The Chicago Marathon is hours away (as of Friday 10/8/10), despite everything Daniel Cubicle Dad Malinski has done to get himself ready for his journey through Chicago, he is not our Athlete of the Month.
Jennifer Harrison- A coach, mother world class athlete, Jennifer is not only Dan's coach, but the coach to dozens of other athletes in the area racing from the Ironman distance to newbie marathon runners.
Last October when I received the initial e-mail from Dan, asking for help, it was Jennifer who offered to jump in with both feet and take on a task that seemed impossible,"Jenny, I need you to coach a 330 pound guy for the marathon, who has never run in his life." Always up for a new challenge, there was no hesitation from Jenny, just one question, "when do we start."
Being a coach to an endurance makes you part coach, psychologist, baby sitter, lion tamer and whipping post. Working with a person with little or no background you also have to be patient, available, understanding and kind, qualities Harrison possesses in buckets and what's made her a perfect coach for Dan and the other athletes she coaches. She talks and listens to her athletes, making their training plans as well as racing plans and goals, adjusting and readjusting according to the many highs and lows of the sport.
Every day for almost a year, Harrison has balanced her regular coaching schedule with the additional task of guiding Dan through the new and sometimes confusing world of marathon training. With her guidance, he has stumbled but never fallen down as he has evolved from walking/running a 5K, to beating his personal best time in a 1/2 Marathon by 14 minutes. As we have run together, I have used the analogy with Dan that he is a marble slab and Harrison has been sculpting him, chipping away, sanding and polishing her masterpiece. Sunday, due in great part to her dedication and hard work, the masterpiece will be unveiled to the city, living out his life long dream of running the Chicago Marathon.
Beth Shutt- Nutritionist- Part of Dan's lifestyle transformation has been running, the other part has been learning new and healthy habits that will last him the rest of his life, that's where nutritionist Beth Schutt comes into play. Beth is nutritionist and world class triathlete who will be taking on the Ironman World Championships tomorrow (Saturday 10/9/10) in Kona, Hawaii.
When Dan and Jenny embarked on their journey, Jenny asked Beth to jump in and join Team Cubicle, and again there wasn't a moment of hesitation by Shutt. Despite having other clients and an insane training schedule getting ready for Kona, Beth was there everyday for Dan, helping him understand and learn healthy eating habits.
In a world of diet pills, 10 minute abs and fad cleanses, Shutt is a ray of sunshine to a person who is truly looking to make a healthy change. She is the combo of expert and kindergarten teacher, willing to take the time to explain in simple detail the hows and the whys of proper nutrition, making sense of something that can be completely confusing.
More that giving the order "eat better," Shutt
set up a plan with steps for Dan to follow, as well as leaving parts
for him to do on his own, to live what he had been learning. The
result a healthier man, who dropped 110 pounds and is setting an
example for his entire family for generations to come.
These two women do this to make a living, but more importantly because
they love it and are passionate about the lifestyles they live.
Despite all of their amazing athletic endeavors, the accomplishment
that shines brightest in their resume, is the fact that in a single
year they have altered the path of a mans life forever, making it
better, stronger and healthier. It is this dedication and passion that
makes up proud to not only know both Harrison and Schutt, but to make
them our Athletes of the Month.
We congratulate and thank you both.