Runner Moms Podcast | Episode 008

Rebuilding Your Life on the Other Side of a Toxic Relationship

Anais Taboas is a nonprofit lawyer as well as a health coach and has overcome immense personal struggles over the past 10 years. Like many guests on the show, Anais struggled with an eating disorder as well as an unhealthy obsession with fitness, both of which took over her life during a former toxic relationship. 

Luckily, her family was able to help Anais escape the situation and, since leaving the relationship at the end of 2105, she has been in active recovery to reshape her relationship with food and fitness as well as to rebuild her sense of self-worth. She’s here to share those past struggles and talk us through how she emerged from them in the hopes of inspiring other women who may be stuck in similar circumstances. 

Anais is the mom of two beautiful young kiddos and is currently pursuing some impressive personal and professional goals, which she also shares with the Runner Moms community.

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Episode Transcript:

Introduction:

Welcome to the Runner Moms Podcast where we help women embrace their inner strength, take time for themselves and lead healthier lives. So, settle in and soak up some inspiration. Then rise, lace up those running shoes and embrace your inner strength because, momma, you run this world.

Shayla:

Hey there Runner Moms. I’m Shayla, founder of the Runner Moms community. Thanks for joining me on today’s show. I’d like to start off this episode with a big ole thank you for the positive reviews that keep rolling in for the podcast. I know I’ve been saying it a lot lately but, your reviews truly mean the world to me and they help more mom runners find our content. Seriously, thank you.

Also, for those of you who have been following along with each podcast episode but haven’t yet checked out the content over at Runner Moms dot com, now is the perfect time to head on over to the site. We’ve been uploading a ton of great recipes lately, so don’t miss out on them.

Now, let’s get on with the show. Joining me today is Anais Taboas. She’s the voice behind Legally Anais over on Instagram and she recently reached out to me with an interest to tell her story on the podcast. She’s a non-profit lawyer and is also building a health coaching business.

As you’ll hear in a bit, Anais has been through a lot over the past 10 years. Like many guests on the show, she struggled with an eating disorder as well as an unhealthy obsession with fitness, both of which took over her life during a former toxic relationship. She’s here to share those past struggles and talk us through how she emerged from them in the hopes of inspiring other women who may be stuck in similar circumstances.

Today, Anais is the mom of two beautiful young kiddos and pursuing some impressive personal and professional goals. I’m in awe of her strength and can’t wait to introduce her to you.

With that, let’s welcome her on to the show.

Well, welcome to the podcast, Anais! I’m so excited to have you on the show today. You just have such a great story and a great background. This is just going to be a wonderful conversation and I know you’ll have a lot of useful information and kind of life tips to pass along to the Runner Moms community.

So, I guess to start us off, maybe just start by sharing a bit about yourself with the Runner Moms community. Maybe tell us where you live, what you do, how many kids you have, those types of things.

Anais:

Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be on the podcast. So, as you mentioned, my name is Anais and I live in northern Virginia near D.C. with my two kids. We have a son that is three and our daughter that is 10 months old and I live with my partner Brian. And I work as a fulltime non-profit lawyer but I am also a certified health coach and I’m certified through the faster way to fat loss which is an NASM approved facilitator.

Shayla:

Oh, that’s wonderful. So, what got you interested in the health coaching space?

Anais:

So, I was a competitive cheerleader growing up So, I believe I started cheering probably around 7 or 8 so I was very active as a child. I cheered into the high school years and when I started college, that all ended, and I gained what people refer to as the college 15. At some point I said, “Ok, I can’t continue to drink and eat and do all of the things that college kids do. I need to get back into shape.”

So, I really started to focus on health and nutrition and I signed up for my first marathon, which I don’t advise anyone to do. To go from nothing to training for a full marathon. But, I was in college and that’s what we do when we’re in college. With time and throughout my journey and hopefully we’ll get into that story, the last five years have been an active recovery and, through that recovery process, I have learned as much as I can about nutrition and health. I’ve ingested so much information, looked at countless articles, studied different philosophies. It has really become a passion of mine and I came across the Faster Way to Fat Loss and it just seemed that everything fit into place for me. I knew I had to become a coach through that process and I am also in the process of becoming a running coach as well.

