Cities in Play

Cities in PlayWe recently had the opportunity to speak at the Annual Georgia Municipal Association’s conference held each year in Savannah, a beautiful destination in coastal Georgia.  The theme of this year’s event was “Cities in Play.” How awesome is that!  In our breakout session, we discussed “Healthy Communities: Keeping your Citizens Active.”

Did you know Georgia ranked 40th according to America’s Health Rankings?   For some of us that can be a surprise, depending on the community you live in.  Do you feel like where you live has a profound impact on your health and fitness lifestyle?

Research shows  that only one out of five adults in America meets aerobic and strength guidelines. 26% of American adults engage in no leisure-time physical activity. Minority populations are disproportionately inactive, including 32% of black females who report no leisure-time physical activity. Low-income communities of color suffer the lowest rates of activity and face the greatest barriers to accessing affordable and safe fitness opportunities.

When traveling around to different cities, it’s plain to see construction occurring for new parks, trails and community centers.  Both young and old desire to live in an active and vibrant community.  For example, Alpharetta, GA hosts a history walk where one can explore 19 historical markers throughout downtown. What a great way to learn about the city while being active!
Alpharetta

In Atlanta, there are bicycle tours that roll through historic neighborhoods.  Chattahoochee Hills, located 35 miles southwest of Atlanta, sits on 1,000 acres and has a great trail to run or walk and hosts many health and wellness activities.  Royston, in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! One of its key attractions is Victoria State Park with 502 acres of rolling hills and eight miles of hiking and various biking trails.

These locations may be considered weekend escapes for many people, but in order for us to stay healthy we need safe trails and activities occurring in and around our communities. Communities should explore making “dead time” such as waiting at bus chattahoocheestops, lengthy waits in doctors’ offices, laundromats, etc. more playful. Cities have many undiscovered assets that can be used to fill communities with play everywhere.

Cities can create mini play destinations “around the corner.” When parks and playgrounds are a bus ride away, they become special-occasion locations. Cities can develop small, modest but right-around-the-corner options with interesting play structures. Communities can also make play more inclusive and appealing to the whole family. Getting the parents and caregivers excited by incorporating things they may want to do like hiking or visiting zoos as accessible ways of exercise.state park

Cities are fiercely competing for residents— not just twenty-year-olds but also families of all income-levels who breathe energy and enterprise into neighborhoods. Everyone wants to live in a safe community with ample job opportunities. In addition, families want great schools and abundant places to play. Creating kid-friendly, family-friendly cities filled with play is a competitive advantage for cities.

Behavioral insights  show us that psychological distance is not equal to actual distance. This makes going to the park or a playground seem like a major outing rather than activity that is part of a regular routine. Creating closer and smaller, “play destinations” can help. Consider the difference between supermarkets and corner convenience stores. You may stock up on groceries every week or two, but you probably stop by the corner convenience store more often. When it comes to play, the equivalent of the supermarket might be a big playground in the nice part of town.

The bottom line is that making cities family friendly and creating the corner store of play will require many solutions, but we believe that the fight against inactivity hinges on community-based fitness leadership. This leadership comes from compassionate people who care enough about their communities to motivate others to move!

When fitness leaders look around and see sedentary lifestyles and chronic disease, they believe that they can and must make a difference. Fighting the inactivity epidemic will require a multi-sector, multi-pronged attack, one community at a time. There is no silver bullet to solve the inactivity epidemic. But the heart of the fight—the spiritual core— will come from community fitness leaders.

 


Can Dogs make us more Active?

I know that’s a silly question, of course they can!  They are dependent on us for letting them outside – oh wait we don’t have to go out with them, we can just open the door and let them do their thing.  Not so fast, did you know an estimated 52.6% of US dogs are overweight or obese, according to Pet Obesity Prevention that equates to roughly 43.8 million US dogs as overweight and 13.9 million as obese.  Wow those are alarming stats and one can only imagine the cost associated with treating obese pets along with the health related illnesses.
PetsRFit2Based on these stats it seems like the answer is no because all your dog does is laze on the couch and watch TV with you, but hang on dog ownership can actually provide a variety of health benefits.

Anecdotal and scientific evidence has shown that dog owners tend to be healthier than the average person. Here are a few examples that having a dog might just keep us healthier and happier.

