ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: LAUREN TAYLOR
By Lauren T.
Forward by Drew M.
One of the great things about working with the vibrant JRC community is getting to know each runner as a person. A few weeks ago I ran into one of our customers who is an avid member at Orangetheory Fitness in Willow Grove. When I first met her she was just starting to get serious about Orangetheory and since she has grown into one heck of an athlete. I had heard that she was competing in Spartan Races but I didn't realize I was speaking with a top 25 racer in the world. What impressed me more however was her backstory:
"To give you back story of my fitness/athletic history I have grown up always being active, starting to play sports at the age of five. A three-sport high school athlete turned into a Division II NCAA Field Hockey Athlete at Shippensburg University studying Exercise Science. During my time there I played in four NCAA final four tournaments and won one National Championship, winning 77 games and only losing 10 games in my entire career. This career was not all perfection, it was more of a battle. My freshman year I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which is impingement of the Brachial Plexus to the Ulnar side. This impingement was due to a broken collar bone in high school, for three years during college I spent extensive time doing physical therapy to only end up on a surgical table after my junior year. I learned to play autonomously with a numb hand, but the constant tremors in my hand and lack of pulse recognition had to end. During surgery I lost 2.5 liters of blood, but thankfully due to my health I was able to walk away from this surgery successfully. In a month I was back on the field and playing, but the blood loss took longer to recovery from than the actual incision.
After college, I promised myself that I would not allow myself to be the former athlete that turned into a couch potato. I continued working out but missed the competitive feel and working out with my teammates. This brings Orangetheory Fitness into my life, where I met wonderful people whom pushed me to be a better version of myself every day. This workout has made me a better athlete and pushed me to build my confidence. A fellow member continually asked me to join him for Spartan racing, but due to what I thought was my lack of upper body strength and limitation with lingering numbness and quick fatigue in my shoulders, I was hesitate. After a year of him bugging me, I finally gave in. Now in my first year of Spartan racing I will complete Four Trifectas (Sprint, Super and Beast/Ultra). Outside of that I have had amazing success podiuming in these races and finishing within the top 10 each race. I have also completed an Ultra Beast which consisted of 31.5 miles, 68 obstacles, over 12,000 ft of elevation gain. This was my fourth Spartan race to date, where I achieved my first podium placing 3rd in my age group and 6th overall. I have qualified for all major championships; North American Championships, World Championships in Tahoe, CA, and World Ultra Championships in Sweden. During North American Championships I finished as the 6th best female in my age group and 41st overall female amongst the qualified females from USA, Canada, and Mexico. I am currently ranked 23rd in my age group in the World Series Ranking. My 2019 season is not over yet, as I have 5 remaining obstacle races and two trail races."
Lauren's story is that of breaking through barriers. Each time she has faced a hurdle in her career she has found a way to get past it without giving up or making excuses. Even now as she sees success in a new avenue of her career she finds ways to reinvent herself to overcome the obstacles in her path. Lauren's impressive story certainly inspires me and I hope you find inspiration too. No matter what life throws at you there is always a way to keep moving forward.
On behalf of JRC I'd like to wish Lauren the best of luck with the rest the season and Championships!
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