Shayla:

Oh, that’s wonderful. So, maybe let’s focus for a bit on your journey to becoming a runner. So, did you say that your journey to running began in college?

Anais:

That’s correct. It was right about 2008, so right before I got into law school. So, I was still in undergrad. And, a friend of mine just kept talking about how we wanted to do something. We wanted to accomplish something. So, we decided to sign up for a full marathon. I had never run a 5k. I don’t think I had ever even run three miles. Prior to signing up for a full marathon and I did it. I trained for it. I think I followed a Jeff Galloway plan. Went ahead and did all of the training for it but, unfortunately, I didn’t finish my first marathon. But, that’s not the end of my running journey. Instead, it has become my lifelong love affair.

Shayla:

So, tell me a bit about that first marathon. You know, you said maybe the training was lacking leading up to it. You probably didn’t know what fully to expect going into it. Maybe, walk me through the story of the marathon and kind of where you ended in the race and why, since you didn’t finish that race, how it still sparked this interest that you have and this passion moving forward.

Anais:

The first marathon that I did was the Run Disney marathon and, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Run Disney, but it’s a very robust community of runners from all different shapes and sizes and different backgrounds and it was truly an inspiring place. I had never seen anything like that in my entire life. Just so many different people in one space with one main goal which is to finish the marathon. But, I went into marathon training very naïve. I didn’t realize that nutrition had a lot to play with it. Strength training had a lot to play with it. I just thought, I’m going to do this training plan. I’m going to run as many miles as I can, and I’ll be fine. I started to feel an IT band issue building throughout the training, but didn’t do anything about it. I just figured that was part of running.

I started the marathon feeling good. Like I said, my nutrition wasn’t great but that was not the cause of the demise of that first marathon. In the Disney races, you’re on the roads quite a bit and that, it puts a lot of stress on me for some reason and there are a lot of curves and like weird platforms that you’re running on. That IT band, the pain continued to grow and get more and more intense. As we’re leaving the Animal Kingdom and we’re going up this ramp, there used to be, I don’t know if the McDonald’s is still there on the right hand side. At that point, my body just said, no more. My knee was so swollen and I looked at my running partner and said, I’m not gonna be able to finish it. And he even suggested, I won’t finish it, but I sent him on his way. He finished the marathon but as I was in the car going to the finish line, I said, I’m signing up for another race. Right now. Today, I’m signing up for another one.

And I did. I signed up for the princess half and that was a completely different experience. It was night and day. I was able to rehab a little bit. I was obviously in the shape to run that distance and, from that moment on, I said, this is what I want to do. These are the accomplishments I want to achieve. Since then, I believe I’ve completed three full marathons and a cumulative of over 40 different distance races, including a few triathlons.

Shayla:

That’s really amazing and inspirational that you came out of that experience and still pushed forward and all that you’ve achieved since then. Would you say that that is, kind of, just part of your personality? That, you know, you faced, I don’t know if defeat is the right word, but you didn’t accomplish that original goal that you had set out to accomplish but yet you didn’t take that as a failure or a reason to stop, you took that as inspiration to continue. Is that just kind of a piece of who you are, or where does that comes from?

Anais:

It is. It’s something I was definitely born with. I’m a bit of a Scrappy Doo in some sense. Like, I’m just, I don’t take no necessarily as an answer and I know that I can push myself. I’m always looking for the next challenge. What’s the next thing I can accomplish? Some would call me competitive. Maybe some would call me tenacious and probably some would call me delusional! But, I just, I have a lot of fight in me and I don’t want to back down. I want to show my kids what it means to push forward no matter what. Even when people don’t think you’ll be able to accomplish what you do.

Shayla:

Well, I have to say that’s really amazing. So, you’re a mom of two kiddos and you’re also a lawyer. I imagine your career field brings a lot of stress, as does parenthood as we all know. Does running play any role today in helping you manage that stress?

