Who really INSPIRES you? Maybe it’s a successful athlete, author, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company! Perhaps it’s a successful actor, a book written by your favorite author, someone you only know from a distance, from the magazines or the news. I’m sure we all could come up with someone we find inspiring, but what about someone right in your own backyard?
If you take a good look around, talk to a friend, family member, or the person standing behind you in the grocery line, you might find inspiration right next to you, literally, within your own community and among your closest friends! If you know someone who has been kind to a stranger, picked up trash in a park, kept a good attitude through a hard time or illness, or perhaps kept their house sparkling clean at all times (while yours only gets cleaned for company ;)) then you know someone inspiring! Perhaps you know someone who has made an impact in their community somehow by volunteering, donating to a local food bank, or someone who has beat the odds and made a better life for themselves financially, nutritionally, or physically.
We’re finding them, meeting them, and picking their brains every week on the 3W Races blog and sharing their stories with you because inspiration is important to us and it’s fun to recognize those who inspire us here! Inspiration can be found EVERYWHERE, especially locally here in Colorado!
As for my most recent encounter with inspiration, I had the opportunity to meet a woman who inspires me in many ways – with her happiness, her evident love for life, and her motivation to overcome the doctors’ prognosis of “You’ll be dead by 40” and lost 160lbs to better her life and her health! Her ongoing story is not just about losing pounds, but about making a choice to be active, live longer, healthier, happier, and impacting so many along the way. How did she do it?! Well, read on folks! She did it “one step at a time.” Literally . . . ☺
“One Step At a Time” – An Interview with Carrie Lukins
What was your inspiration to get active and start running?
“Well, I was 36 years old when my doctor told me that I would be dead by 40….!! THAT was a huge wake-up call for me. I had been big for 20 years. I didn’t have the nutrition component. I used food as therapy, but I considered myself to be pretty active as a “big girl”. My husband was active duty military and knew a lot about CrossFit exercises. He taught me some of the movements that I would occasionally do from the house” Carrie smiles as she recalls…. “I would do ‘TABATA’ intervals which were shorter, higher intensity workouts (that was my kind of workout)!”
“Everything really changed when I heard about the Couch-to-5k program. I literally just decided to start moving. The first “workout” was walking to the mailbox and back, then around the block, then 2 blocks, and so on…”
“My first 5k took 58 minutes and 49 seconds! Haha! Now my average 5k is about 38 minutes, which still isn’t great, but it’s a lot better! After the 5k, my friend encouraged me to train for a half marathon. I agreed, signed up and we started training. Then my friend injured herself and couldn’t do the race. I thought “I trained for this race! I’m going to finish it!” And there you have it, my first 13.1 mile race, the Slacker Half!”
Carrie talked about her journey from the first 5k to her first marathon, “I do the Slacker Half every year commemoratively. I moved on to complete an obstacle course race when, again, a friend encouraged me to do the Spartan race in 2012. THEN, two years ago, I completed the St George Marathon with my sister! My one, and probably only marathon. Since then I’ve done races in North and South Carolina, California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Utah, and all over Colorado!”
“I LOST 160 LBS!”
Carrie thought about how running changed her life in many ways. One way was in her family life, “I love my children, but I wrapped myself up in their upbringing and, in the process, I forgot to take care of myself. Four years ago I decided that I wanted to be around for my kids at 40 and for a long time after. So I made a change and decided that if I wanted to be the best mom I could be, taking care of myself was the first step!”
Running also changed her professional life. “I branded myself as the Running Realtor. I market to running clubs, cross country, track teams, and colleges. And I market to people who want to live near running areas by placing links to different run clubs and such on my website. I really started to LOVE running and it just sort of naturally changed my professional career as well!”
“RUNNING WAS MY NEW THERAPY”
Carrie sets new goals every year so she doesn’t become stagnant. This year she completed 10 half marathons, 2 Ragnars, 12 Spartan races, and she climbed her first 14er (Pikes Peak) last Saturday (Oct 10th)!
Did you have periods of self-doubt when you felt like you couldn’t keep going?
“I knew that I couldn’t make excuses anymore. I had to put it on the schedule or it just wouldn’t happen. So now, I get up at 4:30am to run at least 4 days a week. The shortest distance I ever do is 2 miles. It just depends on what I’m training for. I like to get up and start my morning physically, spiritually and nutritionally on the right foot, so I always get up early to do it!”
What motivates you to keep at it?
“To enjoy life! Plus, I’m becoming a grandma. I want to be there for my grandson who is arriving in January. I want to show him how to lead a healthy happy lifestyle.”
Carrie’s favorite thing about running is “having me time in a constructive manner. I don’t have to stop running to keep dreaming, thinking, and contemplating. I improve myself physically while I enjoy me time.”
What is your favorite thing about the running “Community”?
“I love the encouragement. It’s not competitive, it’s just encouraging. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow, you’re running the same distance and you’ve achieved the same accomplishment.”
What was your hardest and most fulfilling race? Why?
“The full marathon was the hardest!” Carrie happily reminisced. “It’s a long way to run! You’re pushing your body to major extremes even if you’ve trained for it. I admit that I had moments of doubt along the way. I admit …. I knew my key was in my pocket and I knew where I parked, so I was literally thinking of walking straight to my car and leaving!”
As for Carrie’s most fulfilling race, “Completing the Prairie Dog Half Marathon Series :)– 52.4 miles was huge for me! It was manageable and having the fifth medal was huge! I run for the bling, I’m not going to lie!” Carrie said with a laugh. “It was like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. I actually have a tattoo that says ‘one step at a time’.”
Do you have any advice or inspiration for new runners?
“You learn to love it! You’re only competing against yourself and the only person you have to beat is yourself and often times you are your biggest competition.”
If Carrie hadn’t walked into our office, I never would have had the chance to meet someone with such passion and determination! Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your story and inspiring us all to “Do what you can, when you can, where you are”!