December 12 2017
Meet Rhonda-Marie and Steven Parke, two ultrarunners who discovered their love for each other through running.
I spent the majority of my adult life raising my children. My sole focus was on caring for them and making sure they were happy and healthy. Along the way, however, I forgot about my own needs. Over the years, I gained weight and my health deteriorated.
My son has always been very active. When I watched him come across the finish line of an Ironman, I decided it was time to get in shape. I remember mumbling to myself, “I’m going to do this one day.” Immediately, that statement was followed by the thought, Am I crazy?! But something inside of me had ignited, and I couldn’t extinguish it.
The next step was to set my goal into action. In the beginning, all I could do was walk on the treadmill. Slowly, I started to run. About a year later, I signed up for a 5K. My next objective was to complete a sprint triathlon, then a half marathon. As I successfully trained (and finished!) these races, I not only gained fitness, but also a closer relationship with my son and daughter-in-law.
Two years ago, I faced a hip injury, but I never let go of my original goal to finish an Ironman, just like my son. In 2012, I ran another half marathon, a full marathon and (finally!) a full Ironman. It has been an amazing journey. I’ve completely fallen in love with exercise, and I feel amazing.
I’ve also surprised myself by discovering some talent along the way. This year, I qualified for USA Team National Triathlon. Although I ended up getting sidelined by injury and wasn’t able to compete, it’s incredible to know that I could accomplish this in 2014!
MY BEST ADVICE: GET A COACH!
You are never too old or too slow to hire a coach. She or he will watch out for you, know when to push you and when to slow you down. A coach also provides great motivation to stay focused on your goal.