Inspired to #RunWithRainier

By: Michele Blevins, for Rainier Fruit

You might remember meeting our employee Michele, via our blog “When You Fall, Get Up Again”. If you missed it, be sure to take a look back and read her inspiring story.

Like so many of us, Michele had spent much of her adult life taking care of others and not taking care of herself. The time spent devoted to work and raising a family is an important part of who she is, but it took a minor accident that turned into a serious health issue that provided the wakeup call Michele needed to put herself first.

When Michelle finally turned the corner on her injury she began working on her health. She knew she could no longer take her chances and hope that nothing bad happened. When we last checked in, Michele was busy getting healthy and participating in some walking 5K’s and obstacle course events and we’ve got some good news on her progress.

A #RunWithRainier Update from Michele

It’s been almost one year since I made my health journey a priority and it’s been amazing. Since I started last March I’ve lost 60 pounds. When I see old pictures of myself I hardly recognize the person I used to be.


I’ve come to make myself a priority and it feels selfish every time I think it or say it, but I’m alsostarting to realize that if I don’t put myself first, who’s going to take care of my family if my health won’t allow me to. And you know what, as hard as it is to reshape my priorities, my family is already benefiting from me being more active, more self-confident and happier. We all win. The interesting thing is, this same sentiment was echoed to me back in September, by legendary race director and long distance runner Dave McGillivray when he visited our offices and spoke about his years overseeing the Boston Marathon, his focus on setting goals, and overcoming a serious diagnoses of heart disease. It reaffirmed to me that I was doing the right thing.


It was during this same motivational speech from Dave McGillivray that he asked the audience who in the group wanted to run their first race. I was one of many that raised my hand, and of course he called on me. When he brought me up in front of the group he gave me a race medal and told me that I had just taken the first step toward running my first race – making the commitment. And that he hoped someday, after I’d run my first race, I’d send my medal back to him as proof of my accomplishment.

I’m happy to report, thanks to the encouragement of my family, my Rainier co-workers and of course Dave, I’ve started running! It may not sound like a big deal, but for the first time in my life I ran a mile without stopping. That was just last week and I was so excited I had to tell everyone that knows me what my goal is!  (It’s the Boston 10K by the way!) For someone that doesn’t like running (yet), it was a huge accomplishment for me. It was amazing how much confidence I got from crossing that first hurdle and seeing my progress. It really gives me the confidence to keep going. Right now slow and steady wins the race. I’m not in a hurry to add miles or do too much too soon. I want to add some distance every other week and build a solid foundation and prevent injury.

This last year has been life changing. I try and eat healthily, I’ve cut out sugar and I’m focusing on eating clean. My husband has joined me and has set his own weight loss goals, so together we prepare more healthy dinners at home and learn to make better choices. We even work out together with a fitness trainer once a week. It has been a lot of fun and it brings out a competitive side of me. Shout out to our trainer, Jon, because he’s been right there by my side keeping me focused, pushing me and supporting me. And the best part is, he’s agreed to run my first 5K with me this spring!

I’ve learned so much during the last year.

  • First, it’s never too late to start. I’m healthier now than I have been in 28 years!
  • Every pound lost frees me up to gain so much more in self-confidence, happiness, and well-being.
  • Wellness is a team sport. I cannot do this alone. I have so much support from family, friends, and co-workers who lift me up and cheer me on.

A year ago I had a different vision of what it meant to be Wholesome to the Core. Today I know that being Wholesome to the Core is being the best version of yourself you can be.

First of all – our hats off to Michele for her huge accomplishment. But thanks also to our employees who become like family and love and support each other on their personal journeys. Here at Rainier Fruit, we focus on growing quality apples, pears, cherries, and blueberries, but it’s clear that what grows best is a culture of support that helps everyone find and be their best self.