Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leilani's first half marathon CAN do it and you did!

Three and a half years ago, I went through something traumatic…I became a
statistic. After 10 years of marriage, I found myself divorced. I read somewhere that when you are at your lowest point, you discover what you are made of…this holds true for me. Exercise and endurance sports was not only an instrumental part of my emotional recovery and healing, but it brought back energy and fitness I had not seen in years. Exercising is now a part of my life and I love it. Last year, I made the decision to move to Las Vegas to get a new start on life and be closer to family. It was here that I was blessed to meet my trainer and coach, Cyndee Platko. Working out with her has definitely brought out the best in me.

What attracted me to choosing her as my trainer was her love for endurance sports…something that I now have a deep interest in continuing to do. Her experience as an incredible triathlete was another big reason for wanting to work with her. I did my first Olympic distance triathlon in 2009, the Lavaman Triathlon in Kona. After this event, I experienced the beginning stages of plantar fasciitis. I could not run more than 10 minutes without my feet hurting. After months of physical therapy, proper stretching, and exercise I finally got better. I told her that I wanted to challenge myself and do the Las Vegas Half Marathon. Not only was my goal to finish, but my ultimate goal was to finish it pain free. The farthest distance I had ever run was six miles, so 13.1 was a huge goal for me. Without hesitation, Cyndee took me under her wing and conditioned me run the distance. Coupled with strength training, she stretched my abilities in ways I did not know were possible. I also became toned in areas I did not know were toned. In fact, it took looking at pictures of myself to realize that I now have muscles! What a beautiful thing! What I love and respect most about Cyndee is that she is a straight shooter and will always tell me how it is…no fluff (but with love her in her heart). Her honestly and dedication in helping me reach my goals has made me a better person.

As part of my training, she introduced me to Rockin’ Runners. By nature, I am a social butterfly, so this was a perfect fit! However, I have to admit, waking up before daylight to meet with the group at 5:30 am during the summer was sometimes a struggle because I am NOT a morning person. But, the reward and feeling of accomplishment was so worth it! Through this running group, I had the blessing of meeting so many amazing people such as Coach Nancy who is another incredible triathlete. Her energy, passion, and sincere love of helping people become better in all facets of life made it such a pleasure to work with her. The best part of working with Nancy was all of the stretch sessions she provided, which I believe to be instrumental in helping me to perform better during my runs. Thank you for stretching me, Nancy…it hurt so good!

The best part of training with Cyndee, Nancy, and the team was creating new friendships that I know will last for a life time. Through this experience, I met Dalia and Tiffany, two incredible women that I am blessed to call my friends. I was honored to cross the finish line with them at the half marathon.

I truly believe that things do happen for a reason. Though I am still part of the statistic, my journey has brought me many blessings in disguise. I am so proud of what I just accomplished….I crossed the finish line and completed my first half marathon! The best part is that I finished it pain free! I now know this is exactly where I am supposed to be…my life could not be any better.

Thank you, Coach Cyndee! Thank you, Coach Nancy! Thank you, Rockin’ Runners!

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