What I love about having Gia as a coach is that she becomes a friend, cheerleader, mentor, and role model. Even though she is far faster than me and logs more miles, she never tries to force that in my own schedule. She understands my ability and limitations due to work travel and demands. While running less than 35 miles per week I have set a personal best in all distances ranging from 5k to marathon with her support and coaching.
A Healthy, Happier Bear
Gia not only is a dear friend, but is also my coach. I note this because not all friends can make the transition between a friendship and a professional relationship. Gia’s organization, motivation and deep knowledge allows this to be painless for us to be friends and her to be my coach as well. Gia takes the time to understand what works for me, based on my work schedule and my personal preferences in what I like to do to stay active. She customizes my training schedule to fit my needs and makes it fun…never the same, always incorporating new activities/ challenges to keep me on my toes…sometimes literally!
Before I met Gia, I was not a runner by any stretch of the imagination…..now, I consider myself borderline obsessed 🙂 Gia has instilled a passion for running in me and the confidence to accomplish my goals. She provides an enablement plan to ensure that I am successful. She not only guides me through physical training schedules, but provides incredibly helpful nutritional advice and post run guidance to ensure I’m healthy and safe. Gia is comprehensive in every communication plan she provides to me and allows me to approach any major challenge ready and motivated to execute. I am currently training for my THIRD marathon (I never thought I would say that) and have ran a tremendous amount of races and fun runs in between. Her guidance is invaluable and I am fortunate to have found someone who I can work with so easily. My trust in Gia has never been doubted…and neither has the delivery of my regular training plans that she sends to me 🙂 She is the absolute best. We always joke that you can do anything for a mile. What she doesn’t know is that I add to that statement : You can do anything for a mile and with Gia in your corner.
Gia is an amazing coach. Supportive, super responsive, and gives you that push that you need! Most importantly, for me, she’s great at making a schedule that works for you. So that you still love the run and it doesn’t feel like a chore.
In 2009 I was overjoyed at the arrival of my first child, baby boy Q. Post delivery I was not so excited about the additional 40 lbs I was carrying around. As a new mom I struggled with finding balance in my life enough to just go to work, be a mother and wife. In the seldom moments I had to slip out for a run I would come home frustrated and occasionally in tears. I had run prior to my first pregnancy, but was now finding the additional weight difficult to carry. In stead of focusing on shedding the weight I used it as an excuse to not run, I was a busy new mom to an amazing baby boy so I decided I just needed to stop torturing myself with exercise and focus on my family. Insert Coach Gia. Gia challenged me to run a half marathon…13.1 miles, I couldn’t manage 2 miles so the idea was crazy. Gia sent me a schedule. I told Gia all of my excuses. My chest was too big because I was nursing so running was really uncomfortable, Gia found a resolution. I work full time and come home having to cook clean and feed, I can’t do it. Gia worked with me to help me find balance in my life by coming up with practical solutions to my problems, in doing this she was also teaching me the importance of “ME time” and to invest in myself. Gia never gave up on me and worked with me through so many “I can’t” excuses,. She gently pushed me…right to the starting line of the 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon!! Gia ran the race with me, I was not pleasant at times, but she stuck by my side through the finish line when I welled up with tears. I was proud of myself. What an amazing feeling and gift that was!! My relationship with running continued through my second pregnancy, baby boy J was born in April 2012. Again I found myself with nearly 40 lbs of additional weight and started working slowly to shed them. This time managing work with my two boys, again Gia worked with me to help me find balance. There was now a jogging stroller involved (triple duty: running, weight training & quality time alone with Q) and occasionally my husband would join in! Two months after giving birth Gia asked me if I would run the New York City Marathon with her, it was on her birthday. I laughed. She sent me a training schedule. 6 weeks prior to the marathon I was running a local half marathon, it was a rainy gray day in September, at mile 8 I spotted my husband and 3 year old son on the side of the road. I stopped for a quick kiss and I thanked them for coming to cheer me on. What happened next was the biggest emotional pay check I have ever received, my son looked at me with genuine excitement and said “I’m proud of you mummie, run fast and I’ll see you at he finish line!”. I’m proud of you mummie…my son was proud of me!! Again I cried because I was so happy about the adjustments in my thinking and in my life that Gia had coached me through to get to this point. The 2012 NYC Marathon was canceled, that was no excuse to bow out of completing the race I had trained for, I did reach my goal and ran as a refugee runner in the Potomac Marathon. I did the work, I trained my body and my mind to find the balance I needed to be successful, but I couldn’t have done any of it with out the support, guidance, problem solving and encouragement I received from Gia. Gia was always compassionate about the issues I faced, but never allowed me to turn my challenges into excuses. Gia made this journey into running so fun, complete with tiaras, sparkly headbands and sequined skirts, and she taught my family to enjoy this journey together!
-Addie Lucas, Virginia