TBT – Kristen Pearlman SHiFTs Negatives into Positives

Marketing Assistant and Front of House Staffer Kristen Pearlman is a warm and welcome presence  as she checks us in, answers our questions and hands us our lavender infused towels at the end of class. We rely on Kristen to hold down the fort and her stalwart energy helps to anchor our experience in the spin sanctuary! What you may not know is that Kristen is in the midst of an inspiring SHiFT of her own.

Here is Kristen in 2011 running the Portland Marathon. She has run numerous halves and several 20s, and went on in 2012 to run the Chicago marathon. A motivated athlete, Kristen found confidence, and even comfort, in competition. Never about out running others, always about pushing herself, Kristen was driven by miles run and paces set. Running was a healthy outlet that soon become an articulation and core part of her identity.

As we know from our rides at SHiFT, it isn’t always flat roads, its often steep hills.  And while training for the Marine Corps marathon, Kristen encountered a mondo hill when she tore the perineal tendon in her ankle. An injury was now threatening to take away one of her truest modes of survival. Defining herself as a marathon runner, Kristen now had to SHiFT her relationship to her sport, her passion, and ultimately her relationship to herself. 

In June of 2013 she had reconstructive surgery and there was still great hope that she would be running yet again. In the meantime, her next step was finding another athletic endeavor where energy and endorphins could translate into truth and triumph. Kristen’s legs and lungs found the workout they needed through SHiFTing and the leaderboard offered Kristen the familiar grounding of tracking numbers, charting achievements.

Something else we learn from our rides? Expect the unexpected. Due to scar tissue build up, Kristen had to undergo another surgery in December of 2014. It became apparent that pushing herself physically, even on the Spin bike, was not in the best interest of  healing. So she had to push herself in a new way…mentally. Kristen would have to find another rubric with which to measure her success. The challenge was to find the joy and connection in the moment. To employ wisdom when creating her work outs, to really listen to her body. Not in spite of, but because of this SHiFT in perspective, Kristen is feeling as strong an athlete as ever.

Kristen is no more defined by marathons run than she is by an injured ankle. She IS defined by being an awesome mom, wife, friend, creative thinker and hard worker.  She IS defined by her courage and grace, by her ability to recreate and recover, to persist and persevere, to turn her negative into a positive.

Kristen meets us all with shining blue eyes and a beaming smile. Appreciative of every ride and every pedal stroke, she truly  honors the opportunity to connect body and soul and passes that enthusiasm forward to the SHiFT community.

Kristen’s story reminds us that how we approach our workouts is how we approach our lives. So lets Throw it Back this Thursday and lend Kristen support as she re charts her course. Never stop moving and always keep SHiFting!!!

Written by SHiFT Instructor and Blogger Emily Webster.  Check out her leaderboard-free rides on Wednesday AM in Guilford at 9:15 am.