Anais:

Running is a huge source of stress relief for me, especially as we transitioned into this period of time with the pandemic. I now turn to running or simply being outdoors whether it’s running or walking as that moment where I can practice gratitude. I can practice being grateful in the space that I’m in. Right now, the period that I’m in right now in my journey. Some days I’ll listen to a podcast and use that time to learn. On other days, I just need to be alone with my thoughts and I know that having that running time is when I can do that. When I strength train, it’s different in the sense that I’m so focused on the exercise that it doesn’t really give me the time to kind of space out and either meditate or learn or just be in the space that I need at that time.

So, I do use running a lot as a mechanism to manage my stress. Especially because I haven’t really been able to engage in self-care techniques that I’ve used in the past, like getting massages or getting a manicure. I’m a big fan of getting my hair blow dried by someone else and I can’t do that anymore. So, running has now taken that place.

Shayla:

Yeah, I completely hear you on that. I used to listen to music all of the time when I ran, but I’ve made the transition in the past year or so to just run without music. Sometimes, yeah, similar to you, I’ll listen to a podcast or what have you, but it’s just such a good time to tune into your brain and your thought patterns and just really tap into what the sources of stress are and try and work through how to manage that stress. I guess, for me, that’s kind of where I’m at with running.

So, maintaining a running schedule and especially training for marathons requires a large time commitment. How do you manage it all with having two kids and a full time job and all of that stuff manage?

Anais:

My partner and I are constantly communicating about our needs. And his needs are very different than mine in the sense that he’s not a runner. So, he’s able to do his thing with me on board and vice versa, which my thing is running. But, we also utilize, we’re very fortunate to have my parents close by. So, my parents will step in and manage the kids when I do have to go out for a run or if I have a work commitment. We are also very blessed that our son is in daycare in a preschool and we do have a nanny for our youngest daughter that’s with us a few hours a day. So, I’m a big proponent, if you have a village, rely on that village. That way, everyone is invested in that common goal which is to take care of your kids and to also be able to focus time on you.

Shayla:

Have you and your partner always kind of been on the same page about balancing each other’s needs? It’s just a topic that comes up in conversations with other moms where, maybe they’re struggling to get their partner to understand the importance of running or their own personal goals in their life. Have you had to go through any of that or is it just kind of how your relationship is that that communication is already there?

Anais:

Our relationship has changed many times throughout the course of our relationship. Prior to having kids, it was very easy. Like, Anais, you have to go out and you have to do your run, great, I’ll see you when I see you. And it was just very easy. When we transitioned into being parents, we had to communicate a lot more. That has been good not only for my training and for running and for exercise and for him to have his alone time, but it has also strengthened our relationship because we’ve learned so much about each other’s needs and each other’s communication styles. So, it wasn’t necessarily perfect to begin with, but every single day, it gets better.

Shayla:

Yeah, I love that and that the communication is there and has evolved over time. I look back when, we have three kids, and I look back to when we had our first. I don’t know, for some reason, there was a lot more stress back then and maybe a lack of communication between my husband and I on balancing each other’s goals and needs so we’d always have little fights about who got to go outside even. Yeah, that communication is so key and just being sure that the time for self-care is still there and that your partner recognizes that need, so that’s great.

Anais:

He’s fully supportive of it. There was a period of time when I wasn’t getting out and running because of the weather or just challenges with childcare or just kind of making it all work. So, we sat down and we said, ok, we can afford a treadmill. And he went, he did all of the research, not being a runner, I’m not sure how he was able to do the research because I’m not sure he knew what he was looking at. But he became, as he would say, “I got smartened up on the treadmill lingo.” He went, got the treadmill. He went and got adjustable weights and he set up a home gym for me. That in itself was just communicating how much he respects my goals and the lofty dreams that I have.

Shayla:

Yes, that’s so amazing! Yeah, big kudos to him for that one right there! That’s really awesome. Well, do you have any tips for other moms who may want to pursue kind of big running goals or even just maintain a running schedule but who might feel overwhelmed with work, kids, life in general?

Anais:

I am a huge proponent of the less is more strategy, especially as you’re starting out. So, setting smaller goals and then building upon them. So, once they become a habit, then you start stacking those habits on top of each other. So, let’s say you want to go out and you want to train for a 5k. You’ve maybe walked a little bit and dabbled in some running but you’re not necessarily running three days a week. Setting those smaller goals. Saying, I’m going to commit to three days a week, thirty minutes of walking and then once that’s established, you start increasing possible running breaks and then including walking breaks. Then, once that’s established, then you start adding in those full running periods. Then it becomes engrained and it just becomes a part of your daily habit. Almost like brushing your teeth or flossing. It’s just there. And you don’t think about it. You just do it. Then, when you’re ready to set another goal like running a half marathon or full marathon, you have that base.

