Running for Your Life

Guest Writer:  Kelly Pheulpin, reflects on her vocation of inspiring others, to run for their health.  This is the second of  a two-part article

Kelly writes: ‘I’m a proud mom of two girls, who is into fitness and helping others around me achieve their goals of living a healthier lifestyle.  I’m a mom of a child with Type 1 diabetes and I love to educate others on healthy living and small changes to make their diabetes more manageable’.

Fellow FlowersA community of runners supporting others through inspiring stories of why we run. Membership into the group is free but it is preferred that a fellow flower invite you to join with the gift of a flower that represents your story.

Kelly: ‘I have been running and working out since 2011, I have met so many amazing men and women through my journey to get healthy. In 2017 I was asked to teach a class to help members of North shore medical center’s gastric bypass. Forward to 2018 I have been working with this dedicated group for almost a year. Their commitment to a healthy lifestyle is inspirational especially since all of them thought I was crazy upon meeting them, however they all dedicated themselves to the program.

Kim one of the members in the class was the most skeptical of the bunch, when I told her she would someday run a ½ marathon she laughed and said not me; all I want is to pass my physical fitness test at work. Slowly she started working towards small goals. She walked the 2017 reindeer run in Beverly then walk/ran the frosty four-miles on New Year’s day, then on and on.

When we laced up our sneakers to take on Zooma’s ½ marathon, she was almost a year to the day I met her and she was crushing goals, we had a fun exciting race on the cape enjoying the views and each other, once she completed her first ½ marathon days later she would be facing her final goal… The fitness test.

Tuesday came, and I was fortunate enough to be present when Kim took her test, I knew she was more than ready. To pass she needed to run 1.5 miles in under 18 minutes complete at least 12 push-ups in under a minute, complete 30 sit-ups in under a minute, and be able to reach more than 23 inches on the sit and reach. Not only did Kim nail her goal she was encouraging others and coaching them through passing their tests as well. Coach and student had come full circle right before my eyes.

Kelly (left), Kim (right) concluding their race.


I had been waiting for this day for so long, I could barely contain my excitement for her as she passed the test and I handed her a flower, she had earned her entrance into the fellow flowers, I picked purple for her.

Purple represents: “SELF; The odds are against me. I’m too slow. too old. Self-doubt. No time. No training partner. The kids need me. Its dark out. It’s too early. I’m Tired. I have to work. It hurts. I’m scared they will laugh. Doctor says maybe I shouldn’t. Can’t find a sitter. Life is too Busy. I look in the mirror and don’t see a runner. What if I fail? NO MORE EXCUSES……. I’m doing it anyway!”

Even when everything was going wrong and Kim thought about giving up she didn’t, and she surpassed goals she never thought she could achieve. I couldn’t think of a more fitting flower than purple for her. She is continuing to move forward with her health journey and helping others by leading through example to pay forward what was given to her. I can’t wait to see what she tackles next!’


Kelly Gets Her Flower

Guest Writer:  A few years ago I invited my friend, Kelly Pheulpin, to write a guest blog on her vocation of inspiring others, to run for their health.  This new two-part article, is another chapter in Kelly’s ongoing journey of empowering herself and others.

As an introduction, Kelly writes: ‘I’m a proud mom of two girls, who is into fitness and helping others around me achieve their goals of living a healthier lifestyle.  I’m a mom of a child with Type 1 diabetes and I love to educate others on healthy living and small changes to make their diabetes more manageable’.

Kelly inspires me.  I hope her unfolding story will encourage you too.  I invite you to read and get out and exercise.

                                         Kelly Gets Her Flower

Fellow FlowersA community of runners supporting others through inspiring stories of why we run. Membership into the group is free but it is preferred that a fellow flower invite you to join, with the gift of a flower that represents your story. 

‘Every runner has a story, some are moving, powerful, or remarkable; others are just everyday run of the mill but still important in their own right. I had been following the Fellow flowers community online for some time in awe of all the ladies and their stories. While I was down at ZOOMA Cape Cod, I was able to talk with one of the founders of ‘Fellow Flowers’,  Mel Charbonneau.

She is a strong, positive woman who wants to spread her strength to others. While helping her set up for Zooma and chatting about running and how I got involved with Zooma through another Skirt Sister, she asked:  “Are you Kelly”? I said yes, how did you know? She explained she had been asked to give me a flower and welcome me to the community of Fellow Flowers.

I was shocked! My running story isn’t unique or special are you sure you mean me?!? She then gifted me a light pink flower with the saying : “GRADTITUDE to endure against the odds, to thank my body and myself, to admire and love, to honor a hero to be a hero because I know this is so much bigger than me” . She explained that every flower has a special saying; it tells the runner’s story without words. When runners see them on the course, they know if they need help or a person to confide in, we will be there for them.

