Race for a Soldier #mindbodyspirit

Hi Team ExoSym,

It was awesome meeting so many of you last weekend at the Race for a Soldier in Gig Harbor. So proud of everyone who came out to take part in the 5k and 1/2 marathon – we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day! (I even clocked a faster 1/2 marathon finish, so was pretty happy with that. ☺) But most importantly, I was filled with the blessing of the people I have come to know through this team – across ages, abilities, injuries, conditions, and length of time in the device – we are all a family, united by the will for a better quality of life and the determination to fight for it. We are #TeamExoSym.

And without a doubt, a huge thank you to Ryan Blanck and Jared Williamson – whom without these two men, many of us wouldn’t be where we are today. Few people are as dedicated and caring as these two – enough to even spend their Sunday with us taking part in the race, not just as spectators, but as friends and coaches – helping us through.

Below are a few pictures from the event:

#nevergiveup

Team ExoSym (how many ExoSym’s can you count?)

For many including myself, 2017 has been a challenging year and while it’s not always easy to do, sometimes we just have to stop, breathe, and honor our own self-care. With that being said, I’ve decided to take some time away from ExoSymplyAmazing. My hope for you all is that you continue to keep the faith, believe in yourselves, and cherish the gift of today. Know I will be doing the same. ♥

May this blog continue to be a resource for you along your journey and may your ExoSym always be a reminder that even on your hardest day, you are stronger than you know. #nevergiveup

All the best,

Beth

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING

A New Journey

In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. 👣

In 2011, when I injured my ankle and surgeries went from bad to worse, all I wanted were two things: (1) to find a way to live an active, full life without pain (whatever it took) & (2) for God to use my injury for something good; to make a difference with my life. In 2013, I received the ExoSym through the Hanger Clinic which changed my life – answering prayer #1. About a year later, I started this blog with the hopes of inspiring fellow ExoSym patients to always believe in themselves & never give up. I am honored to call these patients (you all!) my friends. 👫

Today, I’m super excited to say… I’ve accepted a full-time position to run Hanger Clinic’s social media platforms company-wide, supporting and connecting patients across all devices, further fulfilling dream #2: to make a difference in people’s lives through what I believe is lifting patients up & giving them the inspiration they need to carry on.  Life is crazy isn’t it? Never once did I imagine this year turning out as it has (what a year it’s been…), but God continues to pull me through time and time again. Looking back in 2011, I never thought a leg injury would change my life forever either, but we never know what God has planned, which is why we must always keep the faith even when we don’t understand. 💗 As I step forward in this new journey, I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and for everyone who has touched my life along the way – namely, Ryan Blanck, who from the moment I reached out to him about the ExoSym, was the first person to give me a chance when all hope seemed lost. This is the heart of the Hanger Clinic – empowering human potential – giving people a second chance at living a full life – I am honored to continue spreading the light for a company that has impacted my life so greatly.

Stay tuned… and keep going strong friends. PS – Hope to see you all at the Race for a Solider in September! If you haven’t been before, it’s a really fun time to meet other Exobuddies (🤗) and support our veterans! Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Never stop believing. xo

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing

Back on Course.

Hi Exo Fam,

I’m excited to say that I am back on course! This past Sunday, I ran my first race (a 10k) since my car accident in December! (*happy dance*) I’m actually still laughing because I thought when I signed up it said the race was a road course, but it ended up being a hybrid trail race… luckily ExoSym likes a little rocky dirt action. ☺ As I look back at the last eight months, it’s no doubt been a tough year and in some ways I don’t know how I made it through this time, but to say it was Christ’s strength and not my own that carried me through. The journey back from life’s challenges is never easy, but we never walk alone. ♥

First race back!

