Today, I started working with Sophia. (not her real name) She is a young teen who is desperate for some changes in her life. (She gave me permission to write/blog/tweet about this~)
Today, we started the Couch to 5K program, found on coolrunning.com. Today was Day One, and she was ready.
I pull up at 7am and ring the bell, not actually expecting her to come to the door. She opens the door, fully dressed and ready to go. Her aunt is there, and says, “I think I’d like to go with you too sometime.” I’m thinking “no. no way. not yet. This is Sophia’s time.” Now, mind you…this is a girl who is up until 2am on MySpace and Facebook, and without divulging everything here, has had LOTS of issues. She is mainly sedentary, on the computer all day and night, with virtually no exercise. I came over to her house last night with the C25K program, and a Runners World journal. I suggested a few things (I spied the 12pk of REAL Pepsi), that maybe no caffeine after noon, 5 fruits & vegetables, turning off the computer, etc. She was willing. I thought she wasn’t serious.
She bounds out of her house, and I have my water packs on (just finished 4x400s with Kim). I have a watch. We are to walk 5 minutes, then do 60 sec run, 90 sec walk for 20 minutes. We start to walk. Very slowly. We jog our 60 sec. She is breathing hard. We walk. The second one is a bit more taxing. I give her my bottle, and she waterfalls it. Good job. I remember Day One. Very well.
By the third jog, she is significantly tired, breathing hard, exhausted. She pukes. She pukes again. I start to wonder if I can really help her. She reminds me that her doctor and parents (friends of mine) gave her permission to start the program. I am worried that she may fall over. She is 5’2′ and weighs 230 lbs. I remind myself that I’m CPR and First Aid Certified, and was a PE teacher. She is spitting and puking, and I say to her, “You are a rock star. You puked!” She smiles.
We walk home. She is quiet.
We made plans to go to Fleet Feet. We stop at Subway for a healthy lunch. I take her in to see Tony. He is the manager. He is busy, but he will help her. I tell him I want only him to help her. He fits her with a shoe for $125 that comes in next week. She is texting all her friends telling them that she is at a runner’s store. He is amazing and helpful and kind and welcoming. He says, “You gotta start somewhere.” Why do I like this store? He’s like all of you…welcomes any new runner, because we all had a Day One. (I had a Mizuno shoe problem, he ordered me another one, and I will never EVER shop anywhere else…If nothing else, I’m loyal to the bone.)
We drive home. She is smiling and giggling, texting her family and friends.
I am tired, but feel hope. Lots of hope.
Change comes. One person at a time.