“I had been told for so long that I was nothing,” says Lynda Hiltz, Baton Rouge mother of five. She explains the tough mental battle after divorce that created side effects of fear, insecurity and depression, and how running helped her conquer them.
Hiltz, a Yoglates II instructor in Baton Rouge, has known an active lifestyle all her life, including tennis, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, even getting caught up in the Jane Fonda craze and teaching aerobics in college. She had run with friends before and entered races, but never with the intention of seriousness. Hiltz moved to Baton Rouge twenty-two years ago to a house near the lakes, occasionally going to walk or run.
After her divorce she found herself going back to the lakes, but even that did not help. With the stress of the divorce and attempting to adjust to a work schedule after eighteen years of not working, she felt “completely shut down . . . I felt emotionally flat and dead inside.” But one day on a whim, Hiltz looked up the Varsity Sports running calendar online and decided to try it out. “I did not know one person but that first step of showing up has changed my life.”
Immediately the running community embraced Hiltz as she found common ground with those surrounding her- the commitment to an active healthy lifestyle. Her turning point was completing her first half-marathon. Through believing and praying she set out for a goal and accomplished it. She says, “The strength that I found inside has given me a confidence that I had forgotten I had.”
As a single mom, Hiltz uses her training mindset to deal with the issues she faces as a single working mother. “Running is not about beating someone or winning – it’s about changing the voice in my head from I can’t to I can.” Through this she released the self-doubt that had burdened her life and saw results in her attitude. “It has brought me back to myself, the person I want my kids to see,” Hiltz says.
She maintains her healthy and balanced lifestyle while sustaining the values that she feels is most important in her life “God, me, kids, friends, work, community.” While keeping active and taking interest in healthy cooking, she also loves spending time with her children. Hiltz claims she has a weakness for dark chocolate and drinks way too much diet Coke- but she can give advice to those who need support, “Laugh when you can, cry when you need to, surround yourself with a handful of true friends – be thankful, be gracious and always offer a smile.”
Hiltz confidently takes on her running journey with friends, trying new things and setting new goals including a Q50 trail run at night, an adventure race, relays, triathlons, and this year a full-marathon. She says, “Every time I take on a new challenge it is now an exciting adventure. I know that if I can accomplish something difficult on the road, I can handle anything life throws at me.”
Through running, Lynda Hiltz conquered fear, insecurity and depression. What have you conquered through running?