My Continued Journey to Real Health: How a Long-Distance Runner Survived 2020

Author: Krystal Dinkel, RN

Just when you think you’ve nailed down the concept of Real Health, 2020 comes along.

Like most of us, I feel like 2020 punched me in the gut, kicked me while I was down, drove over me with a semi-truck, and then backed up, making sure to get me with each and every one of its 18 wheels. I started 2020 with such enthusiasm, making a list of 10 goals that included reading the entire bible, running three 50 mile races, and totally giving up alcohol.

Then March hit.

I had a senior in high school doing remote learning. She lost her prom and high school graduation. I wasn’t feeling secure about allowing her to work a restaurant drive-thru until I had more knowledge to make an informed decision. My family experienced furloughs and transitioned to working from home. There were many changes at the Riordan clinic to keep our co-learners and staff safe. We were all bombarded with varying opinions about COVID-19 and politics. On top of that, every single race that I anticipated completing – CANCELLED.

Do I consider 2020 a waste? Absolutely not! I probably experienced more personal growth last year than in all my previous 45 years. Growth in my faith, growth in my relationships, and a rediscovery of how much grit, strength, and determination lies within me. I can’t say that I didn’t sulk and mourn the loss of what I thought was going to be an amazing year. Honestly, it didn’t take just a month or two, but more like a few to really pull myself together. The goal to not have any alcohol went by the wayside pretty quickly. I’m sure many can relate.

How did I turn it around?

One step at a time. Or as some like to say, fake it until you make it.
Here are some of the things I learned along the way:

Get up every morning and concentrate on the small things first. Drink enough water, eat the right things, and make sure to sleep well.

Work with a doctor to begin taking supplements that are essential for a strong immune system.
A few of my favorites are Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin A, Melatonin, and NAC.

Be intentional about mental health.

Read motivational books.

Start a gratitude list and watch the things that you are grateful for multiply.
I know it sounds cliché, but I started with only a few, and now I could easily write 50 or more.

Surround yourself with a bubble of people you trust!
I sit next to two of the most amazing humans that I have ever met (Annette and Olivia) daily, I have the most incredible father, and my church and my pastor are invaluable to me. When you reach out, you find out you have more people in your corner than you imagined.

It’s okay to talk about what you’re feeling.
The best part about talking to someone is that you often find that the person you’re talking to is going through a similar circumstance. You then have the opportunity to help them. Helping others is one of the best ways to help yourself and turn your life experiences into something positive. It benefits your happiness, health, and sense of well-being.

Around September, I discovered that one of the races I had intended to complete was a go! I had only one month to train, and that quickly snapped me out of my funk. Finding that race helped me find two more 50-mile races. Each of them were roughly 5 hours away, so I pulled the trigger. I’ve found that goals are so important, and I was determined to complete mine. It’s not what I had envisioned at the beginning of the year and probably a little bit reckless, but my only option was to complete a race in October, November, and December. One race every month was bound to be hard on my joints. I started training, focusing on stretching, doing IV Vitamin C infusions and IV Glutathione pushes, taking fish oil, curcumin, and collagen. My all-time favorite was prolotherapy. Dr. Moffitt saved me when an injury to my hip almost took me out of the game.

What most people don’t know about me is that I was the girl that quit her high school cross-country team after one meet, and I had never run more than five miles up until five years ago. It’s not about winning or beating anyone else out there. It’s about overcoming that little voice in my head that tells me I am not capable. It’s about the journey. It’s true that 2020 was a rough year, but I wouldn’t change where it’s gotten me. I’ve realized that I don’t have anything to prove to anyone except myself. I’ve embraced challenges for personal growth and learned how to give myself grace.

To everyone that supported me in my growth this year, I am thankful for you!