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This blog is not going to be a long one, but it is going to be one from the heart, and I hope it is inspiring to others.

This weekend I was blessed to run a 5k obstacle course with two of my nieces, Samantha and Jacqlyn. It was not just any obstacle course; it was a Muddy Princess 5k. Muddy Princess Corporation sponsors 5k obstacle races all over the country to empower women, benefit breast cancer research, and allow each participant to choose how extreme they wish to challenge themselves. Samantha recently lost 45 pounds (and still going) eating plant based, and as she stated to me numerous times throughout the weekend, “I would never have been able to do this last year, let alone wanted to do it,” so this event was a milestone in her health journey. My heart was overflowing with love and respect for this young woman and her desire to take her newfound health, and weight loss, and push past her comfort zone. She did not skip a single obstacle (there were over 14 obstacles), and only one eluded her after several attempts! Watching this 4’11” mini powerhouse who has never been athletic, jog up hills, crawl under fences in mud and muck, climb walls three times her height, and swing on ropes and chains over ditches and mud – I was one proud Auntie – but the best was the sweaty, wet, muddy face smiling and laughing over a two-hour period! All along this course was my other niece, Jacqlyn, my Army strong, smart, active, agile, kick butt niece, motivating and encouraging her cousin through the entire course, never relenting, always positive. Together, the three of us found ourselves encouraging others along the course. Helping those who had come without friends, or those who just needed a little extra inspiration to finish an obstacle. Our ability to see the fun, comradery and excitement of the event superseded any negative thoughts about our body’s inability to complete this race! In a nutshell, we were having too much fun to worry about how we were going to get through the next obstacle…we just did it!

This weekend will forever be one of my fondest memories, and I believe this holds true for my nieces as well. For any of you reading this little blog, I hope that it encourages and inspires you to NEVER underestimate the ability and power of your body. Fuel it with whole, fresh foods – move it daily (walking is AWESOME), and it will repay you with energy, and phenomenal health!

I hope you find what motivates and encourages you in your health journey, but if you are looking for guidance or help, I am only an email away.

Stay Healthy,

Merlinda (October 19, 2021)

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