Inspiration Story 4 – Elise


My path to fitness is inconsistent. At least it always had been until about a year and a half ago.

My family has always been active outdoorsmen. We fished, hunted, hiked or we traveled to fish, hunt and hike. We cross country skied, snowshoed and dogsledded. I took tennis lessons right in my hometown. I did early morning swimming classes. I biked until I could drive. When I started elementary school I did organized sports – soccer, basketball, volleyball. I wasn’t a star athlete; but, I participated. When I started high school I chose softball and, later on, cross country skiing. So, yes, I was active and maybe there was some consistency here; but, there was little personal investment.

Going into college, the schedule changed. I was in charge. Nobody was signing me up for afterschool activities. I had to create my own schedule based on my priorities. So I used my free gym membership when I could or when I felt like it. Mostly that consisted of running on the treadmill. I knew how to do that and I wasn’t intimidated to hop on a treadmill. I was intimidated to try something new. I didn’t know how to use the fitness machines. So I stuck with running.

Leaving college, I signed up for my first half marathon. I also got a part-time lifeguarding job at a local athletic club that offered free membership as an employee. I started training. I love running; running clears my mind. I finished my first half marathon. I felt great. But as much as I loved running, I wanted a break. And my new work schedule took over and I quit my job at the athletic club. No more running, no more gym membership.

Finally, I took a job in the heart of the cities, longer commute, more hours and less free time. Fitness priorities fell to wayside. That was about a year and a half ago before I was introduced to Destination Fitness.

I quit my job in the cities and relocated to my hometown to take a job at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. This is when fitness changed for me. Julie and Mike are dedicated, interested, and attentive. They believe in what our bodies can do. Thanks to the DECC and Destination Fitness, fitness is a priority. Daily, I have the opportunity to participate in group and personal fitness classes. I’ve pushed my body more than I ever have. More than I ever thought I could. I honestly believe I’m a better athlete now than I was before. I’m personally invested. I know how to use the training machines and I’m more confident to incorporate what I learn in my group classes into my own workout routines. I’ve bench pressed, learned TRX & TKO and actually completed a pull-up. Every time I do these activities I think back to the fitness tests in high school gym class. I dreaded those days having to do pull ups in front of your entire class or being timed on my wall sit. Now, I do those regularly. And even if I can’t make the time, I’m never judged. I’m encouraged.

Mike created a half marathon training schedule for me. My goal was to beat 2 hours. I’d done two half marathons previously. Mike’s training schedule was much different than my regular routine. He had sprint workouts. Sprint workouts. But I did them. When I finished my 9 mile run in training, I was poised to meet my goal. I still couldn’t believe my average pace was 8:59 min/mi. That was a huge accomplishment for me. After that 9 mile run I had an injury and Mike was right there to keep me race day ready. I finished 2:03, my fastest time; but, still over two hours. Mike called me right away. Talked through the race with me. He fully believes that I’ll beat 2 hours next time.

Mike and Julie are always encouraging and they’ve truly been terrific companions since I moved back to the north shore. My path to fitness is consistent. I’m thankful for the contribution Destination Fitness has made to my life. Cheers!



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