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Home » How running can help support you on your healing journey with Lynce Espinoza! Ep80

How running can help support you on your healing journey with Lynce Espinoza! Ep80

#080 – Are you tired of being told to just toughen up or get over it when facing adversity? These ineffective approaches leave you feeling helpless and alone in your struggles. Breast cancer survivor Lynce Espinoza‘s dedication to running changes her life as she navigates divorce, pandemic, and heartbreak, leading her to embrace the little things and become an inspiration to a robust community of runners.

Join us in this episode to discover the power of running, self-discipline, and resilience in overcoming adversity and transforming your life. Say goodbye to the pain of feeling stuck and hello to the freedom of a new approach to personal growth and development.

Topics Covered:

  • Unlock the potential of running as a tool for managing emotional stress and increasing emotional resilience
  • Turn life’s challenges into opportunities for growth by focusing on a passion or activity that builds resilience
  • Realize the power of self-discipline and self-love in achieving sustainable and impactful lifestyle changes
  • Delve into the relationship between mental health and physical fitness, tapping into exercise as a remedy for anxiety and depression

Today’s Guest

Lynce Espinoza

Lynce Espinoza

Lynce was living the life she had always envisioned for herself. Married, a mom, a career she loved and healthy, life was “perfect”.

Oh, but life can be funny sometimes. Little did Lynce know life had much more in store for her. 2017 was the beginning of a series of life events that would forever change her view on life. It also would force her to find peace, comfort, and healing in the thing she least expected, running. 

When Lynce started running she was enduring probably the hardest time in her life emotionally.  Running saved Lynce, it forced her to be comfortable with the uncomfortable not only physically but mentally and emotionally. 

What began as a coping mechanism has now turned into a passion and the one constant in Lynce’s life.

Today, her life is amazingly imperfect but perfect for her.

Follow Lynce:


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Listen to Inspire to Run Podcast:

Richard Conner 0:00

Hi everyone, are you facing a diagnosis or another life changing event. Our guest today will share how her diagnosis changed her life. How running saved her during the hardest time in her life, and how running can help you not only physically but mentally and emotionally Hope you enjoy.

Intro/Outro 0:20

Welcome to Inspire to run podcast. Here you will find inspiration. Whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness or you’re a seasoned runner, looking for community and some extra motivation. You will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts now here’s your host Richard Conner.

Richard Conner 0:43

Hi, everyone welcome to inspire to run Podcast. Today I’m here with Lynce Espinoza. Lynce was living the life she always envisioned for herself, married a mom, a career she loved and healthy life was perfect. Little did Lindsey no life had much more in store for her 2017 was the beginning of a series of life events that would forever change her view on life. It would also force her to find peace, comfort and healing in the thing she least expected running. When Lynce started running, she was in during probably the hardest time in her life emotionally. Running saved her. It forced her to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Welcome to the show, Lynce.

Lynce Espinoza 1:31

Hi, Richard, I’m so excited to be here. And really just excited to share, you know, a little bit of my story and a little bit of what you know, got me into this thing that I just love so much, which is running. So thank you so much for having me.

Richard Conner 1:48

Well, thank you for being here. And I’m excited for you to share your story with our community with our listeners. Because I think a lot of people can relate to you know, some of the aspects of your journey and your story. And hopefully inspire them if they haven’t, you know, kind of made that decision or they’re struggling with whatever it is in their lives, you kind of take that next step in their life, in their life journey. So really excited to have you here to kind of, you know, share your story and inspire others.

Thank you. Thank you again, for having me. So, you know, let’s just kind of learn a little bit more about you. So I read a little bit in your bio, about your journey, kind of starting back in 2017.

