Pageviews last month

Monday, March 30, 2009

Going the distance

Pardon me why I do my euphoric chair dance...


I have exceeded my $3,000 fundraising commitment for the Lazarus House. It's official! What an accomplishment! What a rush!

What a relief! ;-)

Remember the movie "Rocky"? Of course you do.

Well, for those of you that are a little fuzzy on the details, let me refresh your memory.

Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) was a small-time boxer looking to make it as a legitimate fighter. He got an opportunity to fight Apollo Creed, who was the heavyweight champion. It was a chance for a "nobody to become a somebody", according to Creed's managers. Of course, Rocky wasn't REALLY supposed to stand a chance. He gets a trainer, he gets a girlfriend and then realizes his one shot at a better life is to go the distance with Apollo. No one has ever been able to do that before.

And you know what? He did it! He went from a "nobody to a somebody". This Italian guy who worked at a meat packing plant while moonlighting as a shady debt collector dug down deep and went 15 rounds with the champ.

Goose bumps. Everytime I see that movie...even though I know how it's going to end, I STILL get that same overwhelming, emotional feeling.

This metaphor is twofold for me. One the one hand, I feel as though I've "gone the distance". I set out to raise $3,000 for the Lazarus House and I've done that, thanks to the many generous people I'm blessed to be associated with.

But, on the other hand, I haven't even started.

On April 20th, 2009, I will have the chance to "go the distance" for real, that is...26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. It will be a test of my physical and mental toughness. I will be running through eight cities and towns with the help of my spiritual, emotional and financial supporters. When the time comes where I turn right on to Hereford and then left on to Boylston, it'll require every ounce of energy I have left to stay the course and stay on my feet.

Just like Rocky.

Hey, if a two-bit club fighter from Philly can do it, why not me?

I WILL become a somebody.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The triumph of the human spirit

Better grab a tissue. Because I'm going to get sappy on you.

Normally, my blogs have been a mixture of comical running escapades and a desperate plea for money (okay, maybe I'm overstating it just a little bit). Today, I'd rather talk about something else.

For those of you that don't know, I am a full-time fitness professional. My official job title is "Health Fitness Service Representative". Doesn't that sound wicked IMPORTANT???? Basically, I train clients, teach classes and provide customer service to the fitness center community. There are days where the job can be somewhat mundane. We have a towel service for our members, so a big part of my 8 hours is spent washing, drying, folding and putting away towels. Washing, drying, folding, putting away. Lather, rinse, repeat. Ho hum.

But, then, there are moments where I feel positively GIDDY about where I am and what I'm fortunate enough to be a part of. Today is one of those days.

We started a promotion here called "The Lab's Biggest Loser". There are 4 trainers (I am one of them) that are responsible for a "platoon" of 8 people. All in all, 32 people were accepted into this program because their BMI (Body Mass Index) was considered unhealthy. The LBL is a 12 week program. It started on Monday, January 26th and concludes on April 19th. Prizes are awarded incrementally on percentage of weight loss. For example, you receive a $10 gift card when you have lost 5% of your body weight. You get another one at 8%, 11%, 14%, etc. Each participant is required to weigh-in once a week with their trainer.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about my platoon.

They call themselves "Cyndi Lou's Losers" (I swear, it was THEIR idea, not mine). I met with them initially the week before to pass out the materials and talk to them a bit so we could get acquainted. The first meeting went well and I was hopeful.

It is now week 9 and they are doing so well. As of the end of week 7, my "losers" have shed 87.4 lbs. and, as a team, have lost 4.52% of their initial body weight. Pretty cool, huh? They're very focused.

I can't take all the credit. I try to send them motivational emails a few times a week, pass along proper nutritional guidelines and conduct one weekly group workout. The rest of it is all them. They are truly an amazing bunch of people. One person in particular has prompted me to share this story with you. To protect her identity, I will simply refer to her as "Rock Star".

One of our teammates has been struggling with adherence to the program. She is having difficulties putting herself ahead of anything and anyone else in her life. She'll lose a couple lbs., then gain it back. Unfortunately, she is battling excuses...and the excuses are currently winning.

