Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ode to My Partner

When my trainer moved out of town, I worried that I would lose my oomph, my motivation, my accountability. I worried that I wouldn't get up and get out in the mornings if there was no one meeting me to go walking.

That was about the same time I started telling people that I was taking this fitness journey, and several people offered to walk with me. (And I thank every one of you for being willing.) But after the cards were shuffled and dealt, my regular companion has become my next-door neighbor Sandi.

God knew she was exactly who I needed. She is a walking, breathing inspiration for me every day.

First of all, she's a single mom of four, two of whom are still home and in school. One will be a high school senior...the other will be in first grade. Anyone who is or has been - or has been involved with - a single mom will understand how special this is, in and of itself.

Beyond that, she's a Marine. Active for over 25 years, several of those as a drill instructor. She also taught karate, in which she holds a black belt.

The only reason she is no longer active in the Marine Corps is because she had to take a medical retirement after being diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer SEVEN years ago. (The average 5-year survival rate is 20%.) Surgeries...chemo...radiation...over and over. And over. And while she currently has no active tumors, they have left their damage, including bulging disks in her back.

And she kicks my butt and puts me to shame.

Seriously. We hit the trail, she goes into drill instructor mode, puts one foot in front of another, and goes. Always knowing just how fast to go to make me push myself slightly faster than I would alone. Never huffing and puffing. Never sweating. Just going. I try to remind her that she's supposed to be the sick one. She just smiles and keeps going.

When my hips and back start to hurt from the effort, there's no way on earth I'm going to complain. Not to this lady. Not to this wonderful person who postpones taking her pain meds because she wants to be sharp when we're out together instead of being in a haze.

And when we finally, FINALLY had rain, and it wasn't feasible to get out and walk, she didn't let me off the hook. No. She said, "Come use my elliptical." And for an hour, I barged into the corner of her living room and churned away one ellipti-step at a time.

How do I beg off to this incredible woman? How do I say, "I don't feel up to it today"? I don't. I can't. And God knew that. (Well, DUH - He knows everything.) :) 

I am so blessed she has decided to help me along in this battle, even as she fights her own on a daily basis. Thank you, Sandi. I love you.


  1. I'm so glad you two have each other. Sandi is one great and inspiring person. I'm glad I got to meet her.

  2. I am so happy you've found such an inspirational walking buddy!

  3. I'm unknown ^^^ but now I'm fixed? ~ Suzie

  4. Luv you too.... But now u made me cry again. U r giving me way to much credit as u inspire me just as my hand u make me keep going. U have picked me up, even ifit was just by listening so many times it is just unbelievable.

  5. Sandi sounds awesome! I had a walking partner who needed help getting off the sofa, and you bet I never wanted to bail on Terra! Unfortunately for me, the Army transferred them to WA last year. I'm glad you have someone to keep you going! Along those lines, I'm glad I didn't decide to do the Half Marathon while Bill was on deployment. He keeps encouraging me to keep going when the training runs get hard (and let me not fool anyone--we do the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method, so we're hardly running the entire time. 2 mins run, 1 min walk).

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I should not try typing before coffee. To clarify, Terra had pain issues which meant she literally needed a hand to get momentum to move from a sitting position.

  6. You are doing great! It is wonderful you have your neighbor to encourage and go with you! Keep up the good work! :-)