|Jasmine and Sandra .|
It's hard to imagine the lovely, fit mom in this photo 70 pounds heavier. But she was! And if you look at her adorable daughter, you can see her reason for saying, "I Am The Movement." She has defined being part of the movement by walking, and then running, her way to not only substantial weight loss, but also a personal goal benefiting her daughter's school.
This is the first in what will be a series of stories about you, our customers, who will "Be The Movement" with us as we walk, run or move our way to becoming our best selves.
This story starts In 2003, when Sandra and her husband went to China to adopt a child, Jasmine, whom they call "Jazzy." And it was while they were in China that they learned she had "severe-profound" hearing loss in both ears. Undaunted, they brought Jazzy home and got her cochlear implants. They then enrolled her at Ohio Valley Voices -- a local school for children birth to eight years of age focused on "teaching deaf children to speak". This school in Loveland is where kids like Jazzy learn to speak and listen every day.
All schools need financial help, but this school doesn't stop at bake sales and magazine subscriptions. They get people to run and walk the Flying Pig Marathon as a major fundraiser. It awed and intimidated Sandra at the same time. She tells Fleet Feet Sports, "I wished that I could be one of the people running in honor of one of the students and raising money while doing it. I admired them so much and they inspired me, but I felt that I was in no way able to be one of them."
But about a year ago, Sandra decided to make a change. She went from spectator to participant.
"I joined a weight loss program and started walking as part of my exercise routine," Sandra says. "After several months, the walking became too easy (I wasn't even breaking a sweat anymore), so I thought I would add some running."
It's common for the people in our training programs to find that they are reaching a plateau in their workouts before they move on to greater gains. Sandra's perseverance over many months, and decision to make her workouts harder, is particularly impressive.
In the beginning, she says, "I could not run for even a minute without completely being out of breath. I felt ridiculous running, but decided to stick with it."
What a great attitude! We try to create an atmosphere where everybody can reach their goals, and we know it's not always easy! Sandra says it happened for her over time. "Very slowly but surely," she says, "I was able to run longer distances. And the best part was that I was actually enjoying it!"
We love hearing that!
But it doesn't end there. Her effort resulted in losing a whopping 70 pounds, which opened up new possibilities for Sandra. That included training for a marathon!
"I felt that this is the year that I AM able!" she gushes. "I started the training program thinking I was going to run a 10K or run/walk a half marathon, but coach Kim encouraged me to train to walk/run the full marathon."
Wow! Well, this is the year of "No Excuses," after all! But her experience isn't just about better physical health. Sandra has gained a lot of self-confidence, too.
"Given the fact that I have NEVER even run in any race, I am bit scared. But I am also very excited. I just turned 40, I am 70 pounds lighter and I have a newly found confidence in myself since I started running."
Sandra is justifiably proud to be "doing something I never thought I could" while giving back to the school that changed her daughter's life.
Of course, inspiration has come in a little package from China named Jazzy. Sandra says, Jazzy is, "...amazing. She has overcome a lot of obstacles and she will continue to face challenges, but I want to show both my girls that you can do anything you set your mind to."
Sandra has and certainly will!
We're thrilled Sandra can say, "I Am The Movement!" And we're glad she's part of our training program!
If you want to learn more about Ohio Valley Voices please visit their Web Site.
Our goal with our "I Am The Movement" series is to share inspiring stories about all of you! Whether you're overcoming challenges, sharing something about training efforts or just trying something new, we know everyone has a story
If you or someone you know has a story to share, we'd love to share it. Please send us a short paragraph to get us started to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, the E-Newsletter is only sent out once a week and so it may take us a little while to get through all of your stories!