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What’s Your Why?


MARIE KEYES, AGE 63

My husband’s nephew did his first Olympic Triathlon on his 40th birthday six years ago. I went to cheer him on. Over the course of the day, I saw every type of athlete tackle and claim the course. Later that afternoon over a celebratory lunch, I saw him beam with a sense of pride I had never witnessed.

Over the next few months he encouraged me to give it a TRI! Now, I was 56 yrs old, morbidly obese, and with chronic hip issues. But he never let up and through swims, bike rides, yoga, tears…he was there for me. In June of 2014 I did my first sprint triathlon. It was the worst three hours of my life. DFL, sore, hot, but I finished. And immediately started talking about next year. 2015 was more of the same. A single sprint, with a faster time but a significant injury. In 2016 I stepped up my game and completed three sprints including the Girlfriends Triathlon in Vancouver USA. Some seasons, I only manage one pathetic finish, but still I TRI!

Back when I started this, my family saw such a change in me. Physically, I dropped 65 lbs. Mentally, I was calmer and more focused. I was “better”. From 2007 – 2014, I experienced some rough times. I lost my mom, then my husband. Sold my home, got seriously injured in a motorbike accident in Vietnam and was just going through the motions of life. My older brother ( I have 3)… Had just turned 64 and was feeling ” old”. Then he saw the change in me. We talked about the importance of life. I told him this was hard. The hardest thing I ever committed to. But I told him, every day, my calendar said.. Walk… Swim…,bike.. And I did. I treated it like the most important meeting of the day. And then… He started… Walking every day! First, 1/4 of a mile… Then 1/2. Now, 6 years later he walks between 3 and 7 miles every day. He goes to the gym three times a week. Over 100 lbs lighter, he has done over 100 charity 5K’s. Walking has saved his life!! I am so proud of him.

Back in 2014, 5 of us started our preseason training with Planksgiving, a 30 day planking challenge. This year the group I mentor will be over 50 people strong. For many, it has been their starting point to better health.

Why do I try…,because if one person (my nephew James Keyes) can change the lives of so many people, just think what changes can be made down the road. We all can inspire so many through our actions!