Connecticut Life Coach Susan Epstein

The Process of Change

I recently received a parent coaching testimonial from a client in Vermont (I practice as a life coach from Connecticut) who wrote about getting her family life in order. One of the gifts that came out of our parent and life coaching relationship was the implementation of an exercise plan that she could stick with.

She, like most of us, started and stopped exercising routinely. I began thinking about the “shift”. You know, when you get it and it sticks and you are having fun and it is good for you!!

I remembered my own process over the past couple of years. I ran into a high school classmate a few years ago. He was very excited to tell me that he had just run his first marathon. I was shocked! He was never an athlete in school and let’s say that we already had celebrated our 25th high school reunion. You get the drift. How does an almost-50-something run a marathon?

He told me that he joined a group of beginning marathoners through Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, in New London, Connecticut. During the course of 6 months they trained together and last year he ran the New York City Marathon and finished. Now he is traveling all over the country running different races.

I wanted to try running again. In my 20’s I ran a 10k and then about 12 years ago I was running 3 miles or so for exercise. I had an injury, something I will never do again, running with the Golden Retriever, he pulled and I went down. Thus, the running stopped, because I was in pain. I was terrified to try again. Will it hurt? If I get all excited and I can’t do it will I be a failure? So I put it in that category of “not now”. However, the thought of doing this kept nagging at me.

This past May, I was talking to my friend Lauren about running.(It helps that she is a phys ed teacher at a local high school.) I asked her to train me. Then I asked my husband if he wanted to do it, too. The three of us decided to work together and Lauren, our new personal trainer, began the process with us.

The Goal

First she said, “You need to have something to work towards. Pick a race.” We are active volunteers in The Cove, a Connecticut-based nonprofit, that provides free services for grieving children. A fundraising 5k race was in the planning stages for October 15, 2006. Now we had our goal. I shared this experience with my client and by the following call she had also signed up for a 5k in Rutland, Vermont.

The Experiment

The first day, I could only run for 5 minutes. I was out of breath, and in a lot of pain. Lauren said, “We are doing this slow and easy. If it hurts we will back off, re-evaluate and try it again, differently. The point is to enjoy the run.” So we ran and talked, changed our routes, changed the time of day, changed the schedule until we found the best combination.

The Shift

The shift occurred around week 6 when we began to notice that we weren’t in constant pain and out of breath. We were laughing and having fun. At that moment I knew that I would run the 5k and finish it. What an accomplishment!


This week marks the beginning of our 11th consecutive week of training. We are running 2 miles in about 22 minutes. The race is 6 weeks away and we are already starting to look for our next race…maybe even a 10k!

My client got the gift of change when she wasn’t really looking for it, and I in turn, got my own nudge by walking the walk along side her. And, Lauren, our personal trainer, has upped the ante in her own life and will be running a half-marathon next month in Newport, Rhode Island.

Susan Epstein is a life, parenting, and weight loss coach at Feroce Coaching.

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