Yesterday marks the anniversary of my sister’s death.
The sixteenth of October has passed 16 times before. Some years are easier than others; some years cause more emotion and reflection. Lyn was just one month shy of her 30th birthday. It was her second bout with cancer, first time with leukemia; the first was in 1996 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease.
Lyn was 12 years my senior, and definitely the “cool sister”. Sorry, Aly, you were always the responsible, yet fun, “second mom”. One of my most cherished childhood memories is of Lyn driving me to a friend’s house. She always took the fun backroads in our parents’ Ford Bronco - and insisted on driving just fast enough so my little 6-year old body would lift off the passenger seat as we crested the numerous hills and bumps. She was all about having fun with her little sis.
Staying active was a mainstay of Lyn’s adult life. Her boyfriend, John (they later married), introduced her to running in the early 90s. Lyn and John introduced me to running when I was just 11 years old. I remember running my first 5K with John. I suited up in some sweet new Saucony Jazzes - real running shoes! You can imagine how defeated I felt when a kid wearing cowboy boots passed me in the last mile. I crossed the finish line in tears…and was hooked. 24 years and over a hundred races later, running is still one of my most favorite escapes.
I am writing about Lyn on the EF blog because she is the reason - or at least catalyst - why I made fitness my love and career. Seeing how Lyn and John balanced a lifestyle that included long (and late) work schedules, college courses as "non-traditional students", fun times, and exercise showed me that you don’t have to be the stereotypical fitness fanatic to benefit from setting and reaching goals. Heading to the gym or squeezing in a couple of miles were great stress reliefs. Even in Lyn’s final weeks, with little energy for the most basic of daily activities, she appreciated both the physical therapists who manipulated her joints, and her husband who encouraged her to walk just a few steps each day. Even for the ailing, movement does so much good for your state of mind.
So today, as I sit nursing a broken foot, and reflect on my sister and family, I think about the phrase that John has been known to command countless times over the past 17 years - on my wedding day, family vacations, and while spreading my sister’s ashes: “Make memories.”
Over the past 20 years, many of my favorite memories revolve around breaking a sweat, or involve friends made through sports. VineMan 140.6, Ragnar Del Sol, Blue Ridge Adventure Race, high school and college cross country and track, snowboarding in the Alps, Valentine’s ski trip with my husband, shooting with my dad, long dog walks with Mom, riding with new friends in NM, running up on a black bear in Asheville, getting tanked with the Tri Club in Taos, riding to Old Faithful on my last day of a summer job in West Yellowstone, and recently, hiking with G in tow in his fancy new pack.
The past 10 months have been filled with many new memories…most of them, admittedly, forgotten in the 6 months of perpetual fugue state that I experienced until G slept consistently through the night. Prior to having G, my workout was such an integral part of each day. Every morning, I would know when or how I was going to fit in my workout: between which clients or how many minutes I could milk to make the most of “me-time”. It was automatic. Not working out really wasn’t an option, unless my training plan required it. Regardless, my focus shifted from work work work, workout workout workout, to baby baby baby. And until my body tells me it is ready to work towards it’s previous level of fitness, I am not pushing it. I have had my fair share of speed bumps since delivering G, and I openly accept that this is not my time to set unrealistic goals.
My sister knew that getting sick was not her time. Although she was not a mother, she assumed a maternal role and focused all her energies on making sure family and friends were happy and living their own lives instead of worrying about her. I was living overseas while Lyn was going through chemo and she put on such a good face that I would have to call my other sister, Aly, to get a real handle on the situation. But that’s what we do. Sometimes we switch gears and focus on our loved ones.
Thinking about my sister today reminds me that yes, doting on my infant son is important, but making memories with friends, with family, and doing the things that I really love, are nearly equally important. And although I face another speed bump with a broken foot, I will do what I can to make memories with the people I love, doing the things we love. I will recommit to a business which I worked so long and hard to build.
There are so many things that Meryl and I want to do with Elevated Fitness. We know so many other talented and experienced fitness and healthcare professionals that need to be included in our business. I hope to unveil our evolution in 2017, to include many exciting ways to reach all of you that have moved from our genesis location of Clovis, New Mexico.
But with all of this personal talk, I would be remiss not to announce the Elevated Fitness blog will soon transform into a lifestyle blog. You’ll find more personal notes such as this blog post, posts about living a balanced lifestyle, cooking and training tools, tips and recipes, and posts from other skilled professionals. We want to hear from average joes like you, too. If you have something you would like to see or to share with us, submit it here or talk to myself or Meryl.
We want to support our clients not only in reaching their goals, but in living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Let's make some memories.