07/15/2014 10:52 EDT | Updated 09/14/2014 05:59 EDT

How I Found Inspiration In A Blue Disney Fish

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." Yup, I chose to call on the wisdom of an animated royal blue tang fish named Dory to get me through this.

Great ideas. We all have them, right? Or we think they are great until the event draws closer, we start researching more (though it's entirely too late to do anything about it) and before we know it we're less than 24 hours to the start. A couple of weekends ago I joined over a thousand other runners in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta to run in Sinister 7. Now some crazy runners actually do this 100-mile run up and down the mountains solo but most choose to run as part of a relay team. Last November my BFF asked me if I would join her team. Don't get me wrong, I love running; I love the mental escape, the feeling of accomplishment when finished and even the powerfulness of my body while running. But then reality sets in... I have four boys under the age of six, a successful fitness studio business and a full-time clientele. I understand busy. I understand letting other things take priority. I definitely understand training not always happening as planned. Before I knew it, I was with no choice ready to take on almost 1000m of elevation gain and another 1000m of downhill.

Alisa just finishing Leg 1 and I just about to begin Leg 2

As I was running, my mind began to wander to different mantras just to get me through it. My leg of the run started with a 6 kilometre steady climb up the mountain. I chatted with other runners to keep my mind off the task at hand for the first 20 minutes or so, until I fell into a "slogging" (half walk, half jog) pace. I needed a mantra, something I could chant in my head to keep me going. Something I could remind myself that even though the going got tough, the tough keep going. Then it hit me; "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." Yup, I chose to call on the wisdom of an animated royal blue tang fish named Dory to get me through this.

As I thought about it more, I realized that of all the Disney films ever made, Nemo was perhaps the one with the best life lesson. Sure, Frozen recently taught our girls that they don't need a man's love to survive and Lion King showed us that we can't run from our responsibilities forever. Beauty and the Beast reminded us that beauty was more than skin deep and even Cinderella gave us hope that good things happen to good people. But Nemo taught us to never give up. Nemo reminded us that it doesn't matter how small we are; how possibly limited we may think we are; where there is a will, there's a way. If I could share just one lesson with not only my four boys but also my clients trying to make changes in their life, this would be it.

Persistence pays off. It's not easy. It's not always fun. There will be struggle. There will be disappointments and some times you just want to throw in the towel. But with a little persistence (alright, in some cases, a lot of persistence), I can guarantee that you will get it done. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or that you think you are facing the impossible, just remember the little clown fish, with the small right fin, who along with his Dad and an unlikely side kick named Dory, never gave up!

ps: I finished and our team went on to place 26th out of 157 mixed teams. ☺

An attempt of a selfie at the top of the mountain

One of the spectacular views I was rewarded with for my climb