Lynce Espinoza 2:25

So just, you know, kind of tell us a little bit about like, what was kind of going on during that time? Absolutely. So let’s see, it’s 2017. And I’m, I guess at that time, I was 36 years old, and really just living what I thought was the perfect life for the life that I envisioned for myself. You know, I was, I was married, I was happily married. I have I had a career that I absolutely love, which is in nonprofits and women’s health. And I was a mother I am a mother of three oldest stuff daughter, and then twins as you can relate. And I was healthy. But you know, and just kind of living. What I’ve always thought I would live the life that I envisioned, like I said just the life I think that every woman I think in general expects it to be. But then and 27 bit 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And really that was kind of the beginning of a series of events that really would change my life and really continues to change my life, even up until today. But yes, so diagnosed with 2017 really did not expect it at all, no family history of breast cancer. So just kind of one of those things that randomly happens. I go through a year of breast cancer treatment. You know, I feel like that year was a lot of quick decision making a lot of choices to be made a lot of you know, good thoughts and bad thoughts that came with that treatment. And really as I you know, talk about it now. It still continues some pieces still continue to be a blur. But I will say the one thing that will always be with me and still to this day impacts me is the moment that I heard those words. And that was the moment that that bumper sticker that everybody you know, has the Life is short, it really became a reality because I really had to face my mortality. I think most of us go on in life knowing that yes, you know, we can get into a car accident, we can have an accident or something happens. But it’s not until you face a diagnosis where you know while you’re waiting on results that you’re really having to face the fact that you could possibly die. I and so that was incredibly life changing. But thankfully, I get through treatment and everything goes as planned, I now will be six years in remission this November. But as a result of that life changing moment, it also had a big impact on my relationship in my marriage. Because what most people don’t understand about I think breast cancer survivors are survivors of cancer, or any, you know, diagnosis of that nature is we will now view live very different. We want to live our best life, we want to do all the things we didn’t, we’ve always wanted to do, you know, we want to embrace life and live it passionately. And those around us that love us are just glad that we survived, but they kind of want to move on with life, like we’re done, you survived. And let’s just get on, and it really doesn’t work like that. And so that unfortunately, cause, you know, changes in my relationship with my husband at the time. And then ultimately, we ended up separating, and then divorcing and 2019. Again, really just something unexpected, but it happened, and it was the best choice. Now I see that it was the best choice. Well, then and now. But you know, for everybody else, it makes more sense now. So yeah, so it’s 2019. And now, you know, I’m a single mom of three, you know, thriving, and then I embark on the dating world, which I had not experienced in 10 years. And whoa, let me tell you what a crazy ride. That is. It is wild. But I did meet somebody again, unexpectedly. And that turned into my first you know, post divorce relationship, which again, was kind of like this new thing that I hadn’t done in a really long time. But like many relationships, it just wasn’t good timing, and it ends up in a breakup. And that was kind of the big motivator of how I got into running. Because, you know, I’m still dealing, you know, even though I’ve moved on, I think you never really completely 100% heal so quickly from divorce. And then here I am, you know, ending a new relationship. And also, it was a start of the pandemic. You know, I think everything in those two years happened so fast that this really was the culmination emotionally of like, Oh, my God, like, I just went through divorce. I’m a single mom, I’m just breaking up with this person, you know, that I have feelings for it’s like, and now we’re in the pandemic. I’m a health care worker, like, Oh, my God, what is going on? Right? So I remember one day coming into the office and my co workers who are runners and run at lunch, you know, they’ve been inviting me to run for years, like, Hey, let’s go running along at lunchtime. I’m like, Y’all are totally crazy. But I remember coming into the office and just, you know, thinking to myself, you have two choices. You either can feel sorry for yourself, and go home after work every day, and you know, cry and just be sad. Or force yourself to try something new and go on a run with these girls. And maybe that’s what you need. So I did, I hated it. That very first drive on I hated it. And I can’t even say it was a run Richard it was like a jog, walk. And I think I got through maybe two miles. And I was dead. You know, I was like, woof, you know, and crazy. I still have that one picture. That’s one of my co workers snapped of me just like being on the floor with my hands over my head. And that was really my first run. Like, that’s how bad I felt. Also, let’s not forget, I live in Austin, Texas, and it was like 101 degrees at lunchtime, right? So it was just a combination of everything bad, you know, first time runner he and truthfully, I didn’t like it. But I had made a commitment that that is how I was going that is what I was going to pour, you know, all these emotions I was dealing with. And that is kind of the beginning of running for me. And what really became just a coping mechanism has now turned into the one thing in my life that is constant, the one thing I can always rely on and always Be there for me when I need it. It took me about a year, I would say to really fully fall in love with running, because mostly at the beginning, it was just getting on the trail and pouring out those emotions into running. I probably think there’s some people that I still bump into the trail early on that probably thought I was crazy, because I would run and be crying at the same time, you know. But that is, you know, that is kind of where all this started. And I am so incredibly thankful for going, you know, making that decision to take in going on that first run, because really running has saved me, and it continues to save me in the moments where I’m most needed. So yeah, and here we are.