Shayla:

Yeah, that’s great advice. I look back to before I was a runner and I can’t even imagine a time when running wasn’t a part of my life. You just get to a point where you need to go out and run because that’s part of your habits. That’s part of your life. That’s great advice on just starting small and building it in. Getting that base there and then expanding upon that. I love that.

Anais:

And if I can add, when I started running like I mentioned, I did little to no strength training, almost no stretching. I didn’t really take care of my body that way. I just thought in order to be a runner, you just have to keep running. High mileage. High frequency. One suggestion I would offer is including lifting days. Basically, no more than 30 minutes, really focusing on effective strength training just to help you build those muscles that prevent injury and also including days for rest because that’s the time that your body gets to recover. Rest is important on so many different levels, especially as moms that sometimes we’re running on empty. Giving yourself that freedom to rest in terms of physical activity can do so much for your body.

Shayla:

Yeah, that’s great advice as well and I love how you mentioned earlier, the importance of nutrition. I hear a lot of newer running or even runners reflecting on their past, talking about not realizing the importance of nutrition or not understanding how to go about fueling their bodies. Yeah, that’s an important insight as well that you had given.

So, looking at kind of your life now, what does running bring you at this point in your life?

Anais:

Running is that constant for me. It has been there through my darkest days. The absolute darkest days that I didn’t think I’d get out of. And it has been with me on those joyful of occasions. No matter what, it’s like that friend that doesn’t miss your phone call. That’s what running is for. Running also reminds me what I’m capable of and that I can do hard things. I can do things as long as I set my mind to it and I put in the work. Yeah, I absolutely love running.

Shayla:

So, looking to the future, what are your running goals looking forward?

Anais:

So, prior to the pandemic, coming to the United States, I was actually signed up for the Marine Corp Marathon that was supposed to take place this weekend. As I saw this coming, I had come to the terms with the fact that there wouldn’t be an in-person race even before they canceled the in-person. So, I went ahead and deferred it to the 10k virtual. So, moving forward, I’m signed up for two virtual half marathons but I do want to run another marathon but I do want to do that in person.

Shayla:

Yeah, I hear you on that. I don’t with the marathon, it seems that, for me personally, I just need that motivation of others around me. Kind of the feeling of the race. I don’t know if you feel the same.

Anais:

I love the crowd and that’s why I really wanted to do the Marine Corp because I’ve heard so many great things about that race and the crowd support and just the energy on the course. On top of that, being in the D.C. area, I felt that it was fitting for me to run that race. So, I will do it, it’s just a matter of when.

Shayla:

Yeah, it sounds like that would be an amazing experience. So, offline, as we were kind of talking and preparing for this interview, you had mentioned a history with disordered eating and kind of a bit of an unhealthy history with fitness. This is a theme that comes up in almost every interview that I have done so far. I’m just wondering if you wouldn’t mind maybe sharing that story with the Runner Moms community?

Anais:

Absolutely. So, from 2012 to the end of 2015, I was anorexic, bulimic, and suffered from orthorexia. I used exercise as an unhealthy coping mechanism. It was a way for me to get out of a very bad situation. So, I would spend hours on end running. Running not only physically but also metaphorically from the life that I was trapped in. I underate and over exercised. I was a shell of the person that I was and the person that I am today and at the end of 2015, I was able to muster up the courage and the strength to leave the situation that I was in. From December 31, 2015 to today, I’ve been in active recovery overcoming the eating disorder and building my strength and my confidence. Also learning and hopefully working with other women who are trying to overcome the same situation.

Shayla:

So, kind of looking back kind of at the beginning of that journey. Is there a main trigger that you remember that led to the unhealthy relationship with food and fitness?

