Finding strength in your tribe

To understand the different factors and lifestyles that cultivate an optimistic outlook, Life is Good conducted a National Optimism and Positivity Index this past spring. We’re excited to partner with fitness Instagrammer, Mirna Valerio (@themirnavator), to write on one of the survey’s findings: How finding your tribe makes all the difference in a lifelong positive outlook.

A strong support system is everything— particularly in the fitness world— and I was so happy to see this confirmed in a recent survey conducted by Life Is Good. According to its findings, those with strong support systems tend to have more optimistic outlooks than those who don’t. It’s my personal philosophy that when you look upon life optimistically, good things will always follow. I can vouch for this in every area of my life, but especially in running.

Just recently, I made a second attempt at a very difficult event called the Trans Rockies Six-Day Stage Race. It is a pretty brutal run that includes 120 miles traversing all manners of trails in the Rockies with over 20,000 feet of elevation gain, at all altitudes.

Last year I made my first attempt, tackling the race solo and only able to complete two stages. It was rough. I wasn’t prepared for the altitude, flying directly to Colorado from Atlanta and not giving myself ample time to adjust to being between 8,000 and 12,600 feet. As a result, I suffered badly. I struggled to breathe, which meant that moving forward was difficult and ultimately made the goal of completing the entire race a long shot. But I was satisfied with how much of the race I achieved. Every morning, I completed 75 miles with 14,250 feet of elevation gain.

While I knew I tried my best, I was determined to conquer that course. When registration opened for the race in 2018, I immediately signed up.

Two weeks ago, I tackled my second Trans Rockies Run, this time having spent significant time practicing for the event at extreme altitudes. While it was still incredibly challenging, the difference this time around was that my running community played a huge role in my journey. The group mostly consisted of folks that I had just met, but that didn’t matter one bit. They pushed me to crush my goals and exceed my own expectations.

They waited for me every time I was the last finisher (which was a lot), and then looked me in the eye and challenged me to keep going. They made sure that I was strong at every turn and motivated me, even gifting me a necklace with a charm that said, “DONT QUIT.” Through it all, they surrounded me with good vibes, cheer, and fortitude, handing me the keys to unlock my own sense of optimism and positivity throughout this incredible journey.

I completed all six stages this time around. Not only did it take relentless belief in myself and intensive training, but it also took the power of an incredible, supportive, and loving community to get me to that finish line.

Which is why you’ll see me at the Trans Rockies for a third time next year. Because when you give optimism, you get optimism.

Feelin’ those good vibes? Let’s share the positivity around the world. Now through Sept. 13, Life is Good challenges you to post your #OnePositiveThought. Visit our website for more information or post your picture on Instagram using the hashtag above.