Post Attributed to David Flanigan, BS, MA, CSCS and Surprise FAST location Manager & Performance Coach.
Michie Pitts was born August 25th, 1951 in Seui leau, Taiwan and moved to Arizona in 1972 at the age of twenty. Michie was a two pack a day cigarette smoker for seven years until suffering two consecutive bouts of pneumonia in 1983. She successfully quit smoking cold turkey but unfortunately began experiencing serious asthma problems a few years later. Her doctors advised her that she would need weekly allergy injections, three types of inhalers, and medication to keep her blood count normal and her lungs clear for breathing. They also told her that her problems could last a lifetime and that she should avoid any strenuous activity.
Michie didn’t like the idea of being dependent on injections and medication for the rest of her life, so she decided to start walking—because running was out of the question. Her asthma was so bad that she had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank just to walk any distance. After two months she was finally able to walk without the use of an oxygen tank and found her endurance increasing and her overall health improving. Once she conquered the first obstacle of walking, she soon became addicted to running.
In 1985, Michie decided to enter her first running event and ended up placing first in her age group. This was only six months after her diagnosis! A year later she ran her first marathon in Jacksonville, Florida and since then she has run in over 1000 races, including 25 marathons (four of them Boston marathons). Earlier this year, she trained hard for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Tragically, on the day before the race, her husband of 33 years, William, suffered a heart attack and passed away. Although she has endured some very difficult times, Michie is an inspiration to all of us here at FAST and we truly love the enthusiasm and positive energy she exudes on a daily basis.
Now 64 years old and still as dedicated and focused as ever, she is currently preparing to compete in the Boston Half Marathon on October 9th of this year, and the Boston Marathon in April of 2017. At last year’s 2015 Boston Marathon, she finished with a time of 4:12:24. She came to the Foothills Sports Medicine Surprise FAST location in July asking if I could help improve her time.
I took on the challenge and I’m now training Michie two times a week, focusing on running drills to lengthen her stride while keeping the same stride frequency. I added dynamic flexibility exercises to improve her mobility, and lower body strengthening exercises to maximize her leg drive. In an effort to limit her ground contact time while also increasing power production, I added agility training and plyometrics, which takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle.
We can’t wait to see her results—GO MICHIE!!!