I stood there with tears in my eyes again asking,  ‘me, really’? She said yes, because you are the silent runner who gathers and encourages runners with your enthusiasm for the sport, as well as your knowledge to help them commit and change their lifestyles, without ever thinking you have done a thing. She went on to tell me about how she heard of my work with the North Shore Medical Center’s gastric bypass class and excited she was to be able to meet them and cheer them in for their first ½ marathon finish.

Race day came, and I joyfully put my pink flower on my visor and got ready to run. During the ½ marathon I saw a rainbow of flowers on all types of women and felt an instant connection to them without ever saying a word. Zooma’s race while the distance was not new to me was a unique experience, I still can’t get my mind around.

left to right: Kim, Mark, Kelly, Christine, Jennifer

Between the positive energy, motivational runners, the few men who ran to celebrate with their female running partner,s and seeing my group of runners who have never run a ½ marathon, cross the finish line, knowing they had trained hard for this day and they had succeeded. True to her word Mel was at the finish line cheering my group in louder than anyone else. She congratulated all of them and asked if they would run another, they all said they would. I can’t wait to give out my first flower to a fellow runner.’ ~ Kelly

Note:  If you want to learn more about how you can improve your health and wellness, contact Kelly at

No One Left Behind

In the last posting of GreenPreacher (Running and Dancing for Life)  we met Kelly Pheulpin.  We learned about her journey to lose over 100 lbs and eventually become a Zumba instructor.  In today’s guest blog, Kelly shares her story as the leader of the ‘Slowest Runners’ and her commitment to help others  become healthier too.

In our highly individualistic and competitive culture, Kelly and friends are committed to a counter-cultural journey where the slowest runner sets the pace, where no one is left behind and everyone wins. Imagine.

                                                       No One Left Behind

2012 brought me a year of firsts.  I taught my first solo Zumba class, I joined a running club, and I tried a distance longer than a 5K. I decided to join the Wicked Running Club because I wanted to find a running partner to help me become faster and more consistent with my running. What I found was a family.

Our color is red and when you put on that red shirt for the first time you right away feel like part of the club, and you usually meet a few members at a race. In reality, what joining Wicked has done is opened the door for everyone in the club to offer encouragement on this journey. There is no better feeling in the world than coming around the bend to a sea of red screaming and cheering you in. You feel unstoppable. Having a running community at your fingertips allows you to meet up with training buddies with the same pace or goals. 

The running community welcomed me with open arms and I have been a permanent fixture ever since.  I now lead a training group through Wicked called “The Slowest Runner Sets The Pace”. We meet several times a week and I will happily run with whoever my slowest runner is. It is empowering to help someone else accomplish their running goals. I have been lovingly named the “Queen of the Slowest Runners”, which is a title I take very seriously. I believe that any runner, no matter their pace, is destined for their own greatness whatever that may be.


Through my work with the Slowest Runners I accomplished things this year (2016) I never thought I could: I trained and ran my first ultra marathon of 30 miles. When I received a race entry into Ghost train an ultra-marathon I said, “Thank you, but I can’t run this. I have never run more than a ½ marathon.” However, I’m not a quitter and I love challenges so I decided (after a time) to think about it. As I thought about it, I realized that I COULD do this. Next, came finding other crazy runners willing to join me in this quest. I found an amazing training partner, Sandy, which helped me achieve my goal.

Sandy and I started our training 8 months before the big day. We ran through most of the North Shore and sometimes in New Hampshire as well. We even went on vacation together to stay on track. (When race day came we found we had something else in common; we over pack! Good thing our husbands love us and were willing to be our race support.)

As we stepped up to the start line we were so excited and nervous at the same time. The race started and we were on our way. Just as in our training we decided to document the miles with selfies. We found out fast that we didn’t have enough fingers to correspond with the miles completed and take the photos but we were laughing and enjoying the adventure. We had two fifteen mile loops to complete our goal of 30 miles. When we came in from our first 15 miles we were wet from rain but in good spirits. Our friend and fellow runner, Patty, ran us in for the last quarter-mile. She gave us just the right amount of motivation to keep us going. Our husbands gave us big hugs and kisses and wished us luck on our next loop.

We were still having fun and laughs as the miles kept adding up. As we were heading towards the final miles and dusk was setting in my Aunt Ann was heading back out for her third loop. She provided words of encouragement and told us how proud she was of us for completing this race. We now had the end in sight and our pace was speeding up. We saw our husbands and I started to get so excited and emotional we had finished! Together Sandy and I had tackled Ghost Train, which meant that we can now call ourselves Ultra-Marathoners. Our husbands wrapped us in their arms and told us how proud they were. To this day this remains my favorite race and I can’t wait to try it again next year.

