In June of 1949, Troi McClanahan was born and spent her early years growing up in Oklahoma and Wyoming. Like a scene out of “Little House on the Prairie”, around the age of 5 her parents built their first little house from cinder blocks just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming while the family lived in a tent. The work was completed just in time to move in the night of the first snowfall of the year. At the age of 9, Troi began her journey caring for children by taking care of her baby brother. From the age of 11 until her first year of college, Troi played the drums and eventually became a music major in college. However, she eventually decided to go into the nursing field. Later, she served in the Navy Nurse Corps for two and a half years spending part of that time in the newborn nursery in a naval hospital. After that she served as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for fourteen years. The last 30 years of her nursing career she diligently tended to children in pediatric home care. She says that the care of children comes as second nature to her. Six years ago, she retired from nursing due to a wrist injury that prevented her from being able to administer CPR properly.
Aside from her career, Troi has also worn the hats of wife, mother and grandmother. Troi said her only real dream in life was to be a mother and she got to fulfill that by becoming the mother of our beautiful Jeep Girl, Angie Keeley and a son named Bret who resides in North Carolina. She also is the grandmother of 2 grandchildren that she describes as beautiful, smart and talented. On December 10, 2006, she remarried the man she calls her soulmate, David. As fate would have it, they met at another dancing class learning ballroom style and Troi says “The rest was history.”
Troi has always enjoyed having an active life and pursuing fitness. As a mother of small children, she took aerobics classes two to three times a week and ran 4 miles every other day. She even taught 2 aerobics classes for a short time! In her late 30s, she earned a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo Karate. When her children were teenagers, Troi decided to spend more time focused on her role as mother and her active life decreased. However, she was not satisfied to stay inactive long and at 40 years old she joined a tap-dancing class. Later, she spent a decade with the performing group known as “The Dancing Grandmas on Tap” (Originally known as Harris Rosedale’s Young at Heart Dancers). After taking some time off she decided to rejoin the group and has now spent another eleven years dancing with them. During that time, she also took ballet, jazz and theater jazz dance classes before getting into ballroom. It almost seems like dancing is as much a natural part of her as caring for children.
Hobbies are a necessary part of Troi’s life as she says that, as a Gemini, she gets bored easily. She enjoys expressing creativity in the art of making “reborn” dolls in which she crafts dolls the size of newborn babies that look as close to real life as possible. She also makes and collects doll house miniatures and enjoys gardening. She still ballroom dances with her husband and continues to refine her tap dancing. Along with her 2 human children, she also has four feline fur babies to care for.
For about a year, Troi has been coming to Grind2Fit and became a member in February of 2019. She remembers being nervous during her first class and concerned that her age wouldn’t allow her to keep up, but the encouragement and kindness of the community inspired her to keep trying. You can now see her at class about three times a week, usually dancing near the front with her daughter, Angie who first suggest she try out the class. She was having trouble with stamina despite her active life dancing and walking and thought the cardio workout that Grind2Fit offers might help with that. Seeing her daughter working hard inspires her to keep going as she hopes to increase stamina, lose belly fat and tone her muscles while participating in the class. When she began at Grind, she could only do modified jumping jacks and now can do them full out (and even gets a few burpees in there as well!) She loves being able to pursue her fitness goals in a way that is fun and encouraging.
One of Troi’s biggest struggles to overcome while pursuing her fitness journey with Grind2Fit has been struggling with arthritis in various joints. (Although, to watch her dance you would never know it!) She has been hesitant and held back at times for fear that something might hurt but, overtime has shown increasing courage by pushing herself into doing more. She still shows caution in not wanting to aggravate previous injuries but tries to balance that by exploring the boundaries of what she can do. One of her favorite memories was getting to dance on stage to “Instruction” (her current favorite) for her birthday and experiencing the love and support this community is so well known for.
This past summer, Troi joined the Grind Tribe as the community took on The Beast of The East Fork for a second year. As the oldest person to participate in the race, Troi represented herself and her tribe with fierce tenacity. With the unwavering support of her daughter and help from some members of the tribe, Troi attempted several of the obstacles and successfully crossed the finish line.
Along her fitness journey, Troi says the most influential person has been her daughter, Angie Keeley who inspires, challenges her and supports her along the way. Her best friend, Pat who is 81 years young and Donna who is a mere 94 are both still dancing and active and help remind her that age is only a number. (And we know at Grind that no number is good enough to measure us!). Grind has helped Troi to realize that age doesn’t have to be a factor when achieving fitness goals. She does admit that there are times where she gets so caught up in the journey that she begins to wonder why she isn’t doing all the younger people do. Troi hopes she can be an inspiration for people who think factors such as age might mean they can’t achieve what they want. She wants others to realize that it is never too late to be healthy!
Like many of us, Troi says that the support and encouragement from the Grind2Fit community is one of the biggest aspects that set the workout program apart. She says the program is also fun and loves seeing her heart rate monitored in real time. Troi says the heart rate system helps inspire and push her to work harder during classes.
When asked for words of advice or encouragement for anyone thinking about coming to class, Troi said “Try it. It is fun and you can work at whatever level you need to and increase from there and no one judges you.” Troi says that dancing helps keep her young and stops the arthritis from winning!
Unbeknownst to Troi, we asked her daughter Angie to tell me a bit about her Mom. This is what she had to say:
"As a kiddo, Wonder Woman was my hero, watching Lynda Carter thwart evil with her magic lasso, bullet proof bracelets, and the invisible jet. (YES!) Kicking ass and taking names. It was the best! I loved her and wanted to be just like her. She was my hero.
I am sure you have all seen Mom around class. Sassy red hair, total rock star, the Krazy Kat Lady. Mom has always been fearless, the words “No” or “I can’t” are not in her vocabulary. From the time my brother and I were very young she started with aerobics, Jane Fonda style, the gateway drug to working out, eventually teaching her own class. Then she switched to running with the dedication of a champ. She even won a 3rd place trophy when she ran a mini marathon in her late 30’s. (The look on her face was priceless as she had no idea until they read her name!) Then came the dancing…yes, the dancing…Mom spent so many years in the back room watching while I was in ballet class, I think she finally came to realize one day that she can do this too! She started taking ballet classes while I was a teenager which eventually morphed into tap dancing! Mom has been a Dancing Granny for over 20 years. At 70 years young, she joined the Grind crew this past spring to race in the Beast of the East and killed it!
Nothing makes me more proud than to be dancing along side this incredible lady. I puff up with pride every time she does a burpee (or 10, thanks Karen and Sydney!), nails the Russian Twists, or rocks mountain climbers.
So that’s when I realized, this is her! The Real Wonder Woman. She is an unstoppable force that kicks ass and takes names on her own. She is my hero and I am so proud to be her daughter!"
If you come to class, make sure you go say hi to Troi! She is hard to miss with her beautiful red hair and sweet spirit. She might seem like a reserved and quiet face in the barn, but she is filled with tenacity and kindness. (Two things we love dearly around here!) Troi is ongoing proof that many of our limitations in life are only in our own minds as many think that growing older requires us to become less active or take a backseat to a newer generation. As the current oldest member of Grind2Fit, we can all look at her and say we hope to be like her when we grow up!