Anais:

So, it had been lingering for a while. As I mentioned, I was a competitive cheerleader. I started very young and I was built differently than a lot of the other girls on the team. Being Hispanic, I have a very, I guess, typical body type in the sense that I have bigger hips and bigger thighs. At the time, I had like a belly. I was pre-puberty. So, girls do tend to gain a little bit of weight before they get their menstrual cycle. But, all of the other girls on the team were very very very thin. That’s just how they were built.

I remember being fitted for my first uniform that showed your belly. I remember overhearing our coach say, “Well, no, Anais needs to have that skirt lifted up a little bit more and lengthened because she’s not going to look good in that.” That started to trigger this feeling of, oh wait, now people judge me based on how I look. So, I remember restricting a little bit in middle school. In high school, it wasn’t that bad because I did end up getting out of competitive cheerleading and just went into high school active cheerleading. But, in the back of my mind, there was always that little trigger. It fully became a raging monster that I couldn’t control at the time when I got into a bad relationship.

When someone is telling you that you’re not good enough or not smart enough or that you’re not going to accomplish things and phrases that no individual should ever say to another person or being condescending in public and making fun of someone. The way that I was able to have any control in my life was by restricting what I was eating and with the mindset that, “If I’m thinner, he’s going to love me more If I’m thinner, he’s going to think that I’m a better person. If I’m faster, maybe he’ll respect me.” Which is why I overexercised so much. He would constantly diminish my career accomplishments which, prior to having kids, my career was everything. Being an attorney was a goal that I set as early as kindergarten. I knew that what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to work with people in need which is why I gravitate towards a career in public interest law. He used that as a tool against me. On December 31, 2015 when my parents and my brothers and my entire family basically staged an intervention and were able to remove me from the situation. At that moment, I knew that I was free and that I no longer had to control what I was eating, nor did I have to run away from my experience. With time, I was able to rely on running for my own personal strength and my own personal goals instead of running away from a bad situation.

Shayla:

Looking back at that relationship and the time before your family staged that intervention, did you recognize that you need to get out of the relationship? Were you at all in denial about that relationship? And just, the reason I’m asking is just that you hear stories about women who just get stuck in relationships maybe it’s because of the abuse that the partner is giving them and they kind of take away their self worth. I don’t know exactly the reasons, but, would you mind talking a bit about that and how it came to be that your family was able to get you out of that relationship?

Anais:

I knew it was an unhealthy relationship and I knew fairly early on. There was a level of control that he was able to exert. My finances he controlled 100 percent. So that was like the first time that he was really able to have that control. So, I was able to remove myself from the situation in December 2015. In July of that same year, I knew, I had made up my mind that I had to leave. It was either leaving him or, I’m just gonna be frank, it was either that or I was gonna die. It was one or the other because of how thin, how frail and just, I don’t even remember most of that year. It was just this period of complete darkness. But I didn’t have the courage in July to leave. At that point I had withdrawn. I was spending almost every waking hour outside of the home either exercising, I even took up adult ballet. Anything to get out of the house. I didn’t want to admit that I made a mistake. Now I know that there’s so much strength in sharing that secret because you’re no longer sick from your secret. But, at that time, I was so worried that everyone was going to look at me like a failure and that fear is what kept me there. And it wasn’t fear of him, it was actually, it was fear of him, but it was mostly fear of failure and to anyone see me as anything but perfect.

Shayla:

Well, I really appreciate you sharing your story and your bravery in talking about it. I hope that the messages that you’re giving here are heard by other who may be, hopefully not similar situations, you never hope for anyone to be in that type of a situation. But, if someone needs it, I hope they’re hearing it. What did the process of, you know, after you got out of the situation at the end of 2015, what did the process of beginning to heal the relationship with nutrition and fitness look like? And also, heal yourself and probably your inner script that he had probably written for you for that time, how did you go about changing those things?

Anais:

It was definitely a long process and it wasn’t linear. There were definitely setbacks from time to time. I’m still on that journey. I will probably be on that journey for the rest of my life and I’m ok with that because it makes me a stronger person.  I know that I had to experience that in order to be the strongest mom for my two kids because I can now have a discussion with my children when they’re older regarding relationships and regarding the relationship with food, but also how to identify an emotionally abusive relationship. So that they can avoid them at all costs.

