If someone would have told me a year ago I’d be where I am today, I would have thought they were crazy. I had no idea this kind of happiness existed and was out there for the taking. As a recovering addict, it is critical who I choose to surround myself with, they can be the life or death of my sobriety. I am so blessed to call these people my friends. I love them like my own family and am grateful for all they have taught me and inspired me to do.
On a Sunday in October of 2009, I walked into Carisse’s Spin class at LVAC. It had been a very long weekend and the last place I really wanted to be was at the gym; but when I was sitting on the couch looking at the class schedule for the day, Spin popped out at me, so off I went. It was the most challenging thing I had done in the gym since joining in the beginning of September but I really enjoyed it. I started attending her Spin class 3 times a week. Every time it was filled with motivation, inspiration and excitement to live a happy healthier life. Carisse made me feel like she was there because she wanted to be not because it was her job. She had just started a 100-day challenge to finish the year strong and talked about stepping out of your comfort zone to get some of those goals done. I signed up for her Motivational Monday emails and found her on Facebook to follow the challenge. It got me thinking about what I wanted to get done before 2010. I made a list at the beginning of the year but it didn’t last long. When I spoke to Carisse about helping with a running plan and doing some personal training her sincerity was so reassuring that this was achievable. My nervousness turned into excitement and I was ready to begin this journey. I started training 3 times a week. There were times I wondered what I had got myself into and felt like I could do no more, but Carisse helped push me safely past that uncomfortable level little by little. I started to see the physical changes but the most rewarding part was the mental strength I was gaining. I began my running journey on October 29th with running a minute and walking a minute for 15 minutes. That 1 minute of running felt like hours and the walking seemed like seconds. I gradually increased my running time but kept the walking in between the same and when I hit 10 mins running it felt amazing. I ran my first race, a 5K, on December 19th 2010. As I turned the first corner I heard my Mom’s voice say “Go B” and when I looked over and saw my family cheering me on the tears started rolling. What a pleasant surprise, I had no clue anyone was even coming out to see it. I will never forget the emotions of crossing the finish line for the first time. My next goal was a 10K which I completed on January 9th 2010. Carisse ran with me and with her motivation and encouragement I crossed the finish line smiling. I continued training with her 3 times a week and was learning so many new and exciting exercises I could do on my own at the gym or at home. I felt like it was time to take on my next running goal, a half marathon. Carisse put together a running plan for me to slowly increase my miles at a safe pace. She even ran some of the longer training runs with me. On April 10 2010 Carisse and Palani picked me up and we drove out to Lovell Canyon to run the half marathon together. With no music we were able to chat on and off through the run, taking in the entire experience. I remember looking out at the beautiful scenery at one point and thinking, wow is this really happening right now. I felt so free. I started to feel some pain in my knee after we conquered a huge steep hill but having Carisse and Palani at my side with encouragement and motivation I kept going. Coming up to the finish line I saw my son cheering me and I broke into tears. I crossed that finish line which was an incredible feeling but what was even more fulfilling was when my son turned to me and said “Good job Mom, I’m proud of you”! I felt like for the first time in a very long time I was becoming someone my son could look up to again. Words can’t describe the emotions I felt on that day. The final piece of this journey is to complete a full marathon. I started training in September with Carisse and Palani for the Las Vegas RockNRoll Marathon on December 5th. They have been by my side every step of the way. I am beyond excited to cross that finish line with 2 of the most inspirational people I have ever met and am grateful to call them my friends.
My story isn’t so much about the physical changes, however they have been a huge bonus, but the mental changes I have experienced. I feel as though I have gotten stronger everyday and am able to live a manageable life again. Things are not perfect and I still have to work hard everyday to keep it right but the pain is far less then it ever was. It was easy to live a life of numbness and avoidance of myself and others for a long time but that loneliness became unbearable. I was blessed to walk into that Spin class on that Sunday in October and meet Carisse. It is a scary thought when I think about how different this last year could have been had that not happened. Carisse has inspired me so much that I wanted to help others the way she has helped me. I now have a Group Fitness Instructor Certification and Schwinn Spin Certification and am in training to teach classes where I work. I am working on getting a Personal Training certification and plan to grow with this industry that is ever changing with knowledge. I have a close relationship with my family and love them very much. With out their support this change would not have been possible; they stuck by side through the bad and the good. My daily goal now is to always make today better then yesterday.
Carisse is not only my trainer, running partner, co worker, motivator, inspiration and hero, but what I am most blessed to call her is my friend. A forever friendship has been made and for that I am beyond grateful. She is the real deal, she lives what she teaches. If you are looking for a significant change in your life weather it is physical or mental you have come to the right place. Carisse not only changed my life, she saved it. I love you dearly, my friend, and am thankful for all you have given me.
Bridgett, this testimonial means the world to me. Thank you so much! I am so blessed to be a part of your journey and be forever friends with you! What a ride... and it's not over...