss. Reframing failure or a setback as an opportunity for growth makes me more appreciative of the successes and peaks on my journey.
5. Redirect and connect.
By far and away the most important step to overcoming a setback is to reach out to someone else. 16 years in a 12-step program has taught me that sharing a problem lessens the burden of carrying that problem. I don’t necessarily find a solution in communion with others, but I do find a reprieve from my isolation. It’s in this space of connection, that personal challenge may ultimately be a bridge to transformation.
With the tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman this past week, I was reminded of one of my favourite lines his character delivered in the movie Almost Famous. “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.”
As a recovering addict myself, I get blindsided by a humble reality check when I see someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears to have the world at his feet, toss it all away because of the insatiable ravishings of his addiction. I’ve been clean and sober now for almost 17 years, and there is no doubt that my life today is infinitely better than the day I walked into my first 12-step meeting all those years ago. Although I haven’t picked up a drink or a drug in that time, not a day goes by without me thinking about going back out there because my addict mind always tells me: “It will be different this time.”
There have been many things and countless people who have helped me stay sober for all these 24-hour periods, but if I had to identify the most important support in my recovery, I would have to say it’s opening up and sharing with someone else honestly about what I’m feeling. This is why I think Philip Seymour Hoffman’s lines from Almost Famous are so poignant.
I spent most of my life walking around with an illusionary veneer of impenetrability that kept people from getting too close to me, for fear that if you really knew what I was thinking and feeling, you wouldn't want to have anything to do with me. The painful irony is that I desperately wanted to make connections with people, but all the while I was quietly sabotaging that from happening.
In AA, we have an acronym for FEAR--False Evidence Appearing Real. If I dig deeply enough, behind every one of my troubled relationships or anxieties, fear is hiding in the wings and governing my thoughts and actions. The writer Eckhart Tolle calls fear, “the voice in the head. It isn’t who you really are, but the you that you think you are.” Whenever I cloak myself in self-delusion and isolation, fear tends to rise to the surface because instead of recognizing who I really am, I start paying attention to that mindless chatter in my head telling me who I “think I am”.
So, unless I want to find myself succumbing to my addiction, I need to get comfortable with the idea of “sharing with someone else when [I’m] uncool.” I’m not going to lie to you—It never feels “easy” opening up to someone else and letting my “uncool” out into the world. If I start to feel emotionally bankrupt, it typically comes on after I have been isolating myself from others. I begin to feel uncomfortable in my skin, and that voice in the back of my head whispers, “You’re not good enough.” The only antidote to this self-destructive malaise is sitting down and talking to another addict in recovery, and lately, another survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Something magical occurs when we peel back some of that veneer and open our soul to someone else. It’s as if through this connection, a mirror is placed before us, and we get to see what we “really are” rather than what we “tell ourselves we are”.
I do believe that everything happens for a reason, so I need to make some sense out of the loss of such a shining light as Philip Seymour Hoffman. I’ll take it as a personal reality check to shed a little more of my protective veneer and an opportunity to reach out to someone else who desperately seeks a connection.
With Valentines Day almost at hand, I find myself coming back to one idea--Love is not for the faint at heart. It can be frustrating, baffling, and unrequited, but when all the stars align and everything slips into place, it can be the most intoxicating drug there is.
I’ve been married for 26 years now, and to me, the phrase “I love you” often rings hollow because it never feels all-encompassing enough. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that the man my wife married almost three decades ago, is not the same man she lives with today. Whenever I’m asked how we’ve managed to stay together for so long, I inevitably say that the secret to any healthy relationship is the ability to trust in your partner, and allow him/her the space to grow, to change, and sometimes, to make mistakes.
The ancient Greeks were much more sophisticated when it came to their vocabulary for “love”—in fact, they identified six varieties of love. “Eros” referred to sexual passion, and this is where I believe many people who struggle with longevity in their relationships get stuck. This sexual passion will naturally wax and wane in any relationship, but the beautiful part is that the longer I am married to my wife, the more surprised I am by the intensity of this passion. “Philia”, or deep friendship, is the type of love that I find most fulfilling in our marriage. Whenever something incredible or devastating happens to me, the first person I want to share it with is my wife. I can’t imagine not being married to my best friend. “Ludus” is the playful love that encompasses all the teasing, flirting, and giggling that take place in a relationship. Whenever this type of love is at play in my interactions with my wife, I know that all our defences are down and we are both fully present in the moment—it’s magical.
“Agape”, is the word the Greeks used to describe the selfless love we extend to other people. In our egocentric modern world, this form of love often takes a back seat, but when it flows freely, a synergy of happiness is bound to ensue. “Philautia”, or self-love, can be a little tricky. There is a fine line between being self-obsessed and being self-aware. As a recovering addict, I learned very quickly that I needed to prioritize self-care before I could actively participate in a healthy relationship with my partner. This brings me back to the concept of “space” in a relationship. Allowing your partner space to regroup and nourish his/her soul, creates the possibility of a continual revitalization of your relationship. When I was working through the repercussions of some traumatic events from my childhood, my wife provided a safe place for me to come at these issues without feeling “smothered with love”. I've heard her say, “sometimes the best thing you can do for someone you love is to do nothing.”
