Running has truly changed the way I look at life. It has altered my perception of who I am, who I can be, and what I’m capable of. I want to share this experience with everyone.
I am the proud mother of 2 amazing teenage girls. I was primarily raised in Hawaii but come from several generations born and raised in Pasadena. For over 20 years I have been active in this community as an educator, a volunteer, a mom, and a friend. Bringing STRIDE to my home-town is a dream come true.
I have always been active, but when it came to running I had stopped trying years ago. I defined myself as a consummate walker. But after a lot of encouragement (and a little nagging) from my dear friend Katie, I agreed to try again. We began hitting the Lacy Park stairs and looking for indoor running classes around town. When that failed, we made up our own treadmill workouts and took our hand-written sheets of paper to the nearest treadmills.
A few months later, I woke up on my birthday and decided to test my treadmill skills and went for my FIRST outdoor run. To my absolute shock I ran 6.3 miles without stopping. I couldn’t believe it. Was I a runner? Soon, we joined a local run club and found a wonderful group of people - people who embraced community, fitness, friendship and fun.
After running with our club for a while and with more “encouragement” from Katie, I signed up for the LA Marathon. To my surprise, I finished it in 4:48. I laughed and cried through every mile. It was a magical experience not just for me, but also for my daughters who cheered me on throughout all 26.2 miles. Running a marathon gave me permission to believe YES, I CAN achieve anything.
By this point Katie and I were well into our dream to create STRIDE. Our goal was to build a safe, welcoming, and motivating COMMUNITY, and combine that with the power of MUSIC and the challenge of TREADMILLS. I can’t wait to share the gifts running has given me with the rest of the world. For me and my daughters this is, by far, the best chapter yet.
I guess you could say my business savvy started when I was in fifth grade selling avocados on Sierra Madre Boulevard. No one could beat my price of 4 for $1 and that taste of success stuck with me. After high school I left San Marino and went to Boulder to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing. Eventually I would spend almost 15 years as an executive for a Fortune 500 Company, after which I decided that I needed something bigger than “Corporate America” to be happy.
In search of that something, I headed to Europe to “find myself.” But all I found out was that I wasn’t that deep and so I came home, ready for something else.
It was at this point that I decided to get back into shape. I had been a top athlete in high school, but my career and life had gotten in the way of exercising regularly. I began walking at 5am every morning, running stairs with Misa at Lacy Park, hired a personal trainer and started trying out group exercise classes. It didn’t take long to notice that all this activity made me feel GREAT.
My favorite were the treadmill workouts. At first, I was petrified of getting on a treadmill. I didn’t think I knew how to run any more and definitely couldn’t imagine making it through a 45-minute running class. But I quieted the doubts long enough to try it and discovered I loved it! The more I practiced, the faster and further I went. I even convinced (a very resistant) Misa to come with me! We joined a run club and watched ourselves go from saying “I can’t” to “I CAN!” The more I ran with others, the more I felt like I had joined a new community. I felt like I was part of something.
Throughout this process, I lost over 30 lbs., got stronger, had more energy and just felt happier. I wanted to do more. I wanted other people to feel this way, too.
As soon as Misa and I started working on our dream of STRIDE it became clear that our skills and life experience were a perfect match. My corporate background with business expansion, finance management and contract negotiation was the ideal match to Misa’s experience with education, design, and retail. So we just kept writing, planning and dreaming.
I couldn’t be happier to see STRIDE come to life in the community where I grew up. It turns out I couldn’t find what I was looking for all those years ago - I had to come home and make it myself.
I’m Leanne Pedante, an RRCA-certified running coach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. I do this work simply because exercise changed my life. And I don’t mean that in some ethereal, metaphorical way. I mean it very literally.
I was raised in the tiny state of Delaware. I was an asthmatic, four-eyed, bookworm, band-nerd with a wonderful family. I was the opposite of an athlete. I prayed for rain to get me out of little league games as a kid and during high school gym class, you could find me listening to my Walkman, smoking cigarettes and writing (bad) poetry in the bathroom. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and spent my younger years drinking beer, going to concerts and working at a computer for 10 hours a day.
In spite of how un-cool it seemed to my 21-year-old self, at some point I fell in love with group exercise classes at the local YMCA. I was both the youngest (woo!) and the LEAST in shape (ugh!) person in most classes, but I absolutely loved the experience. After spending most of my life being too embarrassed or just plain bad at sports, it felt amazing to have a fun, safe place where I could move my body. Once I started, I was hooked - yoga, cardio dance, weight-lifting, boxing, pilates - whatever they had. Over time, I replaced my critical voice with a proud, encouraging one. I started to think, “Damn. Maybe I am an athlete after all.” Unlike my past experiences when exercise had been a source of negativity and obsession over my flaws, it was now a place for victories. I was thrilled to see that I was malleable - that I could change and that my perception of myself could change.
Even after putting in hours in group exercise classes, my opinion of running was still, “I can’t run.” Now, after coaching runners, I love hearing those three words, “I can’t run.” Because it means that that same person is going to feel like a total badass when they eventually, inevitably say, “Oh. Actually, I can run.” Watching people morph their opinions and perceptions of themselves is my favorite part of this work.
Since 2012 I have been working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. When Katie and Misa asked me to join them in building Stride, I was beyond excited - not just because I love the mission and the vision of the studio, but because I love the generosity and integrity that they bring. Through my work at STRIDE, I want to build a community of runners and coaches who challenge their limits and encourage each other. And I want to build a community of classes and events that make people feel part of something big, feel limitless and supported. Running holds a special place in my heart, separate from other forms of exercise. As Haruki Murakami says, running is about “exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits…that's the essence of running…a metaphor for life.”
I have lived in Philadelphia, New Orleans and, as of 2012, Los Angeles. I am married to a wonderful man named Miles Cooper Seaton, who spends much of the year working as an artist and musician in Italy. In addition to my work in fitness, I also still make time for graphic design and volunteer as a community organizer. I am still trying to prove to my 10-year-old self that I can be an athlete.