Fashlete™ of the Month

No Comparison

Name:  Annette Miller
Age:  33
Occupation: Audit Senior Associate for Cigna-HealthSpring

As a young child, Annette let someone else's words define who she became.  At age 30, Annette finally decided to move past the hurtful words and become the woman she always wanted to be. 

"You're Too Fat"

At age 10, Annette came home from school with a permission slip to play on the basketball team.  Instead of getting the required signatures, she was told by her own family that she was “too fat”.

The words “You’re too fat” kept Annette from playing basketball and followed her into adulthood.  The words kept Annette from participating in sports, from seeing herself as someone with athletic potential, and ultimately from ignoring her overall health.  By the time she reached 30, Annette was 385lbs...

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The Strength to Endure

April 2012

Name: Susan Wallis

ccupation: Retired High School Teacher

1982 - A 29 year-old Susan Wallis runs a local 5k with a group of women from the school where she teaches high school math.  She’s hooked.

1988 - Susan qualifies for the prestigious Boston Marathon (26.2 miles) with a time of 3 hours and 19 minutes (7:35/mile pace).  Qualifying in 1988 was tougher than in 2012. Today, a 35 year old woman would “only” have to finish in 3 hours 40 minutes or better (8:23/mile).

1991 – An experienced training buddy tells Susan that she is in shape to do an Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).  What a great friend!  With little knowledge of swimming or cycling, Susan signs up for the first Great Florida Triathlon, a brand new “iron-distance” race.

2012 - Susan is 59 years old, a mother of two, and a retired school teacher.  I’ve come to learn that Susan is as humble as she is talented and I can thank her daughter Chrissy for nominating her for Fashlete of the Month.

Since her first triathlon in 1991, Susan has completed AT LEAST one ironman per year, and at most THREE.  Her total to date is 36 Ironman/iron-distance races.  That’s 86.4 miles of swimming, 4,032 miles of cycling, and 943.2 miles of running… and that’s just the racing part.  Imagine the ground she has covered in training!

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Lift Heavy Be Happy

October 2011

Name: Maggie Prior
Medical Student

I received an email from Maggie after she completed the Detroit Marathon last week.  Maggie is an avid CrossFitter, medical student, and has more than a few marathons under her belt.  Yea, kind of an overachiever.  She is one of those people who has extremely high expectations of herself and is used to excelling at pretty much whatever she wants.  You tend to find quite a few of these types of people in CrossFit boxes everywhere. We aren't superheroes, but man, we sure think we are!  

Somewhere around mile marker 14, Maggie's high speed life caught up with her.  When people rehash a marathon experience, I find they spend very little time talking about what it felt like physically.  "It hurt."  Wow.  Shocking.  In Maggie's words: "I had a rough go of it in the middle there."  What followed that statement was not a laundry list of aches and pains, it was an outpouring of the stress and anxiety that she had packed on through the months of her training.  Sometimes when you are as fit as someone like Maggie, it's hard to realize that you are actually carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

I asked Maggie to share her story because I know that so many of you out there have been in her shoes.... literally and figuratively speaking.  Some of the the most beautiful moments in life seem to be inextricably linked to something painful.  The best is yet to come for Maggie, and when it does she will look back on this marathon with a smile, with gratitude, and knowing Maggie... with an overwhelming desire to do it all over again.

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This Counts

September 2011

Name: Jackie Cheney
Mom, Medical Assistant at Primary Health Medical Group • Boise. ID

A few weeks ago, my sister Natalie introduced me to one of her readers, Jackie Cheney.  Natalie receives a lot of emails from men and women who have been profoundly affected by her memoir, Signs of Life.  This book deals with a universal emotion that I really wish wasn’t so universal: Grief.  That little word, a single syllable just sitting there in black and white, has the power to sink my heart to the pit of my stomach.  But the stories from women like Natalie and Jackie are ultimately about what lifts our hearts, not what makes them sink. There is a much better monosyllabic word to describe what I feel when I think about the Natalies and the Jackies of the world. It looks better in black and white and it feels better to say. That word is Hope.

Jackie lost her second son, Elam John Cheney, on May 22, 2009.  Elam was stillborn due to an abrupted placenta.  Not only was Jackie dealing with the loss of her son, she was dealing with the failure of her own body.  Jackie was able to get pregnant again but continued to be confronted with the fragileness of her body and her baby.

"There is something very defeating to have your body fail and lose your child.  I was far from a physically, mentally healthy person."

When Jackie picked up Natalie’s book, she found herself forced to live through emotions and grief that she had been ignoring for years.  But what she also found in that book and within herself was overwhelming inspiration to truly rehabilitate herself mentally and physically.  The aspect of recovery that Jackie discussed with me was the implementation of an exercise regime and goal setting.  Jackie set out to train for and complete a triathlon with her friend and constant support, Chelsi.  In our interview I asked Jackie to elaborate on her mental and physical transformation. Here are some excerpts from our talk that I hope will be helpful to others open to finding mental well-being through physical means.

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You Can Call Her Larrock!

December 2010

Name: Lorraine Browne 

Age: 42 

Occupation: English Professor at Nova Southeastern University 

Lorraine is also a mother of two, a CrossFitter, and a Triathlete. I know, you're already impressed... but wait, there's more. Here's her story....

I found out about CrossFit in a pretty roundabout way. I’ve been at it about a year now.  A couple of years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease called Cholesteatoma. This is when cysts grow in the middle ear and in worst cases, can enlarge and become fatal by getting too close to the brain. Since Brie had a very large mass on her right side, something that was growing unbeknownst to us for her whole life, she lost her hearing on her right side and her ability to taste. Although we were extremely lucky we got it out in time, I was devastated for her.

During the year of her first two surgeries, which had to be done through the back of her skull, the only way I could think of to deal with the stress was to go to a gym. Prior to that, I had been pretty out of shape while raising my young kids in my 30’s. I began at Shondelle’s gym, which is right by my house. I worked out like crazy. The timed workouts there resurrected my old athletic self and made me want to compete at something again, so I began to train for triathlons. In 2009, I went from a size 16 to a size 8 and lost 40 lbs.

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