Every year there are thousands of 5k races and every year millions of people run them. For some, they run to win. Others want to improve their time. Some run in memory or for a passion. And others run for support. This morning was my 5th Year sponsoring the Lindsey Matthews 5k. I am not a race runner so I cannot compare this other races but I also wouldn’t want to. This run is an annual event. It’s annual personal commitment. And it’s a symbol. A symbol of why I am a personal trainer and what I love about it. And as you have probably guessed by now, it isn’t about pounds lost. No, I do it for what is GAINED.
I first met Karen as a waitress with a cool accent at a local restaurant where she would bring my dad a special salad dressing for him personally. She had a cool English accent and was always smiling. She epitomized what a server should be and she was as genuine and caring as they come. Fast forward a couple years later to when I first opened my private studio, In Motion Fitness. In walks the same super nice lady with a fun English accent who came to workout with her friend, my current client. Little did I know, this would become a relationship I couldn’t imagine my life without now.
Karen lost her daughter in an accident in 2008. As any mother knows and any good hearted person can imagine, there is nothing worse than losing a child. Though I never met Lindsay personally, I have come to know her rather well. She had it all. Athletic, smart and caring with a smile as big as her heart. She was Karen’s world and that quickly became a part of my world. I don’t have to describe the pain and grief Karen went through and continues to live with everyday. If Lindsay was half as amazing a woman as Karen is, which I know she was, that makes them both one of a kind women.
Karen became one of my most consistent clients, through tears and laughter, ailments and triumphs, she never quit. She organized this run in memory of her daughter where she now gives the proceeds as a scholarship to a local student who embodies the remarkable, selfless traits of Lindsay. I sponsor it every year with an open heart because it is more than a 5k. It represents family. The Matthews family, the Southtowns family, and in my experience, the In Motion family. Every year my clients join me in supporting Karen and her Lindsay Matthews 5k. Whether they sponsor, donate, run or walk, we all come together. It is a feeling no workout could ever give you. It is a perspective shift and a lesson in gratitude. It has been a beautiful, sunny Sunday in July every year I have been a part of this. Karen and her family put on a tremendous event, not in extremely large numbers, but without a doubt in extremely large hearts.
While Karen may thank me for helping her find a way to cope with these emotions that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, my clients and I are the lucky ones. Karen has shown us what true strength is. Getting up everyday when you don’t want to. Working out when you would rather cry. Pushing through ailments to heal and continue on stronger. That’s Karen. Nothing knocked Karen out. And if I didn’t have my studio, I may have never gotten to be a part of this wonderful lady’s journey. This lady is a rare breed who I am thankful for EVERYTIME she walks into my studio. She didn’t just walk into my studio, she walked into my heart. And that is why I do what I do. We all supported her and Karen supports all of us. It is a family I only hope everyone can find in their life.
So you can ask me how many pounds Karen has lost, OR you can ask Karen what she has gained. It will never come close to the loss of a child, but if you can gain clarity, confidence, coping skills, positive relationships and a way to survive a tragedy through a fitness routine, then you just gained strength beyond measure. Sometimes we take for granted the fact that we can workout. Sometimes our workouts are focused on how our body looks in this outfit or did I lose weight? But when your workouts come from a place of mental clarity, stress relief or an outlet to move you through struggles, it becomes permanent. So often we overlook why we are actually working out and how it can serve us beyond our physique. This commitment to the gym was not for pounds lost, Karen had experienced enough loss. It was for what Karen gained. And through Karen, I gained a client, a friend, and a woman I admire in my life.
Karen is an inspiration to many, just like Lindsay. Like mother like daughter. From my In Motion family to yours Karen, we love you.
To all my clients who have lost a family member and have found strength beyond dumbbells, I admire you.
Here’s a head clearing cardio workout for you: try to get outside and do this one if u have healthy knees and hips!
Run 1 min
Walk 30 seconds
Repeat for 30 minutes (you could also choose your neighborhood block and see how many times u can get around it in 30 min!)