2018 is here, and I am taking this time to reflect on the many blessings 2017 has given me. I have reached a great milestone in my career with surpassing my goal of 10 million in sales for the year. I have had the pleasure of working with so many people I really like to fulfill their House Dreams.
I begrudgingly started my real estate career back in 2003 at my Realtor Mother’s urging. I remember telling her just a few months in, “I can’t believe I get paid to talk on the phone and communicate around the clock,” and 15 years later, I still feel the same way. I do a lot more than talk on the phone, but this is the best career ever for me, and I’m looking forward to the next 15 years!
With my partner Bill by my side, we have been fortunate to partake in some cool adventures. The year of unfinished business, we would return to Comrades in South Africa and to Spartathlon in Greece to avenge our unfinished races.
On the way to Comrades, we ran the Glass City Marathon in Bill’s hometown Toledo, finishing together. We also completed the hilly, challenging Strolling Jim 42 miler in Tenessee walker horse country to prepare for the hills. The weather at Comrades was record hot, and we both struggled, so Bill will have to finish this one another year. The staff at our hotel remembered us from the year before, and we enjoyed the welcoming kindness of the South Africa running community.
We thoroughly enjoyed South Africa, spending several days around Capetown, and then a quick excursion to majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. One of the highlights was running in a local half marathon in a very poor suburb of Capetown. We gave out a lot of race shirts, and donated our prize money to the school sponsoring the race.
You are probably wondering when I was working. Truthfully, I had my phone and computer in tow, and was running my business remotely the entire time. Our world has really become so much smaller, and there are few spots without internet.
I made some important changes to my business in 2017, and they will allow me to deliver you an even better level of service. I hired a wonderful full time member to my team, Christina Burget, a past customer, and long time friend. She is smart, organized, and a survivor. She just won the fight over a very nasty breast cancer, and she jumped in with both feet to run my growing business. You will notice some new marketing ideas, and a complete package that would be impossible to deliver with just myself.
I decided to set my bar higher, and I joined Remax Specialists in September. The uber professional office environment, experienced management team and office staff, and lineup of only experienced agents, combined with the national reach of Remax has proven to be a game changer for me already.
One of my mentors told me to get a relaxing hobby to relieve stress, when my business really took off. I have running, but she felt I was too competitive at running. I used to play bridge way back when, so I decided to take it up again, but only for relaxation. You all probably know I have two speeds………….full speed, and sleeping. It wasn’t long before I was competing at a high level, reading, studying.
Bill and I have been fortunate to represent the State of Florida at the National level three times before, so we were elated to again with the Grand National Teams, and a trip to Toronto. We played our hearts out with our teammates, two Jacksonville attorneys, and won enough to make it to the Round of 8. We played in a very quiet, closed room where you cannot even see your partner, and we lost to the team who would eventually win the event. We were very proud to be in the top eight teams in the country. Even playing bridge at a high level is relaxing and a nice break from the world.
Last year I barely made it over a particular mountain in the middle of Greece. That mountain ripped me to the core and threw me into a negative spiral of despair. I could not get my mind back in a positive place, and I had to drop out of the 2016 Spartathlon at Mile 112. There are very few things I have not finished, and I was determined to get back and finish this 153 mile monstrosity of a race.
I was also scared……….what if I couldn’t finish? I was born with a rare vision disorder whereby I only see in two dimension. In essence I have no depth perception, and the world looks flat to me. I routinely trip over curbs, uneven sidewalks, obstacles on trails, and I am horrible at nearly all ball sports. That didn’t stop me from trying everything.
After last year’s race, we went back to the mountain in daylight, and climbed over and back. I tried to memorize the switchbacks and terrain, so that I could do better next year. We spent the entire year, acquiring better lights, shoes, anything that could help climb a mountain at night at mile 99 of an exhausting race. I practiced running at night with different lights. I worked on keeping a positive mindset during difficult points of other races, and coming back from lows.
