Because You Can’t Underestimate the Value of Confidence

laguna beach run

I’ve never been an athlete. Growing up, I never played team sports. I would always choose to read rather than to play outside, and I was always the last kid to be chosen to be on a team in gym class. As I got older, I tried various forms of exercise. I did aerobics with Jane Fonda in the basement, I tried running, I worked out with weights, and for a brief stint I was addicted to the 30-Day Shred. I even took water aerobics for a college gym credit, but nothing ever stuck for longer than a few weeks or months.

I just thought that was part of who I was.

Then a few years ago, I fell in love with running. Most of you know the story. I started walking after I pulled a muscle doing the aforementioned Shred (thank you, Jillian Michaels) and I got bored so I started running. I did the run/walk thing for a few months, adding on a few more yards each time, until I was running a few miles several times a week.

After I ran my first 5K on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, I was hooked.

Somehow, after all those years of trying and failing, running stuck.

Running released me from a lifelong cycle of depression, gave me an outlet for my pent-up energy, allowed me time to myself that is a limited commodity as a mom, and provided a newfound confidence that I never knew I was missing.

I’d always considered myself a fairly self-confident person, but running gave me a whole new lease on life. I discovered an athlete lurking beneath the surface, and a competitive one at that. I wanted to get faster, stronger. Every race I ran became a race against myself to run faster, smarter, harder. The confidence I gleaned from running… and not just running, but racing, is hard to describe.

Suddenly I had what felt like superhuman endurance and energy. Instead of always being the one lagging behind, I was the one at the head of the pack when my family would take to a nearby hiking trail. Daily tasks that typically would exhaust me or make me feel winded soon became empowering. I felt stronger and more attractive in my clothes, and I had more patience energy for the daily ups and downs of life.

Slowly my 5K race times decreased and the length of my daily runs increased. I will never forget the first day I ran seven miles. Even though I was struggling with some nagging plantar fasciitis, I felt strong, confident and invincible.

Jo-Lynne running

Then my personal trainer suggested I run a half marathon. I thought she was nuts. I thought there was NO WAY I could run 13.1 miles. Seven felt like a major feat. And honestly, running longer distances really didn’t appeal to me. I was just having fun running a 5K every few weeks.

But she talked me into it. There was a good one coming up a few months away, and she thought that if I trained for it, I could do it easily. I was unsure, but the more we talked about it, the more I started to consider it.

I consulted a chiropractor about my foot problems, and he gave me the go-ahead, so I signed up. Before I knew it, I was training. I used this half marathon training plan, and I followed it to the letter.

When race day came, I was nervous but ready. It was a beautiful day and I ran the whole thing, coming in just 2 minutes under my goal time. I was exhilarated… exhausted but exhilarated. My kids were waiting for me at the finish line and I proudly displayed my medal.

half marathon

Outside of childbirth, completing that half marathon is the single most rewarding experience of my life. Even though I haven’t been able to run regularly since, due to foot injuries that continue to plague me, I don’t regret it for a second. The confidence I gained from that accomplishment can’t be taken away from me, even though it’s hard to accept the fact that I may never get to do it again.

As a mom, I think it’s so important to instill confidence in our children. Confident people are generally more successful and content. I want to give my kids every opportunity to develop their confidence as they grow and mature. It’s not always easy. There are so many factors constantly undermining our confidence and self-worth.

That’s why I am excited to partner with Invisalign® on this post. My husband and I have actually BOTH been through Invisalign treatments, so I can attest to how easy it is to use and how much it improved my lagging confidence once my smile started to become crooked. Although I had traditional braces as a teenager, teeth have a great memory. Because I neglected my retainer for so many years, my teeth slowly started moving and it got to the point that I hated looking at my smile in pictures. In the fall of 2007, I finally decided to take the plunge and restore my teeth to their original glory. Thanks to Invisalign, I didn’t have to relive the painful metal braces of my youth.

Invisalign is a discreet alternative to braces that allows you to perfect your smile without sacrificing your busy life, and now they are approved for teens and tweens as well as adults.

If you’re wondering how it works, Invisalign is a series of virtually invisible, removable aligners that gradually move teeth over time, so hardly anyone even notices when someone is in treatment. Usually your orthodontist can give you several sets of trays at a time that you change every few weeks, lessening the amount of office visits you will need to have which saves time compared to traditional braces which have to be tightened by the orthodontist every few weeks.

Plus Invisalign is just as effective in treating complex teeth issues as it is with minor, more cosmetic problems. Advancements to the Invisalign patented technology continue to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated — underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded to widely spaced problems are typically treatable with Invisalign.

If your smile is holding you back and keeping you self-conscious, consider taking the Invisalign Smile Assessment to find out if Invisalign is right for you (or someone in your family.)

This sponsored post is written in partnership with Invisalign. As always, all experiences and opinions are mine and mine alone.