Sunday, August 29, 2010

Karissa's 2010 End-of-season Address

Moms On The Run began with a group of young moms taking a mom and baby fitness class I taught in a local park. One spunky participant, who had joined the class after her husband found a flyer in their yard when he was mowing the lawn, decided she wanted to train for a 5k, and talked all her new best friends into this crazy idea. Stand up Tia.

Tia has lost 40 pounds since the start of the first season, and next year, will be an inspiration to so many when she steps up to become the head instructor of the Forest Lake class.

My continued interest and dedication to this program is motivated by stories such as this. In personal training, my ability to help people is limited by their income. Now, as an instructor of 26, and then 52, and now 197, the stories keep coming. So to those of you who have shared with me your stories, or your enthusiasm for the program, thank you. This is what keeps me going when obstacles arise, as they have.

I want to share with you just a couple of those stories from this week… although I want to decline some of the personal credit because I believe this program is what it is because of all of YOU. With her permission, Michelle from Shoreview wrote “what an amazing, surprising delight it has been to be a part of your program. I truly NEVER thought I'd make it to the end of this. All of my old friends are saying: "YOU? RUNNING? IN A RACE??? NO WAY!!" Your program has proven that ANYONE can do it if they follow the plan you've laid out and have GREAT instructors (such as Amy O!). I appreciate your program which has not only gotten me to start running, but even more so to a healthier lifestyle.”

Another Michelle, in Forest Lake, who was not able to be here tonight, said “I wanted to tell you how wonderful your program is. Without you, I would never have gotten off my butt and gotten into better shape. I've lost about 20 pounds, I'm eating right now and I feel TONS better. I also don't have headaches or backaches anymore. I feel like I'm going to be a lifelong runner, all thanks to you. I'm a huge supporter of your program and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. It's changed my life.” Michelle found out about the program when she was assigned to write about it for the front page story in the Forest Lake Press this spring. Again I want to humbly take out some of the “yous” from those testimonials. Moms On The Run is successful because of all of you guys. Women who make it a priority in their busy weeks to come together to sweat and laugh. Motivating and encouraging each other, inspiring each other to each take care of yourselves, so you can better care for your families. You most certainly inspire me.

One more testimony that made me laugh: This class gave me the motivation, accountability, and training schedule to turn me from someone reluctantly running so my butt wouldn’t get big, to someone who loves running and looks forward to it. It has been fun and incredibly motivating to get faster and feel stronger while paying a lot less than I pay for my gym membership. I’m already looking forward to fall!

You guys have worked hard. Some of you will smash old records at the race tomorrow. Some of you will be thrilled to finish with some recent challenges or injuries you’ve been facing. Many of you believe you will be last. So we should have quite the crew holding up the back! How many of you are running your very 1st 5k race tomorrow?

And now for the NOT so good news. As much as I love everything about this program as it is NOW, I have big decisions ahead of me regarding changes that need to be made. After careful analysis of the unanticipated expenses and marketing costs of this season, it is clear that the current structure of growth is not financially sustainable. While well-meaning consultants have advised I raise the price, I believe the affordability of the program is a huge component of it’s success. This program should be available to all families.

So instead, I’m asking for your help. I have a different plan. I hope to rally you today into a grass roots effort. It is the print advertising and distribution costs that are so prohibitive. I believe I can reduce these costs by encouraging women to do what they do best: talk! If this program has made a significant difference in your life, please share it. Come next spring, could you blog about it? Tweet about it, post it as your status? Could you especially help spread the word to friends in other areas of the metro?

For 2011, I am hoping to put together a volunteer marketing team to do things such as these, and also to delivery flyers, and help me learn more about other areas of the metro that I am unfamiliar with, especially the western metro. Please let me know if this interests you.

Tomorrow is it! If you don’t want the fun to end, consider joining us this fall. I have extended the regular registration rates on my website through tonight. I hope all of you will stay active this winter. I’m sure you have many new friends you can call on to hold you accountable. Next spring, I hope we all will be back together again, reaching for new goals. Perhaps a faster time, or a longer distance. Maybe you’ll be ready for a 10k, or even a 10 mile. Some of you will be quite content sticking with the 5k distance. You’re wondering if you’re going to make it tomorrow. With the adrenaline of the event and the encouragement of your teammates, you will.

I leave you with one final reminder – do not leave after the race tomorrow until after our large group photo with Sven! Now get some sleep, and we’ll see you in the morning!

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