As far as my journey in getting better, I did work with a therapist. My parents were there every single step of the way. Very early on in my recovery process, I actually ended up meeting my partner at a time when I probably had no business getting into a relationship with anyone. But, I am a firm believer that God, someone who was looking out for me sent him to me. Because, he went to every single therapy appointment with me. He helped me through the entire journey and, as I was growing into the women I am today, he was there every step of the way. Just being supportive and helpful and not judging. So, my parents, my brothers and my partner were the biggest contributors to that. My therapist is outstanding. I have her on speed dial. Also working with myself. I felt like if I educated myself regarding food that I could be the best advocate for myself. And that’s what I did. I looked into every single methodology out there. I looked into Keto and paleo and every single type of eating style I looked into until I found the right fit. Until the one that was the least restrictive and that would not allow me to fall back into my old tendencies.

Shayla:

Well, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve come this far in the healing process and that’s, I mean, it is really amazing that you met your partner when you met him and that he was so supportive through your journey of healing.

Do you have any advice for listeners who may be currently stuck in unhealthy patterns with food or fitness or a relationship or all three?

Anais:

Let someone know. Bring someone into the fold. It’s so hard, and I speak from experience, it’s so hard to know that you’re in need. That you need help. That you need support. It doesn’t have to be someone within your circle. There are anonymous phone lines. Several of them that you can call and just speak to someone and they’ll be able to guide you or simply listen to you. But, the journey won’t start until you identify it and until you address it. I love therapy. It’s a wonderful tool in my toolkit and it’s something you can do as frequently as you need or as infrequent. Many employers have employee assistance programs that will include several sessions either complimentary or for a reduced fee. So, using that as a tool. But, the running community is also a very inclusive running community.

Maybe reaching out to other mother runners or other individuals that you might have heard on a podcast or a blog article. Reach out to them as well. Because, I’ve reached out personally to those that I have found inspiring and I’ve always been welcome. I’ve always felt a sense of, we understand each other because we’re part of this great community.  

Shayla:

Yeah, I love that, and I completely agree. I’ve said before on other episodes. I don’t think there’s any better community than the running community. I mean, we all come from different backgrounds and have different pursuits in life but all kind of have that foundation of support and encouragement and it’s really great to be connected to other runners and this community.

I also just want to say that, as you mentioned earlier that you’re also a health coach and kind of expanding that business for yourself. I just have to say that, through the experiences that you’ve been in, I can imagine that you would bring a lot of value as a coach to individuals who are looking to become healthier and improve their lives. So, I think you would definitely be a wonderful coach to rely on and seek advice from.

Anais:

I really enjoy working with women, regardless of where they are in their life. I have noticed one common theme, which is, a lot of women eat less than they should. I’ve worked with women who are in their 50s, women in their 20s, new moms, experienced moms, runners, non-athletes, and it seems that 95 percent of the are actually under eating and under fueling their body. And it has nothing to do with any disordered eating or eating disorders or anything of that nature. It just, it’s kind of reflective of our societal norms for some reason. And what I love to do is see them eat more and find, like, that you can have fruit. You can still have potatoes. You can have rice and you can still meet your fitness goals and your health goals. Be eating more, exercising less and finding freedom from food and exercise.

Shayla:

Yes, I love that! Absolutely. In our household, I’m very careful to talk about food with my kids as, you know, use food for fuel. It’s fuel for your body. It gives you energy. Just, I mean, society puts all of these burdens on women and men in many different ways. We grow up not realizing that food is fuel for our bodies. We see it kind of as the enemy in many ways. So, yeah, that’s really great advice.

So, looking at you as a mother and runner, what has been the biggest change with running and fitness since having kids?

Anais:

My son just turned three. I enjoy running with my kids. So, I typically will run with one of them at any given time. They enjoy the process. They actually become very meditative when they’re in the stroller outside. So it’s a win win situation for everyone involved. But I’ve noticed that my son is starting to say, “Momma, I like exercising.” Or, “Momma is exercising.” Or, “Momma is fast.” To see that he is already starting to put two and two together that exercise is good and exercise can be fun, that has been the biggest change. I’m starting to see fitness through the eyes of a child and not as someone who has seen it through different lenses in the past.

