We know more today about what causes cancer and how it develops than we ever did before. We now know about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight. Though being active can sometimes feel like a daunting task, Sarah Murrell shares with us how physical activity and a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a scripted chore.
When I wake each morning I try to clear my mind. I know today holds a new discovery for me. When my body begins to move and I lose track of my steps, I know the journey has begun. I brush my knuckle against a hard granite wall; I do not feel pain. I see the top and I won’t give up, two feet or all fours, I’ll make it to the finish line. Beside me, you’ll see my companion dog, Doc moving faster and pushing me on. Shadows of adrenaline enthusiasts and the mighty Chief Mountain hover overhead. There are no boundaries or walls to stop me.
Climbing is where I feel the most at home. Whether I’m out placing gear in a beautiful crack or sport climbing some rough rock, I know each climb is pushing me closer to my goals. I get into a rhythm and nothing or no one can hold me back. Touching the rock, feeling the chalk slip off my fingers and leaving it behind in my dust, is exhilarating. I love having the feeling of a challenge. If I leave a crag knowing that I didn’t put all of myself into a climb it will eat me up for days. Knowing that I must give it my all, whatever the outcome may be, will help me overcome it. Thankfully, Squamish is a climber’s paradise. I learned to climb through some friends and with my husband. We got our first rope the year before we were married and haven’t stopped since. We have met many folks in our area that have guided us up more difficult multi-pitches and helped us progress over the years.
A few years back, my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 3 Non – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer that originates in your lymphatic system). When I watched my Dad lay in a hospital bed day after day, my wish for good health increased. When you see a loved one struggle with such pain and when you see them wish to be outside living life – it pushes you to GET GOING! I take full advantage of each day because of my dad; I know that in an instant anything can change. Luckily he is a survivor; however, doctors say he may never be completely cancer free.
Living in Squamish, the Outdoor Recreational Capital of Canada, really motivates me to be active. If I am not out climbing, you’ll find me trail running, mountain biking or summiting an awesome scramble! Having rivers, mountains, glaciers, ocean, trails, rocks and lakes in our backyard is so convenient.
When I first started to climb I was afraid of heights. I thought I would never step foot off the ground. I was encouraged when I learned the “ropes” and proper safety techniques. I learned to trust, not only myself and my partner, but also the gear. With education and practice comes capability – there are so many great resources to get you going on any new sport you’d like to learn. You just have to be willing to try. When you open yourself up to a newer and richer experience, then yours dreams can come true on an ordinary Tuesday.
Sarah recently started a women’s motivational group called The Women Who Dare Club to help educate other women about the importance of having an active lifestyle, feeling empowered and stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’d like to find out more about ways to be active outdoors and the Women Who Dare Club, visit facebook.com/wwdclub, instagram.com/wwdclub or wwdclub.com. You can also follow Sarah’s adventures on Instagram @mountaindarlin