"I was a bit overwhelmed by so many fit people at my first ever Fleet Feet Sports Stamford training. I knew I was over my head, but then Victoria introduced me to Pam. She was tall and spoke a mile a minute but I didn’t know she was my mentor. I missed the word “mentor” in the introduction. I just thought she was another walker in the program. She offered to take my water bottle which I though was kind of her but thought “OMG she must see a completely out of shape person who can’t even carry a water bottle. UGH!”

After the warm up we started to walk, at a very fast pace. Pam started asking me questions about what I do, if I exercise and what brought me to Fleet Feet. I answered as she kept on walking at a much faster pace. I wanted to drink my water but couldn’t reach it because Pam was a bit ahead of me; not so much so that I couldn’t hear what she was saying but distant from me as not being able to reach my water bottle. And I didn’t want to interrupt her speaking about running, forms, swimming, cycling and more. What she was saying was very interesting and I was soaking in all the information.

A couple weeks into the program I finally realized Pam was my mentor. DUH!!!

On every walk she kept pushing me to walk faster and straighter. Posture was key in order to breathe correctly she would say. From time to time she would say let’s run a little I would try but couldn’t keep it consistent. She wouldn’t discourage me only tell me I was doing well. She always pointed to how I was when I first started and where I am now. I’ve moved ahead!!! By the time the training program had finished I was at a 16 min mile walking. Mind you Pam would tease me from time to time that if I made it to 18, 17, 16 min mile she’d buy me a cone at the DQ on our way back. I never got my ice cream cone but I did reach each minute goal she set.

One day Pam told me about a triathlon she competed in during our training walks. She noticed this big girl doing the race. She swam fast and rode her bicycle even faster. It was all Pam could do to maintain a pace with her. Once the running portion approached the girl fell behind, not too much but enough for Pam to advance ahead of her. After telling me this she said, “You can do a triathlon!”

Pam Wilder inspired me to go forward. This is in no disrespect towards Victoria who introduced the No Boundaries program, or Robin who would tell me to straighten my back while running, or Kate constantly telling me to bounce instead of going into a full walk when training. Each one of them has given me the best advice and encouragement with running. The difference is Pam opened my eyes to other possibilities during our training walks and kept doing so even after I became the walk mentor.

How could I not do a triathlon after your mentor tells you so convincingly that you can? And, I hope to do the KIC Triathlon in 2016. The Sprint version not the Olympic … let’s be real :)" 

                  ~Adriana, mentee and nominator

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