Richard Conner 10:51

Wow, wow, that’s an incredible story and then see, and, you know, a first I want to say, It’s so wonderful to hear about to recovery, about I think you said six years and remission. So really wonderful to hear that after kind of the devastating news and the diagnosis, and I can’t relate to it personally. But I’ve definitely have relatives and family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and other cancers. And I personally work with nonprofit organizations to raise awareness about, you know, in particular, pancreatic cancer, but, you know, hopefully they do something around breast cancer, as well as another family member was impacted. So I appreciate you sharing that story. But also wonderful to hear about your recovery in remission. Thank you, you know, if somebody would have told me in 2017, that I would be running a marathon or even contemplating running, you know, an ultra marathon in that moment, and my health was just not where it was, right? Like I was undergoing treatment. And if somebody would have said that, I would have been like, you are absolutely crazy. Also, because I’ve never been an athlete my life, I didn’t grow up playing sports. I didn’t I mean, I was your average gym goer, probably when I you know, after I had my kids, but really just went to the gym and jumped on the elliptical and, you know, put on something on Netflix and thought I was working out. But yeah, and, you know, I firmly believe that, you know, even if you do go, you undergo a diagnosis like cancer, you can really come out of it so much stronger, even though in those early days. It’s something that’s not even tangible in that moment. Yeah, for sure. And I think that’s important for people to hear, number one about having, you know, some that diagnosis and really believing that you can survive that and come out of that, right. And then having that, that faith that you can do that. But also, you know, from a running perspective, you weren’t a runner, right. And now you became a runner. And I think that’s also important, because for whatever reason, running evokes such a strong emotion. And it’s a passion of mine, I understand that. Why some folks will say, Well, I’m not a runner. I hate running, therefore, I’m not going to run and why others are not runners say they hate running, but then it becomes part of their life and important part of their life, like in your case. So it’s really important, I think, for people to hear stories like like yours.

Lynce Espinoza 13:27

No, absolutely. You know, and I get that a lot for my friends that are that will say, Yeah, I hate running. I don’t know how you do it. But I think and me being one of those persons years ago to write with my co workers who would go running at lunch, I’d be like, they’re crazy. It’s like 100 degrees. But yeah, it really is, you know, it’s, it’s such a magical thing. It’s such a beautiful thing, mostly because I think with running, you not only get you know, the actual activity and getting those endorphins, but you also get to be outside. And I will say that something that also came along with running was falling in love with being outdoors, and appreciating the little things in life, like the sun, like the views, like the flowers on the trail, or the trees, because before running, those were things that I really never even stopped to give them a second thought like they were there, but I knew that were there. And now when I go running, it’s just you, you also get to appreciate that so much more. And really, it speaks to, you know that saying of it’s the little things in life that make you happy. And if they really do like when I get out in the trail, yes, I love to run but, you know, if the sun’s out, it just makes it even more pleasurable, and I’ll complain when it’s out and I into mild to and it’s hot. But you know, being able to just feel those little things and see those little things.

