EASTON — One day last June, Kim Gibbons-Neff, a speech therapist at Easton Elementary School, along with a few other teachers, decided to jump into a freeze-tag-dodgeball type of game with their students. During the game, she was stunned by a pop in the back of her leg, immediate tightness, and then searing pain that rendered her unable to walk.
A trip to the emergency room revealed a torn calf. The attending physician prescribed no weight on the leg for at least two weeks, then a long, slow recovery to allow the muscle to repair itself.
“It was a wake-up call,” she said. “My husband was traveling, we had new puppies, and of course, our three kids.” This was Ms. Gibbons-Neff’s first “real” injury. She had always been athletic, but having just turned 40, she realized she had been taking her mobility for granted.
When her calf recovered, she decided to make a long-term change to her personal fitness regime. She did this by committing to do Eagleman because it would require her to make a lifestyle change from just powering through with her innate physical ability to a more disciplined approach.
She joined Team TriMacc to prepare for the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run. The team, in addition to training, has committed to raising money to support the Pauline F. & W. David Robbins Family YMCA’s many community outreach initiatives.
“I need the discipline of being part of a team,” she said. She describes biking as her weakest sport and looks forward to group rides outside once winter begins to thaw.
She also looks forward to the coaching that the group’s facilitator, Tracy Maccherola, will provide along the journey. “Tracy and the team will push me the way I never push myself,” she said.
What Ms. Gibbons-Neff is especially looking forward to is enjoying herself on Eagleman race day. When she ran her first marathon several years ago, she was so focused on the running that she never looked up to enjoy the scenery.
“It was the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC and there were all these wonderful sights along the course, especially the monuments,” she said. “I didn’t see any of it, and I regret that.” She promised herself that she will keep her eyes open during Eagleman and take it all in.
To donate to the YMCA through Team TriMacc, visit www.classy.org/team/193403.