You know, some of the most inspiring and transformative runners aren’t elites and didn’t come from crazy qualifying times in track & field. Some of us are out there fighting the good fight for what we believe in – ourselves – and that can be an uphill battle.
The above proved true when I had the chance to catch up with Melissa, known on Instagram as @betterlongrun, and get to know her running journey. We not only had a great time talking about running, but also about what is at the core of Melissa’s journey: Showing herself what she is made of and pushing herself everyday.
A while back, Melissa began running in a way that she described as “not too seriously.” Her running was off and on, and when she went to school over the course of nearly eight years, her health took a back seat. “I gained quite a bit of weight and felt really lazy, and I struggled with anxiety,” she said, further specifying that she began to suffer from body anxiety and depression.
After graduation, Melissa began to work full time. It became clear to her that she was stuck in some old student-ways and student-habits, and it was then that she made a conscious decision to make a change: “I was just tired of feeling crappy.” Melissa emphasized that her struggle with body anxiety and depression was her biggest catalyst for change.
The opportunity came along for Melissa to start running with a local team in Halifax, Canada. Melissa described this as a “leap of faith” that proved to be pretty life changing. It was here that her running journey began with a twelve-week training program for a 10k. “I put on a pair of shoes, and I went outside, and I showed myself what I can do.” Melissa fell in love with this newfound healthy lifestyle that she earned through running.
Of course, this is not the “typical” running story. I asked Melissa to give some advice to those who may be where she was – desiring to make a change, but not sure how or where to start: “Do something tiny every single day that points toward your goal.” She emphasized that large goals, while they give us something to reach for, should be broken down into baby steps. “Running has taught me that there are tiny steps to everything.”
She continued by stating that giving up shouldn’t be an option: “Give yourself a chance — you’re only human. Everyone has bad days, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s the goal that matters, not how long it takes to get there.”
Melissa plans to start training for a half marathon in early spring. She emphasized that if you’re out there and you want to make a change, believe in yourself: “it’s amazing what can happen when you stick with something.”
To keep up with Melissa’s journey and fantastic insight, check out her blog: “Better In The Long Run,” a name she chose with her promise to herself to be healthy so she can live a long life. You can also find Melissa on Instagram and Twitter.