Dear Joe, (A Lesson About How One Decision Can Change Your Life.)

In late summer of 2010 I was not in a good place. I was still deep in the grief of losing my Father the year before. I was depressed at my husband’s successful effort to train for a triathlon because it meant he was gone a lot and getting healthy while I was stuck at home with small kids eating my sadness away. We had just bought one house and sold another and I was tired and stressed from all that those things entailed. I was just one big ball of emotional turmoil covered in fried foods and beer.

I decided, on a whim, to try this boot camp that my friends had talked about. I don’t even know why I did, other than it was just a wild hair that crept in one day and I followed it.

And oh my GOD, was I terrified. And oh my GOD, did I hate it. (Here is my first entry I wrote about it, if you don’t believe how much I hated it.) But oh my GOD, did it ever change my life. It opened my heart and my body to the challenges and every big goal I’ve met along the way I owe to that one decision to try boot camp. It is now almost three years later to the day and I have to bid farewell to Joe and my 5:30am workout buddies. E starts college this month and I can’t commit to even one day a week, much less 3 or more. I will still probably drop in on Density Day (it’s my favorite workout) but this is basically my goodbye to the man and the class that changed my life. There is no way to truly thank him or them, but I’ll try my best.

Dear Joe,

Thank you for saving my life, my marriage, my family. There is no way for me to truly see the path the road I was on might have led, had I not met you, but I know it was heading no where good. I was sad and unhealthy and anxious and stressed. I was wallowing in self-hatred and depression. That path was not going anywhere hopeful. Anywhere healthy. Anywhere happy.

But I met you and your boot camp and everything in my life shifted for the better. I owe every mile I’ve run, and every lap I’ve swam, and every path I’ve cycled…to you. If I had never made that step, taken that scary leap to join your boot camp, I would have never achieved anything else in the fitness life I’ve built for myself since then. Your guidance and your training gave me the confidence to train for my first half-marathon, then my first marathon, then my first ultra marathon, and then my first triathlon. All of these amazing things I’ve done, that I never thought I could do, I did because of you. I will forever be in your debt for that.



Winning the first ever “Big Girl Panties” award may have been my most proud achievement to date, by the way. Even with the races under my belt and the miles I’ve traveled on my feet, on my bike, and in the water…I’m still the most proud of those goofy purple satin panties.

And workouts with pumpkins? When would I have ever done that but with  you?

And the wonderful experiences you helped me give my kids. From parades to Spring Break workouts to Burpees at the botanical gardens. You are helping me raise them to think that working out is simply a thing all parents do, and therefore a thing they should do. Not only do I owe you a debt for my own health, but I owe you for the lessons my kids have learned through you as well.

But most importantly, Joe, you’ve given me a peer group of wonderful women that all hold very special places in my heart now. I actually had a bunch of pictures of those beautiful women (namely some of us covered in mud and some of us planking on my front steps) but then I remembered not everyone wants their face plastered all over my blog. But you know which pictures I”m talking about, because you’re in them too. 🙂

So, just imagine a bunch of pictures here of all of the wonderful friends I’ve made from that 5:30am boot camp class. We’ve done mud races together and Christmas 5Ks. We’ve planked on my front steps and burpeed (is that a word) in the rain. We’ve watched each other move up in weights and get faster at sprints. We’ve pushed each other to try pushups from our toes and squats below our knees. Not only did you give me health and confidence, but you gave me lifelong friends that I will cherish forever. And while I’m sure I’ll pop back in on Density Training day (did you know it’s my favorite?) this is the end of my regular attendance for awhile, and it’s a tad-bit heartbreaking. I’m know that all of the lessons you’ve taught me over the last three years will keep me active and healthy in other ways. And THAT is probably the biggest achievement of all. That I might be able to keep some of this up thanks to the insight and strength you’ve give me.

Thank you for everything, Joe.

8 thoughts on “Dear Joe, (A Lesson About How One Decision Can Change Your Life.)”

  1. Kim it has been an absolute pleasure to be around you for the past 3 years. I am blown away at all you have been able to accomplish over that time. You embody everything that makes our class special and I owe a lot of others success to you. We will miss you at class, but I know our paths will cross again. Thank you for everything!

  2. Please provide a subtitle of “do not read without Kleenex” on any future posts like this! I know I’m a big ball of stress this week, but I’m seriously boo-hooing at my computer right now.

    I’m going to miss you, my boot camp sistah! I sincerely hope our fitness paths will continue to cross through TRI training, or random run ins 🙂 You have inspired me at every class and I so appreciate your good cheer, encouragement, and friendship! HUGS!!

  3. Oh man “I was sad and unhealthy and anxious and stressed. I was wallowing in self-hatred and depression.” That would be me, now, since forever. But your writing here gives me hope and encouragement to try to make something fit in our crazy lives. Because I can’t be good if I am all those things above. Thanks
    (Also, “working out is just something parents do”. I like that. That is good stuff.

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