It All Starts With Heart.
As I am sitting here sick, the reality hits me that its been very close to three years to the day that we lost one of the most influential people in my early struggles to take control of my mental and physical health.
I do not even remember how I found out about the Cardio Coach program. I think I was looking for something I could do outside the world of being with my trainer. The Cardio Coach program was a set of at the time CD’s to walk you through the drudgery that was cardio.
The program was headed by coach Sean O’Mallley (AKA Cardio Coach). Sean was an amazingly talented and motivating trainer when you listen to him on the discs. He truly had a grasp of how much machine workouts had been a challenge, and the work outs had always been meant to be doable but leave you screaming for air later.
But it did not begin to describe how special of a man Sean was.
I have not made it a secret that the first couple years of my journey had been rough. Very few people realize how rough it was for me. I was the master of self-sabotage, and I was defiantly dealing with the mental side of taking control of my health. I did not think I was worthy of being healthy, I didn’t understand why my journey was so tough hense, I wanted to quit frequently. Often, I was depressed, and was dealing with things I did not even begin to understand.
Sean was always available via e-mail to talk about workouts, talk about struggles and to support me through whatever was going on. If my trainer was being a butt, he would be the one to give me the other side of the story and talk me through why things had not been working. Sometimes it would be a matter of telling me to suck it up, that he believed in me, and I just needed to keep going head first through the storm. We never met face to face, but he would always be one of the few I knew I could say anything to. He knew probably more then anyone how rough it was on me, and how much I was trying to overcome.
When I first started running; Sean was the number two person behind me other then my own trainer, telling me he believed in me. He sent me a Cardio Coach care package, including shirts to wear, CD’s to sell to help with my fundraiser. He wanted me to know that I will always have a Cardio Coach family behind me.
What I never realized is Sean was dealing with many mental and physical health issues behind the scenes. You would of never suspected when talking to him, because it was always all about his clients, all about what he could do to help them find their way. The only thing I ever heard from him is “I believe in you” “You have this handled”
March 25th 2012, Sean took his own life, right before I ran my first full marathon. Sean was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), from playing contact sports. CTE was responsible for the dark thoughts he was suffering through, the inability to remember certain dates, the fact he could not remember his own age. CTE stole his joy, his desire to live and ultimately lead to him taking his life.
I always make it a point to take Sean out for a run at least a few times a month. I might not do the workout, but being able to have his voice out there, reminding me that “It All Starts With Heart” or reminding me that I have the choice of “being a lion or a gazelle.”
His Cardio Coach legacy lives on with his group of Press Play Athletes who continue to run, walk and ride in his memory. We always talk about how he joined us on the workout, even if its just a memory of his voice when we are outside enjoying our cardio, a dove that sits on the fence, or if its just a reminder of how awesome Ole’ Miss Sports are (but he did always give me grief for being a Sooner with webbed feet) I know we will continue to push on. Because he truly taught us “It All Starts With Heart.”
I will always miss you Coach!