Today we share an inspiring example of endurance from Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park, MN. On September 8, Fitness Instructor Tracy Mindiola ran a virtual Boston marathon, starting and ending at Lake Minnetonka Shores, and galvanized a crowd of residents and staff. She finished the 26.2-mile race in 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds. She tells her story:
“Three and a half years ago, I stood 80 pounds overweight, unhealthy, inactive and faced with a mountain of regrets. I was challenged to run a marathon. I thought, Why not? I ran in high school. At the beginning, I could not run a block. As much as I didn’t want to run, I found myself every day lacing up those shoes and facing that trail before me. On that trail, I ran through failure, anger, tears, endless health issues, and a troubling past. Each day I wasn’t sure what God was going to present me on that hour-long run, but I was ready to listen and change.
“In my first marathon I crossed the finish line in the pouring rain with a smile gleaming across my face. I did it! I cross the finished line – the old was gone. God helped me turn the unhealthy me into an alcohol free, 80 pounds lighter, fit and determined person, with many falls along the way, pursuing a career in my passion, fitness and nutrition.
"Yet what other finish lines was God leading me to? Each day the hardest decision we make is being brave, getting out of bed and showing up...
"Qualifying for the Boston marathon is a runner’s dream and a dream I never saw reaching. In two years, I shaved one hour off my marathon time, giving me a qualifying time. My dream of crossing the ultimate finish line in front of friends and family was going to happen.
"When the race went virtual, I was beyond upset. What was God’s purpose? As I was leading fitness class one day, I looked out at the residents. Every day the residents wake up and show up to my classes. They lace up their shoes and come with their own goals. When I told the residents that I was thinking of running the marathon from Lake Minnetonka Shores, they said, 'What time will you finish? We’ll be there to welcome you home.' I had no choice but to bring Boston to Lake Minnetonka Shores.
"As I rounded that final corner of the marathon, all my pain vanquished when I saw residents and staff lining up at the finish line and filling up the balconies, yelling, banging drums, cheering and welcoming me home. The residents and the staff showed up for me and turned an undesirable experience into a moment I’ll never forget. There were times I wanted to quit but knowing they would show up for me, I was inspired to finish the race. I will be forever grateful. The words the residents shared with me are words I don’t hear often. They were proud, called me a winner and all were impressed because I put one foot in front of the other.”
Gary, a Lake Minnetonka Shores resident, who was among the cheering crowd, said, “I see her accomplishment as just like ours. You never quit – alone as you are there. Sometimes you turn the corner and you see the finish line and a bunch of people encouraging you on … LET’S LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
Tracy closes with these words: "No one needs to run a marathon, but we all have our own races to run (Hebrews 12:1). The journey before us each day is unknown. We can make the choice to lace up those shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and see what God has before us. We will fall along the way. Hills may be hard to climb. Paths may be icy. There will be intersections where we have to wait against our wills. But if we keep running, there is hope and purpose. All we have to do is show up at that starting line and trust God to lead us to that finish line in His timing and according to His course."
One day at a time
A tribute to unsung heroes
How far would you go?