Team MTF-Running for Research Spotlight: Jodi Newman

Massage Therapy Foundation Communication Programs Manager, Mandy Vukits, took some time to sit down with Jodi to find out why she applied to represent Team MTF in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

I understand that you are an LMT. What led you on the path to becoming a massage therapist?

This path began when my college roommate actually went online and signed me up for classes at the Denver School of Massage Therapy (DSMT). The school called me back 10 minutes later asked me why I wanted to become a massage therapist. I did not have an immediate answer and made an appointment to visit the school the following week. My interests up to that point had been a journey in traditional college exploring several different majors: kinesiology, dance, journalism, case management, coaching, and speech communication all of which came after completing a MedPrep class for physical therapy. It was not until DSMT that I finally found my passion and what I honestly wanted to do with my life.

Tell me what led you on the path to become a runner?

Although I have been active and involved in sports my entire life, I was not a runner. In 2009 a fellow MT asked me to be her buddy for her first triathlon and mine. I trained for seven months to avoid being in agony on the day of the race. However, six months after I started my training, I struggled to complete a 5k. To my thinking, anyone who wanted to consider themselves as healthy should be able to run at least three miles. How could I counsel my clients to be healthy if I was not going to follow my own advice? Therefore, 2010 became my year of great change. I became a runner. It was a time to clear my head, to plan, to think, to relax – to be me! My children recognized changes in me as I began to run and continue to support me.

Why did you choose to run on behalf of the Foundation?

Massage therapy has become part of my identity. I have felt very much alone for most of my endeavors in life. Whatever the reason, I wanted to do something for others and with others; to be part of something bigger than myself. The Massage Therapy Foundation has a noble mission; something I believe in for my career and my life. Promoting massage therapy education, research, and community service while being allowed to run the Boston Marathon culminates the deepest passions I have in life: a chance to do something I love (run) to support something I love (massage therapy).

Why are you passionate about raising funds for the Foundation? Have you set any personal fundraising goals?

This amazing profession has done so much for my life, my family, and my clients. I cannot imagine a better way to give back. This amazing profession and field needs more people, more expansion, more support — just more — and I can be part of getting it! My personal goal is to raise $12,000 which correlates to the 12 years I have been an LMT. It is a lofty goal, but my entire experience with massage has been a leap of faith.

You have your own massage therapy practice and are a single mother of two children. Has it been difficult to fundraise and maintain your clientele?

Difficult does not begin to describe it. I made a plan at first for which days each week I would post on social media or email friends and clients. As my training intensified and my fundraising ventures starting coming along, that plan went away. I have always believed God only gives you exactly as much as you can handle and exactly what you need. My clientele each week tends to ebb and flow with the time and energy I have which is lucky but then again not I guess, depending on your view. Challenging does not begin to express what I face each day. My mantra moving forward is to take one thing at a time. I make notes in my phone and my calendar constantly. I write to clients or sponsors immediately and post to social media and Crowdrise. I determine my training the day of, or night before — with a general plan going each week in my head. I am thankful my children are supportive and understanding of my goals and how I need to prioritize.

Boston will be your third marathon. Are you doing anything special in preparation for this historic event?

I am talking to everyone I know about it! For my first marathon I prepared for two weeks and failed to complete it. My second one I trained for about two months and did finish. For Boston I will have five months of training behind me. I know it is a mental game for me as I get to mile 20 and beyond. I am preparing to run 25 miles in my training plans and perhaps a split marathon – two half marathons in one day.

How did you feel the moment you received the call that you have been selected to be a part of Team MTF – Running for Research?

Ironically enough, I was walking into the gym when my phone rang. At first, I was in disbelief and thought that I did not hear correctly who was on the phone. Then, I was amazed, honored and overwhelmed all at the same time. A minute later I was excited but somehow also focused, and began immediately planning how I would meet the challenges and accomplish my goals.

You are representing the Massage Therapy Foundation on April 17th, 2017 and running the experience of a lifetime! How is training going?

Training is going fairly well. Knowing that I represent more than just myself, I feel more pressure but also more motivation. I feel I need to show good effort, good progress, and then a good result. Sharing my runs and the effort behind the result is not something I am accustomed to doing.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

The opportunity to fundraise and run the Boston Marathon is an honor, a privilege, and once in a lifetime achievement. I am excited and proud to be running for Massage Therapy Foundation. Thank you to all of my supporters and family who have pledged, supported, encouraged, and run beside me for this whole journey.

The Boston Marathon takes place on April 17, 2017. You can read more about Jodi’s journey and support her efforts here.