Richard Conner 15:07

It’s It’s amazing. Agree, Agree. And that’s something that I learned through the pandemic, actually. So I’ve been running for a number of years I’ve been running since high school, but it took a long time off, and then just started running a few years ago, but I’m a treadmill runner. So unless I was running a race, I’m running on a treadmill. And the pandemic forced me to get outside. And that’s a same experience, right? Just like, wow, this is like a whole new world that I didn’t even know existed because I’m either working in an office or I’m, you know, at home with the family or running on a treadmill in the gym. So definitely can appreciate that. And I think that’s interesting for for others as a way to just kind of get outdoors and just kind of get outside of your normal day to day habits and really enjoy the world. Absolutely. And really props to you. Because as most of us runners call it the treadmill, it is dreadful. Like don’t get me wrong, you know, it’s it’s good when you need it. But man, you know, I’ve done the opposite. I ran, I started running outdoors. And so when I had my first treadmill run, I was like, I just ran 10 miles to nowhere. But yeah, yeah, I probably won’t be doing that. If I’m gonna do 10 miles, I’m gonna brave the heat or the snow or the rain for 10 miles. But, but for sure, and I found balance. Like I think that if it’s, you know, inclement weather, where I’m like, No, I’m not really going to run outdoors. Today I’ll do the treadmill. Or if I’m doing speed work, or something where I feel like the treadmill can can benefit me, then I’ll do it. But I’ve really found balance where I can get on in the trails I get on the road, I can enjoy the sun. But there’s other days where I’m like, I have to do my workout in the gym. So I have to kind of grin and bear it and deal with the treadmill.

Lynce Espinoza 16:53

Absolutely. And you know what, it comes in handy for the no excuses. You know, if it’s too cold outside, or you know, in Texas, it does get really hot. You don’t have an excuse, you know, the the treadmill works just as fine.

