The first thing you notice about Lucy McCormick is her beautiful smile and her expressive eyes. She exudes joy and positivity. Although we have never met face-to-face, simply sharing our journey’s through different running and fitness groups, she has become an incredible inspiration to myself as well as many others. Over the last few years, as we have been in different challenges, I have personally looked forward to her positive energy, her can-do attitude and her ability to work through incredible challenges with a smile. Lucy gets up and gets moving almost every day. As I share her story, my hope is you will feel drive and find her story inspirational.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lucy was one of 9 children, growing up with seven sisters and one brother. Family is important to Lucy as evidenced by her growing family. Her husband, who she has been with for 30 years, and married to for seven have blended their families to share 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. One of their highlights is when the family can all get together.
The desire to be active was inherent in Lucy, and something she seemed to crave more than the rest of her family. Being a tomboy, meant she grew up racing the boys in grade school and junior high and, of course, usually beating them. Once she started high school, she decided to take a different route learning to swim and joining the swim team her junior and senior year. Although, she never won a race, Lucy consistently set new PRs and even earned a trophy for Most Improved. After graduation, her desire to remain active continued when she chose to serve our country in US Air Force. Lucy laughingly admitted that service in the military meant she “kind of had to” stay active.
As years passed her commitment to being active continued and her fitness journey morphed with her daily challenges and lifestyle. One of her most difficult challenges is dealing with her husband’s dementia. In addition to the daily stress of worrying about his safety and care, she also has had to navigate when he has bad days, sometimes even forgetting his beautiful bride. Understandably, those days are more difficult for Lucy to stay active. Those are days when she acquiesces that life sometimes just happens. When the stress is difficult and she knows a workout isn’t possible, she looks to her support group to vent and talk with others who have or are going through similar difficulties. As always, Lucy looks for the positive and counts those days as rest days. On those difficult days, when she is able, Lucy will head out for a walk or workout, appreciating the few moments to clear her head. Daily, Lucy gets up and strives to keep herself healthy for her husband, children and grandchildren. Quitting is not an option.
Running was once part of Lucy’s routine, but as life has changed her fitness routine adapted. One day at a race she came across a race walkers’ group and decided to give it a try. Meeting every Saturday, the group taught her the mechanics and Lucy has been hooked ever since. In addition to her walking she includes biking and following video programs with different strength and cardio workouts. Another challenge was a meniscal tear resulting from the intense jumping in some of the workouts. Surgery to repair the tear and three months of PT limited her activity but being fit meant she healed quickly and was back at it, focusing on walking and adapting anything that required jumping. September of last year saw her sidelined once again, but this time with plantar fasciitis. Biding her time, she was cleared for doctor prescribed exercises only until January. The new year began slowly as Lucy started with a half mile walk, adding another half mile a week later and then consistently adding a half mile. She was holding steady at a 5K but is looking for another gradual increase soon.
Lucy’s advice for anyone just starting is to start small. Break things into small, achievable, daily goals that are easily adjusted as you begin to see progress. Large, immediate goals can be a recipe for injury and failure. She reminds us that your fitness journey is about you and nobody else. Never focus on what others say and just do you.
Over time, Lucy has noticed changes in herself, the first being how much she misses when she doesn’t get a workout in. Working out and walking have become an integral part of her day. Her hubby doesn’t quite understand the walking and fitness journey, but the rest of the family does. Believing that more is caught than taught, Lucy has modeled a healthy, active lifestyle to her children and grandchildren, enough so that one of her sweet granddaughters chose to walk a 5K with her. Although her granddaughter was tired, they finished the race together enjoying and celebrating the memories they created.
Last year marked Lucy’s favorite fitness memory, her first time walking a half marathon. Setting the goal to finish in 3:30, she set out, knowing she didn’t train as much as she had hoped. Prior to the race her longest walk had been nine miles. Early in the race she hooked up with a pace group that did a 1-minute run/2-minute walk interval. Feeling great she stayed with them until mile 9 when her hamstring cramped. Stopping for 10 minutes Lucy worked out the cramp and was able to start again. Unable to catch the interval pace group, she continued to walk the final four miles. Crossing the finish line with a time of 3:27 she was ecstatic and wondered where you would have finished without the hamstring cramp.
Despite the many curve-balls life has thrown at her, Lucy continues to get up and get moving. She has chosen to turn potential excuses into reasons and to keep smiling. Lucy has an indomitable spirit, exuding strength, spirit, joy and positivity and as she said, “Quitting is not an option!”