A couple weeks ago, I also wrapped up my therapy thanks to my amazing therapy team at Texas PTS. For 7.5 months, this team stood by my side pushing me through my recovery. They got me so far and I am forever grateful for their dedication and compassion. This team never stopped believing in me. In life, we never know what challenges we will face, but I believe and have seen it throughout my life, that God always puts the right people on our path when we need them the most. (#ryanblanck)

My PT Team 🙂

My wish for each of you is that when you face hard times, you look to the strength within you and never let someone tell you what you can or cannot do. If I had listened to the doctors who told me I would never run again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They may know the odds, but they don’t know you. ♥

#exostrong

A big shoutout to all my Exobuddies and the Hanger Team who have encouraged me throughout this year as I recovered from my accident. The ExoSym group is truly a family of its own. Thank you is not enough for how much your support has meant to me. Big hug from Texas! Love to you all. I am back on course! TEAM EXOSYM. NEVER GIVE UP.

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING

Create Joy. Honor the Struggle.

Hi Exo buddies,

Hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a challenging five months for me working hard through therapy from my car accident in December and starting a new job as well. Hard to believe this much time has passed. Because of my recovery, it’s taken me awhile to get back to the blog & insta and I will probably be writing a little more sparingly than I have in previous years, but today I wanted to share a little of what’s been on my heart.

As humans, we seek joy. We pursue happiness. We avoid hardships. But sometimes, life knocks us down and it can feel like joy leaves us. How do we find it again? How do we embrace our struggles but rise above them?

What I’ve learned through life is that we go through seasons where joy is abundant; we feel good, our family is healthy, we are chasing our dreams, life is going well, the sun is shining. In these times, it feels like joy comes easily, but then in other seasons sickness happens, accidents occur, injuries, hardships… in these times, we can feel like joy is lost and we are alone without a roadmap on how to get back. In these seasons of darkness, it’s up to us to find the joy and not wait for it to show up. We have to create it and it starts with accepting what is in front of us. We must honor our struggles and not hate them. For me, a big part of this is tapping into faith. I am believer that everything happens for a reason and though circumstances come that we may not understand or willingly want, nothing happens without the Father knowing. So if this is the season He has me in, I will lean into that and find joy where He has me. It’s not always easy… in fact it can be painful, but trusting God in the dark is where we find our faith and where we learn to lean on Him.

Last year, I felt on top of the world. Running in races, competing in events across the US, meeting Exo buddies, doing adventures… it was pretty ExoSymplyAmazing to say the least – probably one of the best years of my life… so much JOY. And then I was hit by a car, on the way back from a Dallas trip in December, and life got really hard again. Right when I thought “Wow, life is pretty #ExoSymplyAmazing nothing can stop me now“… it did. My world crashed. And it’s been hard, but you know what? I’m here to tell you, you can get through it. You can find joy again in any situation you face, but you must learn to honor the struggle. Embrace the hardship, don’t hate it. Lean into the Spirit, keep the faith.

In many ways I think life is like getting a haircut. Sometimes you get one you really love and then sometimes you get one and think OMG… What am I going to do? How am I going to get through the next several months with this? Just like a bad haircut, there are times in life when you wish circumstances were different. I wish I hadn’t played in that soccer game where I hurt my ankle. I wish I hadn’t been in a car accident. But just like we have to find a way to embrace a bad haircut, we have to find a way to do that with our lives too. We have to change the way we see our circumstances (our bad haircuts) and realize that in time things will get better, but we have to make a conscious choice to believe that and act on it. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about it. Let’s face it, we’re going to get a lot of haircuts in life – some we will like and some we won’t. Life is the same way. Some things we are going to like and some we won’t. But we can’t stop getting haircuts just because we had a bad one or even several bad ones. The same goes for life, we have to keep stepping out every day. We have to create joy in the hard times and honor the bad haircuts of life, not hate them. For hating them does nothing but steal our joy. So whatever you are facing today – know that you can get through it, but it’s a choice.

Hurting my ankle in a soccer game in 2011 changed my life forever. Life looked bleak (pretty bad haircut) but I made a choice to create joy and honor the struggle. In 2013, I received the ExoSym device and it’s been a pretty ExoSymplyAmazing ride. If I had given up, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And just like now, through this car accident (another unfortunate haircut), I will not give up. I will create joy, honor the struggle and keep the faith.