We completed three big races in the last few months leading up to the Spartathlon, each designed to challenge and prepare me for the biggest challenge of my life. My real estate business was growing so much, that my running had suffered. I was not hitting anywhere near the weekly mileage I needed, and I was running out of time.
River to Sea 12 Hour was an extremely hot test of endurance in July in Florida. I struggled the entire race, but never gave up. I had stomach issues most of the day, but I continued to move forward, even if it was slowly and painfully. This was a huge wakeup call that I was not even remotely ready for Spartathlon, but I’d just have to get ready. I managed to complete the same 63 miles that I did last year, albeit nowhere near as easily.
The market made its normal Back to School slowdown in August, so I embraced the long, hot days with lots of running, sometimes twice per day, and at all different hours of the day and night. We took the once in a lifetime chance to view the total solar eclipse in the zone of totality, so we headed to South Carolina with a purpose. I found a crazy race the day before, where we’d have to run a 5K every hour on the hour for 10 hours…..a difficult and hot challenge. Bill and I both completed each 5K in a heat index that reached over 100 in the early afternoon, but it was time well spent working on my fortitude and patience. The Eclipse itself was amazing, eerie, and other worldly.
I needed one more long running weekend to feel confident about Spartathlon, and 48 hours around a 1 mile loop was going to be it. I decided to treat this as three long efforts with sleep breaks in between, rather than one 48 hour effort. I wanted to run at all hours of the day and night on tired legs and mind. A Race for the Ages was one of the most enjoyable races ever. You get an extra hour for each year you are older than 48, and anyone 48 and younger gets 48 hours to run as far as he or she wishes. Bill got a 14 hour head start on me, so I cheered him on at the start and got a great night’s sleep at the hotel.
It was so much fun getting to know the incredible cast of characters at this wacky race. My goal was to run 50 miles on each of the first two days under the 9:30 Spartathlon cutoff. The first day I ran hard most of the day, and finished 50 miles easily in about 8:45. The second day was much warmer, so I finished my second 50 miler at closer to 9:30. I slowed down a lot to walk the last few loops, so I could finish 100 miles with my sweetie, Bill Page!!!! We finished that 100th mile arm in arm, and I could not have been more proud. This guy never gives up………in his own words, running for him hurts every single step, but he always pushes himself to new limits, and we experience ultra running together.
We shoveled in some delicious food, and slept fitfully, sore and tired. My goal was to just sleep a few hours, and then get back out there to pace a friend who was not having a great day, but to also run with tired mind and legs. I woke up after just a 2.5 hours of sleep and hit the road. It was dark, peaceful, and cool. My legs felt pretty darn good and I ran pretty easily with 1-2 short walk breaks each mile. I racked up pretty good mileage until sunrise. Usually the sunrise gives everyone renewed energy to continue, but in this case, it made me feel hungry, so I stopped for a big breakfast, which was probably a mistake.
Sitting down for a half hour made me stiff and tired, and it was getting hot in a hurry. If I kept running and walking slow and steady I could finish some good mileage. I was doing more walking then running, but nearly everyone was walking at this point. I walked the last few laps with Bill Page, and we ended up with 104 and 141 miles respectively. Not a bad weekend for Team Soo-Page!
Fast forward a few weeks later, and here I am in Athens, Greece, just 24 hours out from the toughest challenge of my life. I woke up late, so I scrambled around to prepare my race day nutrition bags, and lay out what I’d need at every stage of a 36 hour race………..
Fall came and it was time to begin season 7 of Marathon High. I have been a proud sponsor of Marathon High for 3 years and coaching students at Douglas Anderson for 2 years. Running has meant different things to me at different times in my life, but one thing is for sure.....running has always been there for me, and has helped shape the person I am today. I feel that mentoring and training high school students as they give running a try is an important mission in my life. I cannot wait to see how Season 7 unfolds, and all the amazing memories we create for our teens!
Running has meant different things to me at different times in my life, but one thing is for sure........running has always been there for me, and has helped shape the person I am today.
I feel that mentoring and training high school students as they give running a try is an important mission in my life. I cannot wait to see how Season 7 unfolds, and all the amazing memories we create for our teens!