One may find it hard to sit in the company of Esther White and leave not feeling as if you just had a shot of espresso. White, a Certified Massage Therapist and personal trainer, may be just what the doctor ordered for one looking for a bright light to see them through a dark tunnel.
Earlier this month she not only accompanied friend and client Ron Barlow through the Pikes Peak Full Marathon, she also came home with bragging rights and a plaque for Second Place in her age group.
“He thought his activity days were over,” White said of her 50-something client, noting that a construction related accident left him with the spine of an 80-year-old. “My personal training is more focused on people that have special needs. My practice is more towards people who wouldn’t normally be athletic.”
With this in mind, White shared she often refers to her practice at her Oakdale business, Natural Alternatives as the ‘Last Resort.’ Making note that many of her clients find her by word of mouth once traditional practices and therapy is either complete or no longer suits them, White works with stroke patients, diabetics, those living with Fibromyalgia and extensive injury.
“When I see someone come in my door, I see them well,” she said. “I’ve always worked with those with disabilities. I see possibility. I like to see them whole.”
White has been a practicing CMT for 23 years. She stated it was a career she happened upon thanks to the encouragement of her church family.
“In a way I went to massage school to support my baby habit,” the therapist said, adding she was pregnant with one of her five children at the time that she completed her schooling. She and her husband have also parented two foster children.
“The massage is body work, osteopathic in nature,” she said.
The training and ‘events’ as she calls them are what get her clients moving and achieving. Taking part in the marathon was an ‘event’ for her as well.
“I’m kind of a chicken,” she said. “I don’t take big risks. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”
This is the mindset which has lead White on multiple hikes, races courses and trail runs.
“The events come out of saying okay, you want to get well? What do you want to do? Let’s go do it,” she stated. “I’m not a great athlete. I’m persistent and I know how to manage my body.”
Body and physical management is exactly what White passed along to Barlow to aid him in achieving what is believed to be one of the toughest marathon courses in the United States.
Pikes Peak Marathon is hosted in Manitou Springs, Colorado and climbs over 7,815 feet to the top of the 14,115 foot peak. It’s an out and back course, with the turnaround being the peak. Due to the elevation, oxygen levels drop as the altitude rises. The course is a rough terrain trail run, which is vastly different than a flatland road marathon one might attend in the Central Valley.
“My goal was to teach him how to manage his activity,” she said. “He’s a great hiker. I have to jog to keep up with him. As long as he’s not running and jarring he’s fine. He learned that in his training.”
White mentioned that in 2010 (pre-injury), Barlow completed this same course two hours faster than his 2016 time.
“But,” she said emphatically, “he’s still doing it!”
Her intent at Pikes Peak was not to place, but rather see a friend through to a goal.
“My goal was to manage myself and stay with my friend,” she continued. “I’m not a trail runner. My last one was horrible.”
The CMT/Personal Trainer ran her first Marathon in 1999, participating in the Los Angeles Marathon. She didn’t anticipate such a celebrated finish in her latest event.
“That was a shock! That was a shock,” she repeated of seeing her name in the number two spot, an hour after completing the course. “The number one person was two hours ahead of me, so that tells you what type of course this is.”
White, however, doesn’t do it for the awards and accolades. She attends and schedules ‘events’ to help people reach and realize goals.
“It is about hope and support,” she said. “Whether it’s in there (gesturing to her massage room) or the events. I don’t care who or what a person accomplishes, you don’t do it without support.”
White may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 550-1938.