“This year has been a huge year of mental transformation.” 

Heather Quinlan, who penned Happy Pace Diaries for the MRG blog a few years back, shares the significant mindset change she’s experienced in recent time—and how this has affected her running and overall wellness—on this latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast. Heather, who is from Sterling Heights, has always been open and honest about her health journey—she once wrote about her weight “fluctuating anywhere between 360-390 lbs.” in 2010, the year she felt something stir within her as she watched her sister-in-law run her first half marathon—and this conversation is no different. 

“I don’t think there’s been any one thing that’s happened, like a lightbulb moment. I think it’s been a host of things that have happened over time,” she says. 

To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this post. Or, download the episode (and subscribe to the show!) using your favorite podcast app.

Heather had become a runner, with her favorite race the Detroit Half Marathon, but in 2015, “I hit a bad spot.”  

“I have an anxiety disorder, like many people do … and running was hard for me. It was hard for me to get back into the ring … I just kind of lost my mojo. I was losing myself a little bit again.” 

Things began to turn around when she joined a new gym about two years ago. It was a slow and gradual change as she spent more time with people she describes as family. “It took time. You sign up for a gym, or you decide to do something big, and you think this is going to change everything right away. And it doesn’t. It took me some time to find my way.”

“When you put yourself around like-minded people who get you and encourage you, and want to see you succeed … I think it just started to come back to me. This gym really focuses on the mental aspect of health and wellness and nutrition. I just started to make that a priority. I kind of shifted that mindset of what do I have to do, to what do I get to do.”

Heather says focusing on gratitude has been huge. Community also is integral.

“I’m huge on community. The gym I go to now is community. It’s like family. I truly believe you can enjoy hard, challenging physical work … it’s fun to work out. It’s fun to go someplace where you feel valued.”

Read Heather Quinlan’s blog posts for MRG here:

Her first Happy Pace Diaries post.

Crossing paths with another runner (when you need it the most):

Feeling renewed as a runner … thanks to the treadmill:

‘In my eyes and in my heart, I am a runner’:

Bayshore Half Marathon race recap:

New Beginnings:

Running 13.1 in Chicago with Friends:

10 (from the heart) Tips to Get Started Running:

No Regrets:

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.

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