The most mature love is “pragma”. Noted psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that as a society, we expend too much wasted energy on "falling in love”, when what we really need to learn is how to "stand in love.” This is what I’d refer to as the “long game” of love.—It’s all about patience and compromise. It’s easy to stick around when things are humming along beautifully in a relationship, but it takes fortitude and deep love to be there for a person when things get difficult. My advice to someone just entering a serious relationship would be: Don’t leave before the good part arrives. In her anniversary card to me last year, Mary-Anne wrote: “Who knew when we said ‘For better or worse’, that it would be our worst that made us better!”
A friend posted a picture on Facebook today with the following caption: “Life is a chance. Love is infinity. Grace is reality.” I don’t think I could paraphrase it any better than that. My marriage to Mary-Anne is like jumping out of a plane with no parachute, but you’re holding hands and you know that there is no ground below—might as well enjoy the ride! Love ya baby!
It was Christmas morning when I was seven—I remember sneaking downstairs before everyone else had woken up so I could squeeze, rattle, and shake the wrapped presents under the tree that sprawled across the harvest gold shag living room carpet. I wanted desperately to get the new GI Joe action figure—the one that came with the zodiac raft and a miniature set of TNT and detonator. Three years later, I woke up on that same morning, and I could care less about the presents under the tree. All I wanted was my mom to move back home.
I was thinking today that something seems to have shifted in me as I get older. Instead of defining myself by what I want, or even by what I have, I look to what I can give away as a means to somehow define my happiness. I must admit, I arrived late to this realization because of the years I spent in a self-absorbed alcohol-fuelled fog that segued nicely into a period of manic depression.
Even though to me it often seems counterintuitive, I am happiest when I am of service to others instead of being preoccupied with my own agenda. In the book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant divides society into three distinct groups. “Givers” are those who selflessly offer up their time and energy. “Matchers” are only willing to participate in a reciprocal relationship based on give and take. Finally, there are “Takers”—this group operates on a parasitic level, as they are only governed by what they can get from you.
What we all seek is connection in our lives, and this feeling appears most readily when I align myself with “Givers” rather than the “Matchers” or “Takers”. For years, I convinced myself that I could never make a difference, so why bother trying to be of service to others. It’s only recently that I have begun to understand that it’s not about changing the world—being a revolutionary. This far-reaching belief ultimately cripples you and leads to inaction. I now look at what I can do to change the landscape around me—what can I do to make an immediate difference in the lives that I touch every day?
Coupled with this notion of immediacy, is a strong belief in cracking open the defensive veneer we all walk around in. Brene Brown talks about how true connections come through vulnerability. Take this blog for instance—whenever I sit down to write and that little voice in the back of my head tells me “keep something secret and locked away”, that’s when I know it is something that scares me—it’s from a vulnerable place. If I silence that voice of fear or shame inside, and allow others into that part of me, I make the most authentic connection with you. What’s most magical in this process is that something that I’ve given freely and with no strings attached, opens up a dialogue for others to share what lies in their heart and rarely is put into words.
I’ve developed a three-tiered strategy to allow me to nurture the idea of “paying it forward” more regularly in my day-to-day relationships. It starts with being a mentor—there is always someone who can benefit from my experience, usually acquired after a lot of sweat equity. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to do this most days when I share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired about marathoning or running in general, with someone who is new to our sport. Next, I’m a firm believer in opening up my network to others. We are all connected to core groups in our lives, so why not share access to these clusters with others who may come into your life. My life is intertwined with three primary groups: the running community, the addictions community, and more recently, a community of dedicated people trying to raise awareness of childhood sexual abuse. Through social media and other means, I try to act as a “bridge” to connect those in need with these core groups in my life.
Most importantly, I wholeheartedly believe we all need an “angel” in our lives—a person who appears when we need it most. I call these people angels because they are not a family member, or even a close friend. It is a person without an agenda—someone who parachutes into your life and holds your hand through a crisis, transition, or personal catastrophe. I have two such angels in my life. A young lady who reached out to me 16 years ago outside of an AA meeting when I was emotionally defeated and ready to say “fuck this” and go out and use again. What she offered me, couldn’t be wrapped up with a beautiful bow—It was the selfless gift of hope, and it changed my life. Last spring I met the founder of the treatment centre I was attending as I was dealing with issues related to childhood sexual abuse. This man spoke in the most gentle voice as he looked me straight in the eye and told me what had happened to me as a child doesn’t have to define the rest of life. For the first time since I was abused as a child, those feelings of shame I had bottled up inside me, now began to slowly seep away. In that empty space where that shame lay buried, I could now breathe more deeply. This time, the selfless gift was freedom.