Richard Conner 17:09

True story. True story. Well, thank you for sharing that. Thank you for sharing your journey. Really fascinating journey in terms of how you got into running. And you know, I’d love to hear more about that. So you said your first year was hard. So tell us a little bit about that. And tell us about you know, some fun experiences that you’ve had along the way? Yeah. So like I mentioned before, not a runner, I don’t how was any entity, I start running, I was walking and jogging. And it just, you know, I was I became dedicated for healing. And really, I was running because I was trying to just heal emotionally. And I started just going running with my co workers who were running during lunch. And you know, I’d say y’all go do your thing. I’m right behind y’all. And essentially what happened as the days and the weeks and the months went by is, you know, the jogging became running. And then with that, you know, came healing. And I would say that probably at the three or four month marker, I was really able to run like a solid three to five miles without stopping. And, you know, things just started to come together for me. And I can’t really pinpoint the moment that the lights were just turned on. But it went from you know, running because I’m healing to. I’m healed. And now I’m running because I really love it. I will say a big piece of starting to run is dedication. You know, we talk a lot about being motivated. I will tell you, I was zero motivated in the beginning. You know, I came to work Emotionally, I was sad. And you know, I was dealing with so many things and processing things that I thought I had already processed. But I think one of the things that, you know, running did for me really early on and it forced me to be alone with my thoughts. It really forced me to have to be raw and real and be present with what I was going going through because, you know, when I was at work, I was distracted with work. When I was at home, I would be distracted with friends or with my kids. But running just forced me to go there. And I think that’s why a lot of my early runs. You know, I would cry for a mile because I was having a you know, it was just me and my thoughts. But yes, I don’t know where that switch just you know, it flipped and it was like okay, like I’m really loving this. And so when that happened, you know. That’s really where something in my mind just kind of changed. And I was like, Okay, so now let me set some goals. And let me you know, really work at this because I’m really loving it. So that first year and again, we’re in the middle of pandemic two. And I am a health care worker that even though I work and I work in nonprofits, and I, you know, work with women’s health, a lot of my work is administrative work. I’m a project manager, but I became essential, because the way that we delivered health care essentially changed overnight. And that fell a lot of me to figure out well, now how are we going to deliver care remotely. And so you know, so yeah, the switch, you know, flipped on and it went from using running as a coping mechanism to just falling in love with it. And what I decided to do that year was really give running some dedication. So it really became part of my everyday life. And when I say that, it really became part of my everyday life, it was just as important as eating, drinking and sleeping, and how that translated for me was I scheduled my runs. And I kept, you know, I didn’t let anything deter me from making that run. Meaning just, you know, especially being single now, and having a social scene, I basically never went out on a Friday, because I always had a long run on the Saturday, I also had to get creative, because I was using my lunch hour to go run. Because, you know, I had other things that I had to do at home, I wanted to really find some work life balance, and you know how to get creative. And instead of spending that one hour socializing with people at work, or going out to eat, I was running, but I never miss a run for that first year, I knew it was really, really important for me to really build that foundation in that first year. Because ultimately, I think that’s how things are, you know, become so part of your life. And again, just thinking about the past, when I would go to the gym, or if somebody said, Hey, you know, let’s go to happy hour, okay, I’ll skip the gym. But now, you know, in that first year, that was so important. And really, you know, for anybody out there who’s thinking about starting to run, I would say that is such an important piece is prioritizing your runs and really not letting anything get in the way. Because you’re really going to build that foundation. And now fast forward, it’ll be three years since I started running, you know, people around you also adapt to that, because now when people invite me out to do anything, they’re like, Hey, what is your running schedule look like? You know, what do you have free and so, you know, all of that, I think, is just came from really being dedicated in that first year. So that is that is, you know, my number one tip, I would say, for anybody who’s thinking of starting running, I love that. I love that. So I love first how you made the transition from not enjoying the runs, to actually enjoying what you’re doing, and then building the habits and making it a part of your life. Because it’s a part of us, right? It’s, it’s not something that’s completely separate thing that we do, it’s a part of our life, like working in like home and family and friends. So sharing that that’s, that’s really, and I think some of the really neat things that have come from, you know, becoming a runner is exactly what I’m doing here. Right. So after my divorce, I closed my Instagram because it felt so personal. And I started this new one. And I was like, I don’t really know what to do with it anymore. Like I kind of get tired of posting pics of the kids and all that. And when I started running, I was like, You know what, this is my way to keep myself accountable like this is. And so I was posting my runs just for myself. I didn’t realize the amazing and robust community of runners that existed. You know, I started, you know, being followed by other people who were probably on the same journey. And then as my followers grew connecting with, like true elite runners that are out there, like really doing their thing. But I think the best thing of all of that is at the end regardless what I’ve learned is regardless of where they’re at, or where we’re at in our journey of runners, everybody just motivates each other. Because at the end of the day, we’re runners, we’re all doing the same thing. It’s been really neat to all to connect and actually meet people that I’ve met through Instagram, meet them in person, you know, I’ve, you know, they’ve come to Austin for races and I’ve met up with them. Also just meeting people here locally that I probably wouldn’t meet if I wasn’t a runner. And I think the other thing is just all the amazing friendships that I fostered through Instagram and that running community that I have never met. But I swear, I feel like I’m best friends with some of them. So that has really been the neat part. Also, I think the other thing that has been important for me is, you know, as I set those goals in life came back to normal after the pandemic, is actually being able to be or sign up for a race and be part of that many times during the pandemic, I ran the miles, I ran many half marathons, but never got to actually participate in a race. And so my first half marathon was here locally, in Austin, I did the Austin half marathon, and I cannot even put in words how, you know, just being there president, how amazing being around other runners in person and just the adrenaline and you know, you it’s so palpable. And so that led to me, you know, running, signing up for a half marathon that I did in February. And I don’t know my motto, I guess, in life has always been Go big or go home. And so now I’m prepping for my first Ultra.

That’s super cool. And see, that’s so cool how you did that the half marathon and then next year doing the Ultra, which, honestly, that scares me, like, I ran my first half marathon just three months ago, or three years ago. Never thought I could do it. Now I’m thinking about doing the marathon. So I don’t know, maybe once you hit those milestones you think about like, what’s next? And, you know, I’m glad that you shared that because actually, one of the questions that I like to ask is, as we talk about mindset, movement and motivation, I always like to see like, what’s next for you, like, what’s what keeps you going, what keeps you moving? What keeps you, you know, kind of sticking to the good habits that you’ve built over the last couple of years. And it feels like that Ultra is kind of that next big goal that you’re going to be working towards?

