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You know sometimes you have those weeks that are so upside down that nothing makes sense and you can’t track your emotions from one moment to the next? I’ve had one of those.

I think, no I KNOW that I sometimes underestimate what my reactions to the trauma we went through last year might be. I’ve been an optimist my whole life, and I guess I just expect myself to get over it. And now that it was a while ago and I’m in a much better space it galls me when the past rears up and bites me hard all over again.

There are so many triggers, some of which I can’t anticipate.

One of the triggers I did anticipate was returning to my old gym to do some learning with my fave PT. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew that because in the past even just driving back into town would make me catch my breath. And it has been hard but it has been so wonderful as well. It has brought up so many emotions and a part of me just wants to turn back time and go back to the place that felt like home from the day we moved there… the place where so many of my friends are and that still feels more like home than where we are now in some ways. I saw that coming and I prepared myself to do the emotional hard yards because it is worth it, and it is time.

I guess I hadn’t respected the grieving process in full though. And there was so much high emotion and fear and stress when everything was happening that I was running on pure adrenalin with little time to think or deal with anything properly.

And oh boy did I run. I ran physically, moving house with four kids twice in the space of three months. I ran emotionally, hiding us all at various places while we waited for the dust to settle. I ran from the life I had known for 16 years into the unknown. And I guess now, all this time later, the running is catching up with me.

I’d decided to run the Melbourne Marathon this year with Zoey. I felt like this could be my last chance for a while, that I was ready and able to put in the training time with the support of my partner and my family. I felt like I was ready to take on the emotional challenge of preparing for a marathon.

I was wrong.

Something that Zoey says often and that makes her such a brilliant coach, is ‘choose your hard‘. I love that because it gives space and respect to our personal journeys. And no matter how much I want my own journey to look a certain way, I can’t just gloss over the fact that I have anxiety and mental health issues arising from my experiences that sometimes make my path a more winding one than others.

I’m not ready to be marathon strong.

I don’t have the emotional resilience for the long hours out on the track by myself right now. The battle in my head is too loud, and I have more work to do to calm my spirit. I lean so heavily on my partner and on Zoey to help support my emotional health and I don’t want to be that person any more.

If I never run another marathon, that is okay. I know what marathon training can take from you and to be honest, some days there is just not enough of me left to give. I also know what it gives back, but I think you need to start from a different place than the one I am in.

It is time to stop running. It is time to strip back to bare bones and start rebuilding myself again. It is time to choose my hard.

In emotional terms I know that means it is time to seek some more support. In physical terms it means going back to what makes me feel the strongest, and that is weight training.

Instead of breaking my heart over and over long running, I will enjoy training to run the half marathon in Melbourne with my sister who is doing her very first one, and with our awesome business manager Kate who has had my back time and again this year.

I’ll find a gym that offers me the community that I miss so much, and a trainer who will push me the way I need to be pushed. I’ll nurture my body with food and lifting and I will nurture my soul with mindfulness and continue practicing gratitude every day.

I’m choosing my hard, and my hard has chosen me. And while it hurts that yet again my life doesn’t look like I wish it would, a reality that will set me up for success is far better than a fairytale heading for failure. One way or another I will get my happy ever after, my path just might meander more than most.

If your hard looks like learning to lift and feel strong in yourself, you might like to join our Move It Beginners course starting August 1st. If you’re ready to go hard at home, maybe you’d enjoy our Move It Bootcamp Body Blitz. Either way, choose your hard and own it. You deserve to love your body and your life and so do I. 

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and struggle! I am somewhat new to your Facebook page, so I don't know your whole story, but I DO KNOW what demons look and feel like, and just how they affect every single aspect of life. I am praying to conquer some of my own through Marathon training. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE lifting. :-) Blessings on your healing journey!! - Jen