During one of our group email correspondences, she issued a cry for help. She sounded very defeated and sad...saying she lost her will...that she is going through a lot emotionally and she thinks that is bringing her down. She feels as though she doesn't have enough hours in the day. We can all relate to that, but sometimes, you just gotta put the big girl pants on and do it, right?

Well, then Rock Star emailed her privately (just copied me on the message). In five good sized paragraphs, she shared her own struggles with riding the weight loss rollercoaster. She took her defenses down and let our friend see who she is and how she got to this point in her life. She also shared with her how she finally decided it was time to do something about it. One line of her email really stood out for me: sometimes the heart is ready before the body and will-power are.

But, she knows she can't give up the struggle.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Rock Star wants to be a better wife, aunt, daughter and friend. She knows she needs to take better care of herself in order to achieve all of these things.

Finally, let me say this: Rock Star has lost 8% of her body weight since January 26th and is only 1.2 lbs. away from achieving her 11% weight loss milestone. AWESOME.

I am reminded by the triumph of the human spirit and how powerful it can be in times of adversity. She has been a huge inspiration to me and the rest of her team.

Maybe some of you reading this blog right now are experiencing some kind of struggle. It doesn't have to be a weight issue. Perhaps you have reached some sort of crossroads in life and feel powerless to change your circumstances. Sometimes, it's easier to give up. Some days, the problems of the world just seem way too big.

My fundraising endeavor for the Lazarus House in the grand scheme of things may seem a bit small. I only have to raise $3,000. Surely that isn't enough to cure hunger for everyone.

But, it's a start. Thank you all for helping me "make a dent".

I only need $139 more to make my goal. SO exciting! Here is my personal fundraising page:

In closing, I'd like to share this quote with you:

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.”

-- Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And now for something completely different...

I have a love/hate relationship with the news.

Let me explain.

Ever notice you have some rituals that are a part of your daily life? You don't really know how it came to be that way but, well, it just is. So it is with the news. I watch it every day. Sometimes more than once.

Now, this is where the whole love/hate thing comes in. I don't really LIKE hearing the news. Frankly, it's downright depressing to hear about the escalating jobless rate, crooked politicians and the dow plunging to record lows every 30 minutes. How about some good news once in a while? And besides, the Eyeopener on Channel 5 just hasn't been the same since Ed and Heather left (sorry David and Bianca, it's just the way I feel).

But, it's a necessary evil. I NEED to know what the weather is going to be so I can plan my marathon training around the random acts of nastiness Mother Nature has bestowed upon us this winter. I think all runners are slaves to the wisdom of meterologists everywhere.

So, I watch.

I was home sick on Monday (darn head cold...happens practically every time I train) and I heard this sobering statistic:

The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report today that estimates that one in every 50 American children was homeless between 2005 and 2006. That totals roughly 1.5 million kids.

1 in every 50! Homeless! And we're not talking about some scruffy looking wino holding out a coffee can asking for change. These are CHILDREN! With no home!

Adults are one thing. Granted, no one likes to see anyone down on their luck. I know I don't. But, we've become pretty hardened and jaded by all the stories of the panhandlers who go home to penthouses and drive sportscars. It's hard not to be.

But, we're not talking about opportunistic con artists. We're talking about innocent boys and girls who are counting on us to love them, mentor them and protect them.

It really got to me.

I didn't have a storybook childhood by any means. I come from a divorced family. I moved from town to town more than I wish I had to. I struggled with self-acceptance at an early age due to societal expectations about how the media perceives beauty.

But, I always had a home. I may not have had both parents in it at the same time, but I had food, clothing, and shelter.

After hearing the news, it made my mission seem even more important. I have been training in adverse conditions (extreme cold, snow), sacrificing half the weekend so I can fit those long runs in, and have done some of this while sniffling and sneezing. But, you know what? My struggle is NOTHING compared to what some of these little ones are forced to endure.

I will run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday, April 20, 2009 for the Lazarus House. Here is an excerpt from their home page:

We help to prevent homelessness by providing food orders from our food pantry for those who cannot afford to pay both the rent and buy food. If that fails, we provide shelter. All of our guests are assigned an advocate who will assist them with a tailored plan for reconstructing their lives in a way that will allow them to be active and productive members of the community.

Would you like to help one of those children who don't have a home? Please visit my personal fundraising page:

Your support and kindness is so me and I know by the little ones your donation will benefit.