Lynce Espinoza 27:26

Yeah. So you know, I think a big reason why I continue to run, of course, I love it. But it’s all the benefits that it really brings into my life. And not just physically, of course, I know that I’m out running, and it’s cardio, and it’s good for my health. But it’s also what keeps me how I say, it’s always what keeps me sane, it’s what keeps me centered and focused, emotionally, and mentally. It’s that one constant in my life that I can really count on beside my therapist. But, you know, whenever I have, I’m dealing with a difficult moment in life, whether it’s having to make a big decision, or just, you know, dealing with something emotionally. Running is what I turned to, and I go on a run. And that is what really just helps me and all the aspects. And really isn’t that what we’re all looking for right to be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally and really running. does that for me. And I will say this, and for anybody who’s contemplating running or thinking of running or is a runner, you know, you’re always a runner. And it doesn’t matter if you’re running one mile, or you’re running ultra marathons. I think something that I have really learned from being in this amazing community of runners on Instagram is that we’re all types of runners. So there’s runners that are really doing it to be elite athletes. And there’s, you know, others that are doing it because they love to sign up for all the races and get all those medals. And then you have people like me, I’ve always said I’m not a metal runner. I love I run because I love it. And that’s okay. And you know, I don’t for me, running is just what I love. Will I sign up for race? Do I have goals? Absolutely. But I think at the end of the day, you know, I really just like to challenge myself. And I really only want to compete with myself, I want to be a better version of who I was yesterday. And all those runners who are out there being the best they can. They’re a huge motivator for me, because I see them and they really really inspire me. And you know, that’s another thing that I really will tell anybody who wants to start running is I know social media how sometimes has a bad rap because, you know, I mean, it’s people don’t use it sometimes maturely. But that is such a big piece of my life. Now, you know, that is where I get a lot of my motivation. I’ve made so many friends that I can actually reach out to and say like, Hey, you know, what do you recommend for this? Or, you know, I’m now starting, I’m thinking I’m doing an ultra marathon. Give me all your tips. So, so yeah, that is really a big piece. But yes, so for me, it’s just continuing to foster this love for running. So 50 mile marathon on the trail that I started running, I couldn’t imagine anything else. I swear, I almost was in tears when I realized because I totally forgot that this is the third year that they’re doing a 50 mile ultra marathon on the trail that I started running. And that is so huge for me, and it’s going to be I think, so emotional for me. Because and even now I thinking about it, you know, I cry because I get teary eyed because I think about just those really early days. So that’s gonna be really big for me. And I think after 50 miles for myself, 100 miles, and after that 150 And I think that that will really satisfy you know, I’ll be satisfied by then. And just after that, I don’t know. But really, it’s just continuing to love to run because I love it.

Richard Conner 31:31

Love it. Love it. Lynce, thank you so much. Love your story. Congratulations on your journey, you cheese so much in a short period of time or last couple of years. And I love running has done for you and what continues to do for you. So, you know, thank you for sharing your story again, with our community with our listeners, I’m sure you’re going to inspire others to you know, either make a change in their life, live life to the fullest or continue on their journey. They’ve already started kind of on their running journey. And your story is certainly inspirational. And good luck to you for the 50 miler on the trail you started. That’s super cool, too. So you know, just kind of as we wind down here, how can our inspire to run community find you and follow your incredible journey online?

Lynce Espinoza 32:19

Yeah, so I, I’m on Instagram, and my handle is Lynceslife. And you know, you’ll mostly find running content. But really, it’s just sharing my life. I’m a very open book. I’m very transparent. And I think that’s really important. You’ll find not only running, but also just, you know, still living life as a breast cancer survivor. I mean, I’m sitting here recording with you, I think I’m six days post op from a surgery that went not as expected, but also being real. And being a mom and being you know, working in nonprofit, you’ll get to see a lot of those little snippets in my life. Because I think that is what really is important is to show people that you can be a runner, and you can really commit to those things, all while you know, we’re living this rat race. So yeah, Lynce’s handle, and come over, join the community add me I’ll follow you back. And let’s just motivate each other. Love it. Love it. Let’s see. Thank you so much. Thank you again, for coming on the show. And you just reminded me six days post op, so definitely appreciate you doing that. But But yeah, thanks. Thanks again, for everything that you shared. I’ll put that information in the show notes to make it easy for our listeners to find and follow your incredible journey online. So with that, thanks and have a great day. You too. Thank you for having me.

Intro/Outro 33:51

That’s it for this episode of inspired to run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our community. And also please rate in review. Thanks for listening

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