Friday, July 8, 2011

Marathon Training: A Helping Hand from the Y

Think training for a marathon is just too hard? Sometimes you just need some encouragement from your friends at the Y. Just ask Alexander Family YMCA member Torey Peeler.

“‘Why do you keep coming to spin class with wet hair?’” my friend Marjorie kept asking.”

It started during a grocery trip to Whole Foods, where Torey Peeler spotted the cover of Endurance Magazine promoting upcoming triathlons.

“The women on the cover just looked so empowered,” Torey said, “And she looked like a normal person—someone like me.”

Torey Peeler

Inspired by that picture, Torey made a bold commitment: she decided to complete the Ramblin’ Rose for her 50th birthday—her first sprint triathlon that included a 225-yard swim, a nine-mile bike and a two-mile run.

It was completely new ground for Torey. “I had a fear of running,” Torey recalled. “I’ve done lots of cycling and yoga, but I’ve never, ever been a runner.”

Despite her reservations, Torey began piecing together a training routine. She started by signing up for the “Do It Your Way Fitness Challenge” at the Alexander Y—a program designed to help members set and achieve fitness goals—with the personal goal of running two miles.

From there, Torey tapped into every training resource she could find, from triathlete websites to local workshops. “The instructors at the Y became my personal network for advice and encouragement,” she recalled, “They were one of the main building blocks in the whole process.”

It wasn’t long before Torey’s training regime piqued the interest of cycling buddy, Marjorie. (“I swam before cycling class, and Marjorie kept wondering why I showed up with wet hair!”) Marjorie wanted in on the fun, and the two began training together.

Just two weeks before the Ramblin’ Rose, Torey received bad news: she was diagnosed with pneumonia. But she wasn’t about to give up her months of

“My goal was to finish that race,” Torey said. “My goal had only ever been just to finish.” And on Sunday, May 22, 2011—despite doctor’s orders—that’s exactly what Torey did.

After the Race
“It was like a red-carpet moment,” she recalled. “At the end of the race, I just hugged Marjorie, laughing and crying (and coughing!) all at the same time!”

Today, Torey credits her success to the accountability, focus and encouragement of her friends at the Y, the close-knit community who supported her through her journey.

“I hated to run,” Torey said, “But I did it. I have this incredible self-satisfaction of learning and mastering something new for my 50th birthday.”


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