My hope for you today is that you choose to embrace every bad haircut in life by changing the way you see it. ❤ NEVER GIVE UP.

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing

Bring the joy, don’t wait for it.

Honor the struggle, don’t hate it.

-Brandon Burchard

Ask Yourself.

Hello Everyone! I have some exciting news to share. ☺ After three weeks of competing in a national online qualifier CrossFit competition (called Wodapalooza) with athletes from across the globe, I found out last weekend that I qualified to move on & compete at the competition in Miami in January 2017! I will be competing in the Standing Adaptive Rx Women’s Division. {As described by Wodapalooza, “The Standing Adaptive Rx division is designated for the competitive athlete seeking to compete amongst the best of the best in this division. Athletes MUST be able to meet the movement standards outlined below. Only the top 5 of each gender will qualify to compete in this division.”}

Rx Standing

Clean: 115/75lbs

Press: 135/95lbs

Wallballs: 20/14lbs to 10ft/9ft

Skills: Burpees (floor to chest), double-unders (jump rope), 12ft Rope Climb, Swim unassisted

wodapalooza

When I started CrossFit a year ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into – and sometimes I still don’t ☺ but I think that’s part of the joy of life. There is something special about tapping into your potential & pushing yourself towards goals you never considered or even thought possible. I think it’s important to ask yourself what it is YOU want to do. The potential is there. You don’t have to have it all planned out. Did I? Do I? No, but I don’t think you need to. You just gotta start somewhere. When I received the ExoSym, I started where many of you are now starting (or soon will be). I went through the physical therapy & learned to walk properly again and use the device and step by step, month by month, I started making progress… and I began to see my potential… and for the first time in a long time, I started setting goals again. No longer was I held back by my injury. So I asked myself what I wanted to do with this new gift of mobility & it’s taken me on a pretty ExoSymplyAmazing journey! Has it been easy? No. Have I had to put in the work? Yes. Has it been worth it? 100x YES! Coming up on three years in the device next month, I continue to try new things and I don’t have any plans to stop. ☺

Next up: ExoSym (IDEO) patient Lisa and I will be heading to Maryland next weekend (Oct 29) to compete at the Working Wounded Games! As some of you may remember, Lisa and I competed at the WWG this past March in North Carolina so we are excited to meet up again. Stay tuned for updates!

As you go on your way this week, take a moment and ask yourself what it is you want to do. Write it out. Dream it. Believe it. And then just start. Start slow. Start somewhere. The key is that you start. ♥

crossfit python

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING

Team ExoSym Takes on Zilker Relay

This past Friday, I had the privilege of competing in a 10 mile relay race with two other Austin ExoSym patients, Lisa and Bryan. Not only was this their first race in the device, but it was also a chance for us to support a fellow ExoSym buddy, Jeff, who is battling cancer.  ♥

Here’s a breakdown of how the race went:

Leg 1: Beth (2.5 miles)

Leg 2: Bryan (2.5 miles)

Leg 3: Lisa (2.5 miles)

Leg 4: Beth (2.5 miles)

Watching Lisa and Bryan complete their first race in their devices is a memory I will never forget. To see the smiles on their faces as they crossed the finish line is something I will always remember. For Bryan, a guy who has battled through a clubfoot condition for his entire life and Lisa, a woman who has struggled with traumatic arthritis in her ankle for many years, signing up for an event like this just wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the ExoSym device. As the race came to a close, we couldn’t help but think how incredible it was for us all to be there – different walks of life, different reasons for needing the device, yet one thing in common: we are united by the ExoSym. We are one. We are Team ExoSym.

