My intention of UBU was to combine fitness and mindful practices that boost self-esteem, improve communication tools and build a supportive network for young girls. Interesting stats from HPEC & CAAWS that motivated me to create UBU include, only 8% of girls met the recommended Canadian Physical Activity guidelines yet, nearly all parents said their kids were very physically active; Only 1/10 high school girls enrol in optional physical education classes (after Gr. 10), meaning there’s a 90% drop-off rate around age 16 for girls taking phys. ed. in Alberta; Exercise is an effective antidepressant; your mood will improve by being in nature, getting involved with your community/peers, and having a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.
See my why in YEGFitness magazine Nov/Dec 2018
UBU aims to build self-confidence in girls so they will set meaningful intentions for themselves and strive to achieve goals rather than letting others determine their fate. UBU empowers girls to pick themselves up when they fall, ask for help from a support network when they need it, believe in themselves, and find mindful tools that resonate with them to work through doubt and frustration.
I am a runner, which I came across a bit by accident after growing up playing sports—volleyball and softball—but realizing that scheduled games and practices were really hard to commit to once I had kids. I dabbled with running with a group of friends who ran with a Calgary-based Running Room clinic and tried out a few 5K and 10K races before diving into my first half marathon a few years ago. Since then, I’ve completed six half marathons, one full, many more 5K and 10K races, and have completed about 15 trail races since first trying them out last year. My most recent intense physical challenge was doing the last 3 legs of this year's Canmore Grizzly Ultra Marathon as a duo team. With the large amount of snow and mountain elevation climbs, it really challenged my mind and body. Now the race season is done, I am looking into what's in store for me in 2019.
When my father became very ill in 2015, I decided to train for my first marathon. Running became my peaceful place to meditate, take time for me, and stop thinking about everything I couldn't change. I had to be more present--more mindful--to survive. The extreme physical exertion marathon training put on me, wore down my inexplicable resistance to traditional meditation, yoga, and trying new things. I reconnected with journal writing after years of pen silence, and taught a few journal writing courses and shared with others how effective writing can be as a stress-reliever. All of these mindful tools got me through one of the toughest times of my life.
I continue to write as a freelancer for various publications to share the inspirational stories of other people, movements, and organizations. Everyone has a story.
There will be weekly posts about what the girls are learning about in the program and links to relevant articles, too.