Establishing priorities: Marie Traeger sets goals to stay healthy

January 2011 Posted in People, Your Health

By Kristine ThomasMarie Traeger

Marie Traeger has discovered a secret to sticking to an exercise plan.

It’s not about losing weight, she said, adding she realizes regardless of how many hours she exercises she’ll never be a “skinny-minnie.”

And it’s not about exercising to exercise.

“I am doing this to be healthy,” she said, “and to be healthy for my children.”

The key to dedicating time each day to run or lift weights is setting a goal, Traeger said.

“The boys in my department were talking about how they were going to run a half-marathon,” Traeger said. “I first thought to myself, I can’t do that. Then I realized it was just mental and I could do it.”

By setting a goal and working to accomplish it, Traeger has realized there’s little she can’t do. On May 3, 2010, she ran the Eugene Half-Marathon.

And for 2011 she has a list of goals she wants to accomplish, including a duathlon, where competitors run, bike and run.

Making yourself a priority

A math, health and physical education teacher at Silverton High School, Traeger has had several colleagues ask her how she finds time to run and what keeps her motivated.

Silverton Strong
Individuals who want to train for
events such as a 10-K race or
triathlon are invited to meet
others interested in training
together on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Silverton High School, 1456 Pine St.
To learn more, contact Marie Traeger

“I think the first thing you need to do is make yourself a priority,” Traeger said. “We make our children a priority and we make our jobs a priority but too many of us forgot to make ourselves a priority.”

When people tell her they don’t have time to exercise, Traeger challenges them to “find the time.”

The mother of Zachery, 10, and Megan, 14, Traeger said she used to go to the grocery store or run errands when her children where at a class or athletic practice. Now, she goes for a run.

Making herself a priority required analyzing how she spent her time. She jokes she isn’t as much of a “clean freak,” now being able to leave the house with dishes in the sink. The question became what was more important – her health or a dust-free house?

Flexibility is also a key to making yourself a priority, Traeger said.

“I have learned dinner doesn’t have to be at 6,” she said. “And I don’t have to take a shower before I pick up my kids and it’s OK to be sweaty in public. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff.”

By setting a goal and talking about it with friends and family, Traeger realized people are expecting her to accomplish it.

“I want to be an example for my fitness class,” Traeger said. “Before I was talking the talk, but not walking the walk. My students see me out exercising and they believe me more when I talk about healthy living.”

Getting started

Five years ago, Traeger’s husband Mike died in a car accident. For the first six months after his death, she was unable to do anything. She lost weight but gained it back because her body went into starvation mode.

It was her dog, Coco, who got her exercising.

“I felt I was accountable to her,” Traeger said. “If I didn’t take her for a walk or a run, I was letting her down.”

In September of 2009, she decided she wanted to run a half marathon.

She started by jogging four blocks, walking four blocks and then repeating. Within six months she went from running a mile without stopping to completing a 13-mile race when she finished the Eugene Half Marathon in May 2010.


Traeger said she’s proud of herself for sticking to her goals and being an example for her children.

Three colleagues have told her because they have seen her run, they started running and their goal is to complete the Shamrock Run in March.

“This is about a life change,” she said. “I haven’t lost weight but my clothes fit better and I feel better. I can’t tell you the last time I have had to hit the snooze button.”

Eager to help people who feel like she once felt, Traeger is starting Silverton Strong, a group for people who want to meet other people interested in training.

“I want to challenge other people to put themselves first,” she said. “By putting yourself first, it makes everything about your life better and exercising is the one thing you can have 100 percent control over.”

Traeger realized setting a goal and sticking to it has more to do with a person’s mental strength rather than physical strength.

“I realized after what I had been through, I could do anything,” she said. “I think the key to exercising is it is 100 percent mental. You have to push yourself past being tired and tell yourself you can do it.”

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