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Next up: I’ll be traveling to Hawaii to visit ExoSym (IDEO) patient Dominique! Stay tuned for more adventures to come. ☺ #exosymtakesonhawaii

As you go on your way this week, I challenge you to reach out to a fellow ExoSym buddy and see what you can do to be a friend to them, encourage them, or if you live close by, maybe even try to meet up! We all have the ability to make a difference.  ♥

Stay strong everyone and never forget, we are a team. #teamexosym

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing

100 miles #TeamExoSym

Where to begin. What an incredible weekend filled with sweat, smiles, and hard work. Pretty ExoSymplyAmazing if you ask me! ☺  Side by side, ExoSym (IDEO) patient Liz Edwards and I biked 100 miles in the Hotter’N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, TX. Certainly a day that we will never forget. What started as 13,000 riders, dwindled as the day went on but Liz and I held in there! Mile after mile, hour after hour, banana after banana, we kept each other going all the way to the end. Linking arms as we crossed the finish, Liz and I hugged (& may have shed a few tears), knowing this was something that just wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Ryan Blanck and the ExoSym device. ♥ 

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I learned a lot about Liz during the race (100 miles is a long way… ☺), but most importantly, I got to know a person who truly knows no limits. This girl loves life with all it has to offer and never gives up. For 100 miles, Liz smiled and pushed through, never once losing her cheerful spirit. A true fighter, overcoming so much with her injury to get where she is today — an inspiration to all who know her and definitely to me. ♥

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As you go on your way this week, take a moment to remind yourself of who YOU are. We are all capable of more than we know. With heart, strength, determination and a never give up spirit, anything is possible. “You’ve got what it takes, but it will take everything you’ve got.” #TeamExoSym

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING

Redefining Possibilities.

This past Saturday, I rode the farthest I’ve ever ridden in my life. 80 miles in one day. It was my last long training ride before the Hotter than Hell 100, which is just twelve days away now! Woo hoo! Six hours on the saddle through two rainstorms, a flat tire, 9.5 water bottles (I get thirsty ☺) and the hills of Austin, would probably cause some people to question my sanity, but to me, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. With sweat dripping down my face, as I climbed hill after hill, hour after hour, I couldn’t help but smile, this is what it means to be alive. This is what it means to redefine what’s possible. ♥ There was a time when riding 10 miles seemed like a feat, then after reaching that goal, I knew I could hit 20, 30, 40, 50..80, and soon 100 (and who knows maybe one day 500!). Hitting 80 miles on Saturday reminded me that we can always do more than we think we can and we can always keep going longer than we think we ever could. These last several weeks I’ve been cranking out some serious weekly mileage prepping for the HH100 and I can feel myself getting stronger with each ride. With every goal reached, my vision of what’s possible gets a little bit bigger.

As some of you may know, two weeks ago, I competed in a team CrossFit competition called the Catalyst Games in ATX. An incredible three day event consisting of six team workouts. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I LOVED every minute of it. ☺ Something about competing just brings out the inner ExoNinja in me. From rowing, to sprinting, to lifting, to jumping… I couldn’t help but point to the sky and thank God for this blessing. As the games came to a close, I thought to myself “Catalyst” — how perfect. That’s exactly what the ExoSym (IDEO) is — a catalyst for change. A catalyst for redefining what’s possible.

So as you go on your way this week, remember one thing, redefining what’s “possible” isn’t just a lofty goal, it’s something you can work on every day. Keep climbing. Keep believing. Keep smiling. Keep redefining. ♥

crossfit

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING

Paint Your Canvas

Each and every day is a canvas waiting to be painted.” – Craig Sager

On Wednesday night at the ESPYs, Craig Sager (NBA sportscaster) accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, which is an award given to those in sports who have overcome obstacles with perseverance and determination. Craig has been battling leukemia with a fighting spirit since 2014 and his “never give up” attitude has inspired many across the nation. If you haven’t had a chance to hear his acceptance speech, here is a short clip.

In his speech, Craig talked about living life to the fullest, no matter what your circumstances and to remember that your time is limited. You must LIVE each day despite your challenges. “Time is something that cannot be bought, it cannot be wagered with God, it’s not in endless supply. Time is simply how your live your life. The way you think influences the way you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act.”

