written by Anna Izzo
This year local and member, Karen Keasler, set out with the goal to swim 100 miles. The idea originated pre-covid in 2019. "I asked myself 'how am I going to stay fit?,'" she recounted. "My husband reminded me of my love of swimming, and your facility had just opened so I started frequenting the pool."
Not long after, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her sessions in the pool paid off during treatment when she needed to hold her breath to reduce the amount of radiation received by the cardiac structures. During her treatment the doctors remarked "you're either a swimmer or a runner because you can hold your breath."
She kept swimming as frequently as she could, and once she had beat the cancer like the true champion she is, she formulated the idea to set a goal around the sport.
"I've always been a self-professed points junky," she said. "I like to have goals. I've completed the Saranac 6, the Lake Placid 9, loyalty points are my hobby. I just like challenge, I like to collect points, it motivates me."
She calculated that it would only take eight or nine visits to the pool each month to achieve 100 miles in one year. It was possible, but it simultaneously pushed her out of her comfort zone.
"There are certain things that lead to success, one is having a goal that can be broken down into bite size goals, another is having consistency, and another still is support."
Karen said she didn't share this goal with anyone until Christine from the front desk started inquiring. Karen told her what she was up to and stated not only did the staff support help, but that "Tom helped me swim efficiently, it made all the difference."
She shared that she believes that support is one of the biggest things the Medical Fitness Center can offer for anyone setting out on a challenge at the beginning of a year. "You have a team of support behind you cheering for you. Lifeguards all know and ask, same with the front desk and coaches. Their genuine interest and care have been so helpful in uplifting and motivating me to keep going."
Karen shared that her biggest takeaway from the whole process has been that there is a great personal satisfaction in setting a goal and having it come to fruition. "The bonus here is that there are health benefits to it," she said, "but ultimately I set a goal and I did it!"
Karen is almost 63. She works full time, but she made it happen despite the odds. She said "all those people that want to make an excuse that they can't do it because they're employed, they're x y z age, no one says you can't do it except you." Karen is right, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Karen expects to reach her goal of 100 miles in early November, and will be donating $100 to the Adirondack Health Medical Fitness Center Scholarship Fund once she does.
"It is incredible to take note of how far you've come. It's also incredible to go to the doctors office at my age having had cancer and hear that you are one in 10. One in 10 people actually change their habits after a health incident. And since my breast cancer was estrogen driven, keeping my weight down wasn't just a want, it was a need."
"Your goal can be unique, it can be 100 of anything, it's a matter of consistency and accountability."
We can't wait to cheer Karen across that finish line this month, and we are thankful for the contribution she is willing to make to give back to those who may not otherwise be able to afford access to our facility.
Congratulations Karen, we can't wait to see what you do next!
To learn more about our Scholarship Fund and how to donate, call 518-523-8521. A little goes a very long way. Thank you.