This past weekend will go down in my personal record book as one of the more inspirational, enjoyable, and rewarding experiences of my life…..it epitomized the core message of this blog, and summarized it’s purpose in a few incredible moments spanned over a 72 hour period. If you’ve been following us on Facebook or reading some of my colleagues blogs, by now you’re well aware that a group of ordinary people embarked on the extraordinary this past weekend as our PACER team officially kicked off the 2011 season! It was incredibly uplifting to be a part of a group that brought their “fitness (a)live”……we had walkers and runners, PR’s and “Loudmouths” (our name for those that line the course and cheer on the participants), first-timers and veterans, competition and socialization……..we had early mornings focused on hydration and late nights filled with pasta and karaoke (what!?)………there were stories of monumental steps forward in personal health journeys, highlighted among others this weekend on Saturday by a one-time walker who jogged the down-hills and sprinted the finish and into the arms of her friends slashing her previous best by 15 minutes
There were stories of adversity and perseverance…the one about a new mom making her way back to her old form in a 13.1 mile race she hadn’t done since before giving birth to her first….the one about the lady who never thought she could run even 6 miles, let alone 13.1, who pushed through having had less than ideal training circumstances prior to race day…..there was the one about the now-veteran half-marathoner coming back to her inaugural race more prepared and more fit, who battled an unexpected injury at mile 6, regained her mental composure and fought tooth and nail for the last 7 miles to again conquered the 1/2 marathon….and we could never forget about the guy who stated only one year ago that he couldn’t even run down the hallway….but now, 12 months later and a 100lbs. lighter ran alongside his brother for 13.1 miles as a healthier, stronger, and fitter Dad-to-be!
Yes, there is no doubt these “ordinary” people did something truly extraordinary this weekend….but maybe this next part of the story pushes it over the edge…..a true “Golden” moment.
You see…a few years ago we got a call from a somewhat shy woman named Wandy…a woman ready to take the next step forward in her health journey….she had recently won a raffle and secured herself a free month of training with us, and was confident that being healthy, strong, and fit was just what her family needed at the time! She locked in early on, working hard to improve her health and fitness as did her family. Some even mistook her husband for an endurance machine….and in a short-while, even her young-adult children were catching the bug. Things were on the up, when she was dealt an unexpected, unwanted, and serious health obstacle. But, in her words, determined “not to let Cancer win” she pushed through a challenging 2010 with an unwavering commitment to a healthier and more fit 2011. And man has she come out of the gates strong….with 4 months of rigorous commitment to healthy lifestyle on her side, this woman was ready to take the next step (or lots of them as you’ll soon find out)….moving from walker to runner in what would be her third half marathon this past weekend….but what made this one truly “Golden” is that she didn’t do it alone.
Now if you’ve ever heard of the “Golden Rule” you know it can be summarized by the following “Do Unto Others as You Shall Have Done Unto You”….or put simply, “Treat others the way you want to be treated”! I’d like to say I’m pretty fortunate to have a great deal of folks that live by this around me……back to the story….
A few months back, one of our trainers (and one of my best friends), Nick, decided he was ready to train for and compete in the Ultramarathon races (greater than 26.2 miles)…but suffered a minor injury set-back a few months into his training. Having already registered to complete this past weekends 1/2 marathon…and feeling decent, he contemplated going for it….knowing he could likely complete it in not his best, but a respectable age-graded time nonetheless. But more recently, Nick came to the decision that there was more to this race that than his age-graded score….and he was driven to a higher cause…one that was self-less…and whether he realized it at the time or not…an opportunity to be “Golden”.
This past Sunday Nick and Wandy ran alongside one another cheering and motivating each other on the way to a 30+ minute personal record for Wandy!!….Nick giving to another the encouragement that is often required to push when you think you can’t, and Wandy giving back the self-fulfillment that comes when you know in your heart that you’ve played a small role in another’s Extraordinary Experience! This is what “Fit2be(a)live” is all about….this is what we are all about….I am humbly honored to be a part!