So what do you do when you accomplish a major workout goal?
Well, according to Alexander City personal trainer Michelle West, you go get a cheeseburger then you start working on your next goal.
That’s exactly what she did Wednesday night after finishing the Run the Year Challenge, which entailed running or walking 2,019 miles in 2019.
“It’s a challenge that hit my Facebook feed and a few of us started talking about it and thought it would be fun,” West said. “You can do it as an individual or team up and do it with multiple people, so it’s not required to do it just as one person.”
But West did it all on her own — with the support of a lot of people, of course.
Those people gathered Wednesday evening when West finished her goal officially at the alley near Coffee Corner on Main. She was greeted by family, coworkers and friends as well as her clients at Anytime Fitness in Alex City.
“That was overwhelming,” West said. “I don’t like to make a big fuss. But there have been so many times I couldn’t do something with friends because I had to run. They’ve been there for me; they know how much time and energy and dedication it has taken to get this done and especially to get this done early.”
In order to accomplish the 2,019 miles in a year, the program suggests 5 miles per day. Around mid-January, West ramped it up to about 8 miles per day and once she had more daylight during the summer, she increased it to 10 miles per day in order to get it done by the end of August.
Breaking up the running has proved successful for West. She said she ran 2-3 miles in the wee morning hours, another couple miles after her personal training sessions, a few miles around lunchtime then another few after work. She also took it easy one day of the week, usually running only a mile on Sundays but then she made sure to make those miles up in increments throughout the week.
“It’s just become a way of life for me,” West said. “I started running five years ago. When I started running, I could not run for a minute without stopping to walk. I started a program called Couch to 5K and that really helped me to break it up and run in increments and reach my goals.”
As a personal trainer, West talks a lot about goal-setting. She said with having finished her Run the Year challenge in August, she has already set a challenge of doing 100 burpees per day in September then adding 100 pushups a day to that routine in October. But West won’t be as easily seen running the streets of Alex City 8 miles a day anymore.
“I’m relieved, excited, proud,” she said. “Making a goal and accomplishing it, it feels really really good. It’s hard when you think of the big number, but then you start breaking it up. You think of it as 100 or so miles this month then gradually increase it over time.”
With the crowd watching her and so many stores and businesses downtown showing their support with signs in West’s honor, it’s easy to see how she can be inspiration to the Alex City community.
“I just have to keep showing up, keep encouraging and keep being an example,” West said. “I always say you’re stronger than your excuses. But then also, I want to be there to congratulate them when they make their goals. I think goals are important — small goals, so you can accomplish them and pat yourself on the back then move on and build on that.”