I’m starting to include him more in workouts and we run around in the playground. It’s no longer exercise. It’s play, and, also at that moment, a lightbulb kind of went off and I realized, holy smokes, they’re looking at every single thing I do. So, I have to make sure that I am modeling the best possible behavior so that the two of them can grow up to be healthy adults in the sense that they have a healthy relationship with their bodies, a healthy relationship with food and exercise.

So, very similar to you and how you’ve discussed your relationship with your kids and how you speak in front of them, I’m doing the same exact thing with them.

Shayla:

Yeah, that’s wonderful to hear. Yeah, I just think the more that we talk with our kids about these things and model the behavior that we wish that we had when we were younger or that society would give to us, just I hope that the next generation growing up doesn’t have to deal with a lot of the things that we had to deal with.

So, looking to the future, what are your goals and dreams for the future with running, with fitness, with motherhood?

Anais:

With running, I’m still doing the math to see if it’s possible even in a pandemic era type of world. I’d like to run 50 half marathons before I turn 50. So, I think it is possible based on the math that I’ve done. But that is one goal that I’d like to do. I do want to run an ultra. I’m still not sure how long of an ultra but I definitely do want to do one because I find ultrarunners to be super human and I’d like to be considered a superhuman person even if it’s just for one day.

As far as fitness, I want to continue to increase the weights that I’m lifting. Every single time, it’s that next challenge. How much heavier can I lift? As far as motherhood, I look at motherhood in the sense that I am going to do my absolute best to ensure that I’m raising healthy adults with good relationships with others, a mindset of citizenship so ensuring that we’re constantly giving back to our community. That they’re respectful and that they’re able to interact with individuals and have different opinions but still respect each other. I feel like that’s something that we’re slowly losing as a community and I’d love to see people be able to have discussions without being disparaging and simply be an inclusive type of world. If I could raise two kids that could be more inclusive and more understanding of others’ opinions and backgrounds then at that point, I think we’ve done a good job with our kids.

Shayla:

Halleluiah! I’m right there with you. I love that. And, going back to your comment about ultrarunners being superhumans, I’m pretty sure you’re already a superhuman for going through what you’ve already been through, so I don’t foresee you having any problems running an ultramarathon.

Anais:

I appreciate that!

Shayla:

So, is there a main takeaway that you’d like to leave with the Runner Moms community today?

Anais:

That you can do it. If you have a goal, you can accomplish it. What is hard for me is going to be very different than what is hard for you and what might be hard for a viewer. But, it’s all hard. And you can do it. You can accomplish hard things. You can set lofty goals, work every day towards it and it might take you a year. It might take you five or ten. But, if you continue on that trajectory, you’re still actively working and doing that. One other point, if you think you can do better and if you think that you deserve more, then you do. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I want more. I want to be treated better.” There’s nothing wrong with exiting a bad situation. And it doesn’t have a romantic relationship. It could be a friendship. It could be an employment situation. But, if it’s toxic, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I don’t want this toxicity in my life.”

Shayla:

Thank you, Anais, for your bravery and willingness to share your story. Again, you’re so incredibly strong and I wish you all the best in your journey forward. So, if others would like to connect with you online, where should they go?

Anais:

I am on Instagram under @legallyanais – Like, Legally Blond, but Legally Anais, and I also have a website legallyfitness.com.

Shayla:

And I will be sure to link to both of those locations within the show notes. And again, thank you for being here today.

Anais:

Thank you for having me!

Shayla:

As I mentioned in the beginning of this episode, I’m in awe of Anais’ strength and her ability to rebuild her life after struggling through such hardships. I’m also in awe of her bravery in sharing her story with the Runner Moms community. To anyone listening who may currently be struggling with similar battles, or with anything life situations that may no longer be serving you, I hope that her story will fuel your strength in making needed changes. 

That’s a wrap on today’s show. I’m currently looking for guests to feature on the podcast. If you are a runner mom and want to share your story, feel free to drop me at note at shayla at runner moms dot com. Also, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram. You can find the Runner Moms community on Instagram at runner dot moms.

Until next time, happy running and happy momming. 

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