Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inspiration comes in many sizes

Nine years ago, a young man named Ryan applied for a job as a massage therapist at Ste. Anne's. He was a quirky fellow, not shy, and very sure to tell you what he thought of you. At first, I thought he was going to be a rabble rouser, but instead, he rose to become our clear, level headed and honest communicator from amongst the spa staff. From day one, Ryan gave an incredible massage, especially if you like it deep. He didn't hold anything back, I suspect that characteristic runs through the core of his existence. Ryan married, and went on to have a couple of beautiful children, and has one more on the way. He was the first man I knew to take advantage of the option for paternal leave - he's a great dad. Ryan also loves to eat. I would often see him in the staff room unpacking a Fred Flintstone size lunch that looked as though it could feed an entire table, let alone one person. Then one day, I saw Ryan all decked out in Lycra Spandex running the Haldimand Hills. I quickly looked to see if he was being followed by an ambulance, because he really looked like he was working every muscle in his body to the max, including his heart, but no emergency vehicles were in sight. This morning, as I trudged through the snow drifts for my 7th day of exercise on the elliptical trainer, I noticed a car pulling out of my driveway. It struck me as a little odd that a car would be pulling out of my driveway in this weather, and at this time of day. Could this be a stalker? No such luck. As I found out when I got to the spa for my workout, it was Ryan, who had arranged to meet David for a morning run. Unfortunately, David slept through the call, but true to form, Ryan went to the spa to run by himself instead. Ryan inspired David and Rick, and John, and Rhonda, and Jenn, and no doubt countless others to become marathon runners. Several of Ryan's protege ran their first full marathon this past fall in Toronto. Quite an achievement! When I mounted my elliptical trainer, Ryan was already well into his workout on the treadmill beside me, running at breakneck speed. He initially dropped 30 pounds as a result of running, (from 250 lbs.), and there is now no need of emergency medical on standby when this guy is training. My hat goes off to Ryan, a great therapist, a great employee, a great husband and dad, and now a great athlete. Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Mom. And by the way - next time you're at the spa - book a massage with Ryan. You won't regret it.

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