Kelly and her team of Slowest Runners

Running and Zumba have become integral parts of my journey to healthier living. What’s important is finding the regimen that works for you and sticking to it. For some, like me, the social aspect is key. But for others, it’s getting into the routine. For everyone, though, this is about making a commitment to yourself and going on a journey to find what works. It wasn’t easy getting here… but it’s what gets me up in the morning, literally!’

Thanks to Kelly for sharing her story. As her friend and one of her pastors at First Baptist in Beverly, I am inspired by her commitment to serving others.  This is a message that is needed now more than ever.

I invite you to read and be inspired to be ‘your best self’ in this New Year.  Kelly and company will be happy to provide support.  To learn more about Wicked Running Club go to:








Running and Dancing for Life

My friend Kelly inspires me.  Not just because she lost over 100 pounds.  She has created ways to encourage and empower others to become healthier too.  As a mom she raised a daughter with diabetes and for 20 years served as a coach for other parents supporting their diabetic children.  I invite you to read and think about ways you can become healthier and how you too can encourage and empower others.

Thanks to Kelly Pheulpin for being the guest writer for these next two issues of GreenPreacher.  As you read I think you too will be inspired by the discipline, wisdom, playfulness and compassion that she brings.

My Journey from unhealthy to the better happier me:

‘Sitting in the office waiting for my doctor, I already knew she was going to bring up my weight gain again: I gained another 10 pounds. Finally she knocked on the door and came in, her look of disapproval had my stomach sinking. “Kelly, if you don’t learn how to control your diet you will be giving yourself insulin in addition to Rachel. Who will take care of her diabetes if you’re not around?” This was my wakeup call.  Yes, I have an amazing support system in my husband, but could he be successful all alone? Did I want to chance it? Was losing weight and be healthy so hard to obtain? I was going to find out. 

Kelly, seated right pre-Zumba
Kelly, seated right pre-Zumba

Following my appointment I went directly to the YMCA and signed up for a membership. Now what? I started by trying out the treadmill, elliptical, swimming, and weights. Nothing held my attention, how was I going to succeed if it felt like so much extra work? In talking with one of my girlfriends she told me about a class at the Y she was loving, Zumba. She said, “You adore dancing, so I bet you will also enjoy this.”

I met up with Jess the next night to try a Zumba class, though I didn’t hold much hope that it would be my key to success. When class started, the music was pumping and the instructor began moving, her smile and movements where contagious. When she cooled us down 50 minutes later I couldn’t believe I had just worked out for an hour it didn’t feel like working out. It felt like a dance party. My clothes were drenched, but I felt good. I had found my workout.

I started attending class 3 to5 times a week trying out all the different instructors at the Y. After three weeks I had lost 5 pounds and I was excited, I knew I had found the start to my healthier me. Jess and I continued to meet for Zumba but also walked 3 times a week on the treadmill. It was like our “coffee hour”. There was  one day I saw Jess running on the treadmill and I was very envious. I had always wanted to run but my asthma prevented it (according to my doctors). I explained this to Jess and she suggested trying it one minute at a time, and if I found that I couldn’t breathe, then they were right. Then she pointedly asked me: what is the harm in trying 1 minute at a time? She was right one minute at a time was the way to go!

I downloaded the ‘Couch to 5K program’ in October of 2011 and started following it faithfully. In early November my family encouraged me to sign up for my first 5K that they were all running. I was nervous and thought, “How will I do this? I’m only on week 3 of the program and running up to 5 minutes at a time.” My cousin, who is an avid runner, also encouraged me to sign up see how it goes. So against my own better judgment, I signed up. Race day came in early December and I wasn’t at the point in the program where I could run the whole 5k but I was going to do my best. I was able to run almost the entire 5k! It took my about 50 minutes to complete but I did it. At this point I had lost 25 pounds and was feeling like a new woman but I know I had more work to do. 

Next step in my journey: nutrition. I had spent most of my adult life educating others about healthy diets for themselves or their loved ones living with diabetes but I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. “Lead by example” became my new mantra. I started setting mini-goals for myself such as if I lost x amount of weight I could do or buy something special. One of the smartest mini goals I made was when I lost 60 pounds I decided I would go for my Zumba license so I could help others exercise and be healthier. 

Kelly in black. Dancing with joy and dropping the pounds.

One of my proudest moments on this journey was feeling confident in my own skin to demonstrate all the Latin dance moves I learned for my Zumba instructor test. I was licensed to teach in early 2012.’

Next installment:  ‘No One Left Behind’…Kelly begins a new runners club where the slowest runner sets the pace…and everyone ‘wins’.