Although the magnitude of a cancer diagnosis is an entirely different set of challenges from what many of us face, I think Craig’s message is something we can all take to heart and live out in our own lives. Time is short. Each day is a blank canvas. Every day you have is a day to celebrate and live to the fullest. Why? Because YOU CAN. While injuries, illnesses, and setbacks are something we all hope to avoid in life, it’s in these hardships that we summon an appreciation for life itself — and the attitude of never giving up. ♥

To be given a second chance with the ExoSym hasn’t just given me my life back, it’s changed my entire perspective. I wake up every day ready to paint my canvas (and not just a small one — a really big, colorful one!). I choose to live each day with passion, knowing that time is precious and that every day is truly an ExoSymplyAmazing gift.

So speaking of canvases… below is a quick overview of my canvas from the last couple weeks ☺

Fashion: Yay summer! Time for flowy skirts and colorful dresses. As mentioned on a previous post, I recommend looking for skirts and dresses that hit right above the knee — tends to be a flattering look for the device and your ExoSymplyAmazing leg.

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Fitness: Where to start… (my largest part of the canvas) – I’ve been out swimming, running, riding my bike (getting reading for the HH100 on August 27), and of course CrossFit. My best advice is to find something you love and just keep at it! Riding 100K this Sunday… call me crazy or call it ExoSymplyAmazing. ☺ Oh, and my kickball team won the championship last week — woo hoo! #kickingrassandtakingnames

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Shoes: Below is a snapshot of the current shoes in my closet. Brooks just released the Glycerin 14, which as you can see in terms of color schemes, looks pretty similar to the 13, but they’ve updated the material and fit. Feels really good. Check em out here! As always, shout out to South Sound Running in Tacoma for allowing us ExoSym patients to purchase in mismatched sizes. Don’t know what I would do without them! #shoelove (13’s are on top row and 14’s are pictured on second row). These colors go really well with outfits! (note: these are the men’s versions, which is what I wear for sizing).

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So, my friends, as you go on your way this weekend, take a moment to reflect on what type of canvas you are painting. You are the artist. You decide the strokes. Time is short. There is so much opportunity out there to make a difference in the world and to be the best YOU can be. Use what you’ve been through as fuel. Live grateful. Live strong. Live with passion. Paint big strokes. Never give up. ♥

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAmazing

Pursue Life Big.

Wow! Where to begin. Having just returned a few days ago from an endurance adventure race in Santa Barbara, California with Hanger Clinic ExoSym (IDEO) patient Dominique & the Project Athena Foundation, my legs are heavy but my heart is full. ☺ For 26 hours we kayaked, mountain biked and hiked over 74 miles and up 7K ft elevation gain – a truly incredible experience with amazing teammates! I am left wondering if there is truthfully anything the ExoSym (IDEO) cannot handle…

dom & beth

ExoSym buddies

Most notably, I want to give an ExoSymplyAmazing shoutout to Dominique who not only KILLED it on the race (& I’m serious she rocked it!!), but handled it like a pro with so much passion and perseverance. There were multiple times in our 20 weeks of intense training (& during the long hours of the race itself) when she could have easily given up, but that’s not who Dominique is. She pressed on gaining strength and confidence along the way and I am so proud of her and the person she has become in this journey. I have no doubt this is only the beginning of many more adventures for her to come!  A reminder that the ExoSym program is a journey and every day is a new day to build upon the person that you are and always knew you could be.

My mission for you all is to really stop and think about a goal you have wanted to reach. It doesn’t need to be anything extraordinary but just start somewhere. I didn’t get my ExoSym in 2013 and set off to run a half-marathon or race for 24 hours.  I started from ground zero just like all of you who are getting your devices for the first time. It took time and a lot of hard work (& it still does!) but what I’ve found in these accomplishments isn’t the accolade of the feat itself, but the feeling I get knowing that with each new challenge I have raised the bar for myself and vision of what is possible. My hope is that you find strength in these stories to pursue life big. Pursue what you always knew you could. ♥

#beYOU #beAMAZING #ExoSymplyAMAZING