I invite you to consider who the angels are in your life, and whether or not you might just be an angel in someone else's life. In an age of iPods and isolation, we desperately seek connection with others. Like ripples in a pond, when we touch someone else’s life, we make a difference in ways we can’t even imagine.
I feel I need to disclose something to you from the outset—I have what some may call an “addiction”, but what I like to refer to as a love affair with social media. Let’s face it, social media has a bad rap as a hotbed of vacant chatter and a vehicle of shameless self-promotion. When it comes right down to it, what we’re all really looking for, whether you’re active on Twitter and Facebook or not, is a sense of connection.
Noted education specialist, Ted Robinson refers to a tribe as “a group of people who share the same interests and passions. The tribe may be large or small. It can exist virtually, through social media, or in person. Tribes may be highly diverse. They may cross generations and cultures. They may cross time and include people who are no longer living but whose lives and legacy continue to inspire those who are.” I would also point out that a tribe does not resemble the cliques that are so prevalent in schools around the globe. Being a member of a clique is all about trying to fit in and gaining the admiration of the other clique members. In contrast, your tribe love and support you for who you are, and there is an absence of a power dynamic in the group.
So, without further ado…. Here are my “Top 10 Reasons Twitter Makes You A Better Runner”
1. No Man is an island.
Running can be such a lonely sport, and even the most seasoned runner will attest to how difficult it can be to hit the trail, track, road, or gym for a run. Connecting with the huge online running community reminds us that even when we are out there alone pounding out the miles, we are part of a huge running family.
2. Chafed nipples and black toenails
When it comes right down to it, we runners can be insufferable to live with—especially when we are tapering! Staying in touch with your running mates on social media allows you to spend hours waxing on about chafed nipples, black toenails, and even the perennial question: “Should I wear a singlet or short sleeve shirt in tomorrow’s race?”
3. We all need a soccer mom or a hockey dad.
Training for a race is hard work, so it’s inevitable that our motivation might need a little boost. Receiving a tweet from a runner friend or a Facebook message from another runner across the globe is just like having you’re mom or dad cheering you on.
4. All you need to know is right here.
Twitter can be an invaluable source of information for any runner. I love checking in with my tribe to find out what the weather was like on someone’s run, what new products are out there, and when, or even if, I should sign up for a given race.
5. We all need a little humble pie!
So…I’ve just got in the door from a great tempo run and I decide to post my run online for all my mates to stare in awe. It doesn’t take long to read that other people have run farther, faster, and in worse conditions than I did. Yep…Twitter keeps my “ego in check”.
6. There’s a little inspiration in that perspiration.
There a days when I simply don’t want to get out there and run, but a quick scan of my Twitter feed always sorts that out. Every day I’m amazed by the challenges we all face, and the resiliency that so many runners bring to our sport. Whether you’re training for your first 5k, or your first 100-miler, you’re lacing up your shoes and proving to the rest of us that no matter what obstacle we face in life, things always seem better after a run.
7. Travel is not so lonely with tweet-ups!
Over the past four years, I've amassed quite a large group of running friends from around the world thanks to social media. I have a solid core group that I check in with most days while I’m eating my breakfast after my run. Social media has enlarged my world and connected me with some of the most incredible people on the planet. One of the joys of traveling to distant races throughout the year is the opportunity to “tweet-up” with some of my friends on Twitter when I visit their city for a race. Nothing calms pre-race jitters better than sitting down for a coffee or a meal with a running friend I met on social media. As an added bonus, having a local contact makes race logistics so much easier, as you gain an insider’s perspective to the best hotels, restaurants, and running routes in the new city.
8. Dig your head out of the sand…. You’ll be fine!
Nothing feels worse than training months for a big race, only to see it all go “pear shaped” on the day of the race. No matter how well we train, weather, stomach issues, and sometimes a nagging injury can derail your expectations—and maybe even result in the dreaded DNF. I’ve been there on many occasions, and my running friends on social media are always there to hold my head up, and remind me that one bad race is not the end of the world.
9. Lighten up—take a selfie!
We runners can have a tendency to take our running passion a little too seriously at times. I need a daily reminder about what brought me into running in the first place—to challenge myself physically and to help bring balance to the rest of my life. One of my favourite things to do is to look through my Facebook and Twitter feed for the “selfies” and awesome run pics that many of my friends post. I’ve had the opportunity to run through some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, but I need to be reminded to slow down, look around, and take it all in!
10. Our running tribe has a kick-ass vibe!
You can’t choose your birth family, but you CAN build your running tribe! Let’s work together to build a super, supportive running tribe that will make us not only better runners but better people. You can start by retweeting this post and tagging me, @runjprun and three of your running mates. It’s an awesome way to meet amazing people who share our love of the sport.