Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Ode to Personal Trainers Everywhere

*Swiped off Jessica's Facebook page…I'm sure she won't mind me stalking and stealing photos…wink wink...

I'm pretty sure "sadist" is her middle name…

That's pretty evident, when I'm sprawled on the ground in a crumpled heap of exhaustion and effort, after she's pushed me to my limits, physically - and sometimes mentally, and I'm begging for mercy…. "Uncle!!" I cry, wanting the torture to stop. There's no way I can do one more repetition…or run one more step…and yet, she pushes. And I do.

I'm talking about my running coach and trainer, Jessica…and in hiring her, I realized it was actually the best - and smartest - thing I ever did.

And in actuality…she's the furthest thing EVER from being a sadist. She's a sweetheart, and I wouldn't be where I am without her.

When I signed on several months ago to participate in the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge, which consisted of a 10k and half-marathon back-to-back, my first thought was, "Ouch. Am I stupid? I'm going to die."

My second thought was, "Wait. Maybe I can be PREPARED for this…and not die. That would be good."

As I was having these thoughts about not dying, which can be somewhat consuming and scary, actually - a friend of mine, who is a fellow runner, happened to send me a link to a local training company here in town, KC Endurance. It was a very timely and fortuitous tip, as it somewhat abated my fears about dying, which is always a good thing.

"Wait. Maybe I can be prepared for this…and not die…by working with a personal trainer…???"

And so Jessica came into my life, and what a godsend. She's been my biggest coach, my biggest cheerleader, and my biggest therapist as this journey progressed. Besides weekly visits, where she pushed me to limits I didn't know I had, she would also send daily emails, detailing what physical training needed to be accomplished that day. Goals were set, and it was up to me to meet them.

And here I mistakenly assumed that running was no more than tying on a pair of cheap tennis shoes and hitting the pavement.

Oh, no.

I learned about IT bands, and speed drills, and hill repeats, and plank challenges, and foam rollers, and stretches, and warm-ups, and race strategies….

I learned about keeping cool during a run, or staying warm before a run, and throw-away clothes before a race, and energy fuels during a race, and foam rolling after a race….

All the while giving her 50 push-ups, and 50 crunches, and 50 clamshells, as well as wall-sits and squats and reverse planks.

My body rebelled…it was tired…too old to do these things she commanded…and yet I pushed on, through the discomfort…and started noticing subtle changes both inside and outside. My legs grew stronger…my tummy flattened…my mind became more focused…and I realized that maybe, just maybe, perhaps I really WAS a runner at the ripe age of 52.

When nagging aches and pains would crop up, it was Jessica who calmed my fears and showed how simple stretching could soothe the muscles.

When I had a major freak-out a week before the Glass Slipper Challenge, my anxiety cresting where it was screaming at me, "YOU CAN'T DO THIS!!!" - it was Jessica who sent me an email that was so supportive, and so encouraging, I knew without a doubt that I COULD do it and I WOULD do it.

And I did.

So…here's to Jessica and all those other personal trainers and coaches out there, who get out of bed super early to push us, motivate us, and move us along - to help us chase those dreams we are pursuing, and never, ever once letting us think those dreams are out of our reach. I'm sure my family and friends got so tired of hearing, for the last six months, "Well…Jessica told ME that…blah blah blah…" as I would expound on another nugget of wisdom from my personal trainer…but I know my family and friends are also celebrating with me as I conquered the Glass Slipper Challenge.

Kudos to you, Jessica. You rock.



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