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Last week one of my high school friends said, “Take some time out and show someone you appreciate them.”. Although I do try to show appreciation.

When most people think of a coach they think of a hard ass drill Sergeant like R. Lee Ermey from the history channel. I’m not only glad to know not all coaches are like that but to have such a great one. I actually I don’t even think of her as a coach, don’t get me wrong she can be tough and with that Puerto Rican accent she does a great job of commanding one’s attention. I once described her as the perfect blend of a drill Sargent and Mary Poppins. I don’t know how she does it but she is really firm but in such a caring way that you push yourself to not wimp out because you don’t want to let her down. It’s always easier to let oneself down but not someone else.

Many of us find it hard with our ordinary lives to be kind supportive and cheerful, yet every time I see her she is always smiling and cheerful. She is also one of the most supportive people you could ever meet. I have to say she must be superhuman! Why? Not only does she find time to train an ever growing group of runners 6-8 times a week, doing marathons, being a wife and a mom, but is also setting up Lake Nona’s first half marathon, (The Inaugural Lake Nona 13.1). This race is her dream. Till I met her and many of the other members of the Lake Nona Run Club I didn’t know that these events/races were more than just a contest of speed & stamina. This event is the first of its kind in the Lake Nona/Narcoosee area. It is set to help local families in the area with sick children through the B.A.C.O.N foundation and the Hailey Collins Foundation. For a first time event, I am amazed at how well it is going we already have about 400 runners signed up and the race is 5 months away (October 26th)! How can it not be so awesome with sponsors like Fit 2 Run, Dunkin Donuts, Arise Christian Church, Nona Platinum Salon & Spa, Tecta America, A1 Orange, Pioneers, East group properties, Anderson Moopen Orthodontist, Amazonas Latin Grill, Crossfit Broken Chains, N.O.W. Matters more Foundation, NICOR General Contractor, and East Orange Wellness & Injury Center it truly is off to a great start. I must admit this race is no longer a dream but a reality.

After having read all that you can see why our coach is so awesome. The funny part is it doesn’t end there. Just when you already think she must be related to Wonder Women there is even more. You wouldn’t know by looking at her or by her demeanor because she is always so cheerful but on top of all this awesomeness, Lilliana is a mom of some great kids but one of them has a rare disease called Evans Disease. I don’t know much personally about the disease other than it is a rare autoimmune disease that is manageable through various treatments. I would go into Evans Disease but why when she also has an awesome blog, Dealing with Evans, that would be a much better source.

So take a moment with me and raise your glass, to this awesome woman, mother, wife, friend & coach, Lilliana Pickens!

  • Want to participate in the 1st Inaugural Lake Nona half marathon? Sign up for the half marathon or 2 mile dash by clicking here.
  • Want to help out by sponsoring? Click here.
  • Option B to help out is making a donation to Affordable Coin Shop’s Sponsorship campaign by clicking here.

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