Some Wednesday Inspiration

Sunday morning I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Tallahassee Marathon. I joined some of my fellow boot campers in handing out water, Gatorade, Gu and other race essentials at what I believe to be the best water station at the marathon. Yes, mile 2/25 was rocking!
I didn’t pay much attention to the first wave of runners. Most of them were elite and were gone in a flash. The biggest pack of runners came through a little while after that. I was so happy to cheer on some of our boot camp clients, several who were running their very first half marathon.
The last group of the more than 1,000 runners were the ones who got my attention, my water, my gatorade and my loudest cheers. This group was made up of people that you would never think would be able to participate in a marathon. These are the people who showed me the true spirit of the marathon.
One runner in particular inspired me the most and has inspired me and many others throughout the years that I have known her and that was runner, 1021, Susan Sloan.
Five years ago I received a phone from Susan inquiring about our program. When she told me what kind of shape she was in and how much she weighed, I was worried. As a trainer, I know how to work with people of all shapes and sizes, but she was asking about coming to boot camp and that scared me. I encouraged her to take a month and walk and then get back in touch with me.I didn’t think I would hear from her again. She surprised me.
Susan started boot camp with some very strict modifications to ensure her safety. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do but she did everything we asked of her. One of the things we did as a group was to run around the block. The driveway leading to the road was about 30 yards. Susan struggled just to get up the driveway. Again, I figured that after she completed that first month of boot camp, we would never hear from her. Again, she surprised me.
It’s been just over five years. Susan is still involved in our program. She has lost over 10 dress sizes and over 100 pounds. She has maintained that weight loss for several years. Physically, she is in such great shape that she can run circles around some of the young men that attend our classes.
Sunday, she completed her goal of running her first half marathon. I joined Susan for some of her shorter training runs and I have to admit that I had a hard time keeping the pace with her. Watching Susan accomplish such a huge goal was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a trainer and a friend.
This is not the end for her. Tomorrow she begins training for her next goal of becoming a certified Russian Kettlebell instructor. This is one of the most rigorous and physically demanding certifications out there. Participants train for months to prepare for the 9-10 hour days required for this certification. There is a 20-30% failure rate with many people failing because they are not able to handle the physical demands of the weekend.
I have no doubt that Susan will accomplish this goal and many more. I look forward to cheering her on for years to come.
Oh, and did I mention she is 52 years old!?

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