Founder of RAD Boulder and Sufferfest Colorado Community Manager Kelly Newlon learned to clear her plate – and say "no" — in order to stay happy and healthy.

I’m running. Trail running on buttery single track off the Peak to Peak Highway at roughly 900ft in Colorado. I’ve written this entry in my head a thousand times at this point. I feel strong, confident and settled. I am for all purposes race ready for a 50 miler I have coming up. I am also mentally and emotionally ready.

This was not the case last year. At this time last year, I was in tears and certainly not remotely close to being able to run for hours on end. Life was spinning out of control. My body was painful, my mind was scattered and I sure as shit was lost in every sense of the word. I needed to make a change.

On the outside, I was a successful business owner living the dream… all of which was more or less true. I am fortunate enough to spend my days feeding and hanging with the virtual who’s who of endurance sports. After all, how stressful can your days be if you own and operate a company called “RAD”? The direct answer is…as stressful as you allow if you are not good at finding balance and saying “no”. And you guessed it, I was not very good at saying “no”. That’s the problem when you have a job that you love — it’s tough to create boundaries and turn down opportunities, but the non-stop nature of what I was doing started to catch up with me in a very real way.

One of Kelly’s delicious RAD food creations!

By the time September rolled around last year, I was brought to my knees by illness. I was bald on over half of my head, had extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain, a constant fever, photosensitivity and constant nausea among other things. It was obvious things needed to change if I were to remain upright. I sat down and had several heart-to-hearts with my ever patient husband, Morgan, and we hashed out a solid plan: I hired a running coach, I sought out an actual team of physicians I trusted, and I made a concerted effort to adjust MY diet (go figure). All of this was a concerted effort to prioritize my health and wellness and find more balance in my day-to-day.

I looked at my work schedule and realized that it was unsustainable. I’ve gotten more comfortable with saying “NO” more and creating time in my schedule to rest. For the first time since I was a teenager, I made things about me rather than everyone else around me. I’m more proactive about my schedule rather than reactive to the things people demand from me. It hasn’t been an easy change and it’s something I’m still working on, but I’m already seeing the positive changes in my health.

Morgan and I moved from the city of Boulder up a canyon just outside of the city. Living in the mountains is healing on its own; it forces one to slow down and calm down. Our lives are slower and quieter. Putting physical space between myself and the “hustle and bustle” of things has made it easy to say no to things and reprioritize balance.

When the opportunity presented itself to be part of Sufferfest Beer Company as the ColoRADo Community Manager, I jumped at the chance. I was already a fan of their beer, but it was the small close-knit team and the woman-owned company that I was especially fond of. Honestly, having Sufferfest in my corner on top of RAD provides the security and balance I was looking for in my life and allows me to say “no” more often. I am finally feeling as though I am not lopsided in life, and I hope that everyone has the chance to align themselves with companies that support them in the way I feel supported.

Kelly Newlon is the Founder and CEO of RAD Boulder, an athlete-focused catering company in Boulder, CO. Follow her journey on Instagram here.

<3 #balance #worklifebalanceREPEAT