TYLER, Texas — When you think of a triathlon — a race for the fittest runners, swimmers and cyclists probably comes to mind. However, on Saturday, October 26, an entirely different triathlon is happening at the True Vine Brewing Company in Tyler. The Adventum Mindfulness Triathlon is inclusive and designed to focus on your mental health.
Colleen Long is a wife, mother and career woman, who like many others, has experienced darkness.
"I had a car accident and a traumatic brain injury. That was in 2012 and it just kept getting worse and worse," Colleen said. "My world kept getting smaller and smaller to the size of my fears.
She began to struggle with anxiety and depression.
"I didn't know what to do with what I was experiencing," Colleen said. "I never had a brain injury before, and going from pursuing a career, being healthy and athletic and all those things, to having to literally lay in your bed and not do anything was really hard. It makes you think about a lot of stuff too."
On top of that, a personal loss compounded the pain she was feeling.
"I had my first miscarriage in 2015 and it was during that time that I needed something more than just talking about it," Colleen said. "I really didn't know what I needed."
During this time, she discovered running, yoga and mindfulness helped with her anxiety and depression. However, not only did these coping tools help her process the loss of her pregnancy, but she says it empowered her.
"Those tools helped me navigate my grief and my anxiety and depression, and it changed me so profoundly that I wanted to turn around and share those tools with everyone, Colleen said."
It's a journey she shares in hopes of helping others who are hurting and dealing with mental illness and why she started the Adventum Mindfulness Triathlon in Tyler. The triathlon includes a two mile run or walk, 45 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of meditation.
The triathlon addresses three barriers, the first is removing the stigma associated with mental illness. "We want to bring people to the event and create a safe, non-judgmental space," she said. "I want people to know that it's okay to talk about these things. Everybody struggles with something."
The mindfulness triathlon also offers resources. "Everyone's healing journey is different," she said. "Some people may not be ready to talk to a counselor, but maybe they're hungry for community, so we have gyms and yoga studios. We also have the health side: counselors, chiropractors and functional medicine."
"If there is anything I can do to offer hope or a sense of community to feel loved and belonged, I'll do that," Colleen said. The hope is to transform people's mind, body and spirit.
You can still register for the Adventum Mindfulness Triathlon until tomorrow Saturday, October 26 from 8 a.m. until noon.
You will also walk away with a swag bag full of resources to help you in elevating your mental health.