Courtney and Linda: Following a Daughter’s Lead


After making incredible lifestyle changes through her marathon running, Courtney Manning inspired her mother, Linda to embark on her own health and fitness journey! Below is the first installment of our mother/daughter interview series with Courtney and Linda:

Linda, please describe what it was like to watch Courtney run her first race?

I was beyond thrilled to see Courtney run her first race! I initially saw her at the 10K mark. I was with two of her friends, and as Courtney came close, she stopped for a moment to quickly hug us. Courtney’s friends and I went in a taxi to head to the finish line. However, due to all the street closings, by the time we arrived at the finish line, Courtney had already completed the race ten minutes earlier. I was so disappointed and upset that I didn’t get the chance to actually see her cross the finish line, but when I saw her wrapped in foil with her much deserved medal hanging around her neck, I could not have possibly been more excited and proud of her. Courtney running the race was a huge deal. It signified her extreme weight loss and all that entailed. Courtney not only dieted to get the weight off, but she consistently worked out as well. She started by going to the gym and then eventually she discovered running, and soon realized that she actually enjoyed it. So knowing where Courtney started from, and her ultimately running a half marathon, was indeed an overwhelming and breathtaking experience for me.

Did watching her inspire you to accomplish similar goals?

No, at least not initially. I loved the exhilarating feeling of all the races that I watched Courtney run. I particularly remember when she ran the Staten Island Half-Marathon and I went with her on the ferry boat early that morning. There was something great about seeing so many runners waiting for the ferry and knowing that my daughter was a participant of it all. I was so happy for her that she was able to partake in such a rewarding sport. Times when I watched the various races Courtney ran, I would get a twinge of a feeling about how I wished I could be part of all this too. But for me, it felt more like a dream and not anything that could ever actually become tangible.

Please explain what caused you to make your dreams tangible.

One day Courtney had mentioned to me that she felt I could walk a half-marathon and thought I should do it. I admitted to her that the idea did cross my mind. In order for me to do this, I first have other things that need to done. I have already lost some weight, but I still have a significant amount left to lose. I’m hoping to be able to lose the majority of my weight by March of 2013. At that time, I will need to have total knee replacements due to severe osteoarthritis in both my knees. Each knee replacement will be done separately, and I will need time to recuperate from both surgeries. After that, my goal will be to start training for either the NYC Half-Marathon in March 2014 or the More Half-Marathon in April 2014. I also want to walk the NYC Marathon in November 2014. I won’t be able to run with knee replacements, so my goals are to walk these races.

How does setting these goals make you feel?

I feel very excited about my goals. Prior to Courtney’s participating in running all these races, it not only never crossed my mind, but I absolutely had no interest in doing this myself. But after watching Courtney and knowing what a positive change this has been in her life and the thrill of the races, I would love to be a part of it too. I do get scared about not being able to reach my goals. I have struggled with weight on and off for most of my life and I know I have a long road ahead of me and it feels overwhelming at times.

Courtney, what was your reaction to everything?

I was excited! Having a large amount of weight to lose can feel like a daunting and, at times, impossible task. Like my mom, before I began running races, I watched friends run the NYC Marathon. I thought it was great and crazy that they were doing it, but I never dreamed I could run it too. I know what it feels like to feel trapped on the sidelines. Losing the weight, and more importantly running, has given me a sense of freedom. I predict that walking a half-marathon will give my mother that same sense of freedom, and I am willing to bet that her first finish line will only be her beginning. I try to support my mom in any way that I can. If I hear her wavering, I try to remind her of her goals and the steps she has to take to achieve those goals.

Linda, what steps are you taking to meet your goals?

I try to stick to a food plan and exercise. My exercising has been put on hold for a few weeks due to a health-related issue. However, I hope to be able to resume exercising consistently in a couple of weeks. The majority of the time, I list the food I eat by keeping a daily food journal. It helps to see the amount of calories consumed with each meal.

How would you describe your mood?

My mood towards my journey doesn’t change daily, but there are days I am absolutely perfect on my diet and then there are days I am far from perfect. I think the days that tend to be difficult with food are when I focus too much attention on how much I still have to lose and knowing that I will need the knee replacement surgeries in order to attain my goals.

Where do you find your motivation?

There are days I feel consistently motivated. Courtney plays a large part in that. She has an incredibly busy schedule and yet she always makes sure to exercise a few times per week, whether it’s running on the treadmill at the gym, running outside by herself or running with her Nike RUNNYC group. Courtney gives me a lot of inspiration.

Courtney, what one piece of advice do you feel is the most important to offer your mom?

To allow yourself to be imperfect. I want her to know that if she doesn’t make the best food choices one day, it doesn’t mean she can’t do better tomorrow. It is easy to stop moving forward when you feel you have a setback. The important part is acknowledging you had the setback and let the past remain in the past.

Linda, what is the one thing you need most from your daughter during this journey?

The one thing I need most from Courtney is something I get from her all the time, each and every day: her support and her unwavering belief in me that I can reach my goals. Knowing that she has absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that she and I will be walking the half and full marathon together, helps me tremendously. Courtney’s race that meant the most to her was the NYC Half-Marathon of 2010, her first race. She recently gave me her medal from that race as an incentive for me, with the stipulation of letting me borrow it until I obtain my own medal in 2014. Courtney’s faith and confidence in my ability to reach my goals, means the world to me and pushes me forward. I can’t wait for the day that walking through the finish line holding my daughter’s hand becomes a reality.

Woman Around Town wishes you the best of luck and we look forward to checking in on you as you make your dream a reality! Thank you for being so open with our readers; we will all be cheering you on!

Read Kenley’s stories about Courtney’s journey:

Our Very Own Half-Marathoner

Map to the Marathon: An Interview with Courtney Manning

Marathon Ready: Checking in on Courtney Manning

Courtney the Marathoner

Courtney Gets Ready for Her Second Marathon

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