Saturday Spotlight- Joanne Martin

Warrior of the Week
Joanne Martin
Age 56
Married 36 years
2 children
2 grandchildren
Always thin, I don’t know why. I just was. I never paid attention to diet. I ate what I liked when liked. I stayed thin all through high school. No sports for me. My family wasn’t very “sports minded”. I never really played “rough”. I had really good grades in high school but barely enough gym class to graduate.I smoked and drank on the weekends.
I married young, 20 years old. By age 25 I had two children, a house with a mortgage and a ton of bills. With very little money and two kids a husband who worked 75 hours a week I packed on the pounds. I looked normal but unhealthy eating and my smoking and drinking continued and it was only a matter of time that I was overweight. To look at me , many people would say I wasn’t fat. But I was. In so many unhealthy ways.
Fast forward to 40! Married 20 years, house is almost paid off. One in college, one in last years of high school. Yay! Me! Right? Not so much. I was diagnosed with uncontrolled hypertension. To my reluctance I went on medication. I found a wonderful acupuncturist who helped me quit smoking with surprisingly very little withdrawal except one thing…I ate like I was going to the chair. And I kept on drinking because that’s good for hypertension (sarcasm here) and after all I HAD just given up smoking so I was cool with it.
Then I decided to exercise. By exercise I mean parking my car far away from an entrance, taking the stairs. I joined Weight Watchers. I joined Curves. I got thinner but was by no means healthy.
I continued this unhealthy pattern for a few more years and didn’t stay thin long.
It was at this time, I was getting fed up and found a small private gym owned by June Luciano and her business partner. They had mostly women clients. I started strength training. I became friendly with June and when she left to go to a bigger gym, I followed.
It was intimidating at first but I took to it and worked out on a regular basis. But the diet never was quite right and I was still drinking and I HATED cardio. Loathed it.
Then my mother who had Crohn’s disease died from complications of her disease. Four years later, a good friend passes away suddenly on New Years Eve in a tragic snowmobile accident while my father suddenly takes ill in Florida and passes away two weeks later. Then another good friend dies in a tragic car accident a few months later. I was a mess. I was spiraling into a sadness I didn’t think I’d ever come through. There wasn’t anything I could do to numb my pain believe me I tried. But, I did manage to stop drinking.
I followed June, who is now a very supportive friend, to yet another gym. This one larger than the other and even more intimidating. It was there June suggested we train together. We would eat clean, train hard and do cardio. 4 days a week. I followed a 12 week program and the pounds fell off. I was thrilled!
June is a runner and i knew she loved it and I loved hearing all about it. I wanted to run. Hmm.. but how? So I searched until I found Kiersten’s treadmill class. I was petrified. I hate new things. Not knowing something. Learning new things. I found it really hard but I did it and then signed up for her Walk to Run 5k.
It was so hard for me (still is). I was sore. I was SLOW. I didn’t know what I was doing most of the time. I was sweaty. I was cold. My feet and hands were numb. My nose would run! I was confused about pace, time, you name it I WAS PETRIFIED. I still am. Every single time.
But I did it. I went to all her classes. It was still hard but i was determined. I ran my first 5k that June. I did a few more 5ks and signed up for fall classes with Kiersten.
December 31 2014 June brought me to the hills to walk with Mary Brett and Krissy Sallustro. We only walked half of it that day and I got a sticker from Lou. I wouldnt put the sticker on my car until I had at least walked the whole course. Another day, Debra oh so Beautiful was kind enough to walk the whole course with me. I don’t think that was her original plan but I’m glad she didn’t mind. It was a gorgeous day and I kept remarking how beautiful it is up there. This is why I never know where I am or where I’m going because I’m too busy looking at the bucolic views…I still didn’t put the sticker on. I wouldn’t put it on until I had at least tried to run it. When I had recruited a friend Debbie Ramirez to run it with me and we actually did, then and only then did I put it on. Then I bought all the Selden Hills gear.
This year I signed up for the entire Sayville Summer Series. I completed all the races including the dreaded 4 milers. With the Summer Series behind me, I was thinking of a 10k. It was going to be Cherry Avenue Harvest Run. June suggested Cow Harbor. I told her it was too hard. She laughed and said if you can run the hills you can run Cow Harbor. So I signed up and she was right. I did surprisingly well that day. Then Entemanns 10k. Now, I’ve signed up for the brewery run.
I’ve said I’ll never do a half marathon but now I’m thinking if I survive the brewery run maybe a half is next…baby steps…

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