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When they tell you "You can't"

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

When I turned 40, I decided I wanted to try running. I had heard about the benefits to body, mind and spirit, and I wanted to see what it was all about.

But there was a problem.

I suffered from excruciating back pain on a daily basis, due to a mild but painful congenital spine disorder. There were times when the pain was so intense, that my husband would have to come home from work to care for our young boys and drive me to the chiropractor. I spent 3 sessions with my chiropractor every week getting treatment.

So, when I approached the chiropractor about my desire to try running, he was not supportive. After a bit of explaining my reasons, he agreed that I could try, but that because of the issues with my back, I should never run more than 1 mile at a time.

The wind was instantly sucked from my sails, and I did a nose-dive from the exciting feelings of hopefulness and empowerment at the thought of becoming a runner, back down to the feeling of being broken and doomed at the young age of 40.

Fortunately, my husband insisted that I get another opinion, and introduced me to an amazing Physical Therapist who assured me that “the body achieves what the mind believes” and that with careful, diligent work, he’d “have me running marathons” if that’s what I wanted.

Just shy of 9 years later, I completed my first 50 mile trail race.

I’ve never been the fastest runner, but the feelings I get every time I’m out there achieving what that chiropractor said was impossible–

the feelings of awe and respect that my body did indeed respond to the power of my mind and my sheer will to find a solution–

the feelings of gratitude that the universe conspired to bring the right people with the right knowledge and attitudes into my life to support my healing journey–

I feel all of this every time I’m out there.

We all have our own personal reasons for the goals we set for ourselves and the dreams we so deeply desire to achieve, and we all have likely encountered voices, both external and internal, telling us all the reasons we can't...

we aren’t strong enough, smart enough, creative enough, organized enough... and on and on…

It’s in that moment when we shift from believing those voices and playing small, to deciding that those voices are just noise...

It's in that moment when we decide to walk forward with our chin up and chest out, directly through the fog of doubt – that’s the moment we take back our power.

THAT is the beginning of our owning our potential.

And each step we take with awareness of our true power, provides more evidence that we are, in fact, so much bigger than the voices that would have us play small.

After my 50 miler on Saturday, I had a number of people ask me how I made it through those 12+ hours on such a challenging trail.

Did it hurt?


Was I tired?

YES – for the entire last 20 miles I wanted to curl up on the trail and take a nap!

Was there ever a moment when I thought about giving up?

Nope. Not once.

And I have all the voices of doubt throughout my life to thank for that.

Am I mad at the chiropractor who, I honestly believe was just being protective of me, but made me feel like I was broken and doomed?

Not one bit.

Because his limitation of me was the straw that broke my back… and healed it at the same time.

His limitation of me was the wakeup call I needed to take back my power.

If I had believed him when he insinuated that I was broken, I would have missed out on the most powerful growth of my life... on every level.

And that growth began not in my body, but in my mind.

The moment I decided that I could.

You can too.

Xx Jen

p.s. With all the strength I've gained, I've never felt that back pain again.

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