On this episode of The Omega Sports Show, we welcome Lauren Breland. Some might know her as sunshine in human form. Lauren shares her experience being diagnosed with Lupus and how that has molded her into the resilient runner she is today. But what sparked her journey into running may not be something you have heard before. Lauren is a true testament to what sheer willpower and persistence can achieve.
Meet Lauren Breland
Before discovering her passion for running, Lauren was a Jiu-Jitsu athlete. She’s not your run-of-the-mill athlete. Lauren is a 3rd-degree blackbelt. She started at age of 14 and retired at 34. Considering her vast experience, it is important to note how uncommon it was for women to be in martial arts. Just how rare of a sight is it? Well, Lauren was just one of two women in her school who did Jiu-Jitsu, with the other woman being her instructor.
Towards the end of her Jiu-Jitsu career, Lauren decided to take on yoga and running. She admits that this was not her first option. Originally, Lauren wanted to continue doing Jiu-Jitsu, but her traditionalist view of the art kept her from practicing in nontraditional spaces. Nonetheless, she knew she had to stay active.
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Living Life with Lupus
In 2009 things took a turn for the worst. Lauren was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Lupus, specifically systemic Lupus. Systemic Lupus affects the body’s immune system, which means the body cannot distinguish between healthy and non-healthy tissue. This diagnosis comes with a number of side effects, including joint pain, hair loss, and early onset arthritis. Though it is not a death sentence, Lauren was still afraid and describes the feeling as being hit with a ton of bricks one moment, and then it going away. After meeting with several doctors, she was ever prescribed was a pill for her pain. So naturally, Lauren took it upon herself to do research of her own and find different avenues to mitigate the flare-ups.
Initially, Lauren was met with nothing but negative comments. One of which suggested her giving up her active lifestyle. This was not going to happen. Instead, Lauren found a way to work with her illness, not against it. Through an attentive diet, cautious exercise regime, and most importantly, listening got her body, Lauren has been able to find a perfect balance.
Lauren Breland Hates Running
Here’s an Omega Sports Show exclusive; Lauren Breland hates running… or at least she did when she first started.
Her journey into running began when pursuing a career to become a special agent with the FBI. One of the prerequisites was to complete a physical fitness test which included a 1.5-mile run. She got started by taking small incremental steps. She did a combination of running and walking, each day running just a bit longer than the last. When test day arrived, she passed with flying colors. Although her career prospects did not pan out, Lauren took something evener greater with her, a newfound love for running.
Not wanting to lose any progress, Lauren continued to run. She started with a casual jog every Saturday and eventually trained for a half marathon. Lauren is now training to run the NYC ultra-marathon, which she deems her retirement marathon.
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Lauren Breland’s Advice on Keeping Running Sustainable
To become a successful runner, it is important to define a successful run. A successful run doesn’t always mean going faster; it could mean going for 2 miles of run-walking or even just completing a run in its entirety.
Success is measured differently in everyone, so it’s about listening to your body and being vigilant of its capacity. For those who are not able to participate in traditional running, Lauren suggests less strenuous alternatives like the treadmill or even water aerobics.
What should we expect moving forward? Lauren has a few cool tricks up her sleeve! For starters, a group-run club that focuses on recovery. Meaning, after the group runs, a recovery workshop will take place that includes massages and even partner massages. But don’t just take it from me, be sure to stay connected with Lauren on Instagram for the latest updates at @chempossible007.
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