  • This is perhaps no surprise to owners that frequently walk or exercise with their dogs. After all, dogs are more likely to beg for a walk or a game of fetch than other house pets.
  • According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs.
  • And this effect extends to adult dog owners. According to a 2006 study done by Canadian researchers at the University of Victoria, dog owners were more likely to participate in mild to moderate physical activity. They walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.fitness-dog-smiling_h

Regardless, this still hinges on your willingness to walk the dog in the first place. According to a 2006 study by Johns
Hopkins University researchers, while dog ownership might obligate owners to walk their dogs, only a fraction of owners walked their dogs at least three times a week, and that fraction was especially among elderly dog owners. Therefore, even though dog ownership might promote walking activity and motivate both the dog and the owner to go outside for some fresh air, you’re not going to experience those benefits if you’re too reluctant to walk the dog.

For me I am new to dog ownership as we just got two Dobermans and let me tell you they are a handful but in a good way.  Our oldest Marley is hyper-aware, very active, super smart and she loves laps.  Our youngest, Marshall, is a rescue and has hip dysplasia yet the sweetest thing you’d ever meet.  We love getting outside every day and either running, walking or taking them to the dog park and let me tell you they love it!  And what I really love is when we 20160227_170251come home from all this activity they are passed out on the couch with a smile🙂

Has it made me more active, well – I’ve already had an active life but with them if I am low on energy or having a bad day they still need to go outside and despite their crazy leash biting and not walking a straight line it is fun!  I’m sure I’ve been the sight of entertainment for many in-town drivers seeing this guy walking two big Dobermans equaling 70 and 85lbs – so yes they have made me more active and stronger because they get stubborn and sometimes you’ve got to pull them.  Now my gait might be getting impacted because of how they gyrate me but it’s all good.

contactus-jumping-woman-dogSo it got me thinking as we have been working hard on community health and engagement initiatives we’ve started to notice more and more pet-friendly events and communities that are more inviting towards pets including pet friendly restaurants.  It seems to be a growing trend and from this it made me further think about the platform that we have built it can easily be a platform for pets and their owners.  So we are piloting the idea of creating a social engagement platform for pet-owners where you would upload a picture of your pet and log their daily activities or the pet friendly events completed.

So if you are a pet-owner create a pet profile on www.cmecompete.com and join me on the PetsRFit2 Community as we start to innovate within this space – after all pets can make us healthier so why not reward them for their accomplishments!  More details coming soon regarding this pilot!


Active Georgia = Community Health

In public health, we know that where you live has a profound effect on your health. But we do not always know what to do about it. Public health doesn’t have the tools to renovate housing, reconfigure streets to make them walkable and bikeable, build parks and community buildings, or build and run grocery stores or schools.

Fortunately, there is a sector that does – community development.  Collaboration between community development and health promises to be a win-win for everyone. Community developers have the know-how to transform neighborhoods, improving what those in public health call the social determinants of health. Meanwhile, innovative community developers have recognized the importance of health ensuring that residents benefit fully from the changes. The integration of health into community development, and the partnerships that are essential to making this happen, are critical. For example, the surgeon general recently delivered a call to action on walkable communities and America Walks issued micro-grants, where over 500 community-based organizations applied for funding.

Many of our cities are taking a keen interest in community health not only with the built environment but programs that connect families and businesses to further engage them within their community. As cities become walkable and host events they become sought after destinations for families and businesses.  There are many projects occurring in Georgia that include new trails, parks and bicycle lanes all designed to engage the community in healthy leisure time options.

ACTIVE_GAActive Georgia is an innovative approach to highlighting all this amazing work and inspire community health.   After all, walkable communities are attractive places for businesses to locate, which clearly correlate with healthy and thriving economies.

In the first two years of Active Georgia, Roswell and Dallas were neck and neck for the title of the most active city. This year we have a new winner – Sugar Hill.

 

Sugar Hill is a very active community located in Northern Gwinnett County minutes away from Lake Lanier and nedwas named after an incident where a large shipment of sugar spilled and the area became known as “the hill where the sugar spilled” or “the sugar hill”.  Sugar Hill is host to a lot of 5ks and they are currently building a new fitness center for City employees and their families.  The city hosts a number of community fitness camps where there is a good chance the Mayor, members of city council or the downtown development authority will be seen participating.  Their Economic Development Director Scott Andrews, who is a fitness trainer and this year’s individual winner, has a number of weight loss success stories within the community.  Nic Greene served as the President of the Sugar Hill Business Alliance this past year and Ned Jasarevic, shown in the picture with his two dogs, is the Information Technology Specialist for the city.  “The success of these gentlemen is the real story. Ned has lost nearly 100 lbs since starting his lifestyle change. Nic is down over 25lbs in just a few short months.  I am proud of their accomplishments and the obstacles they have overcome. The Fitness Boot Camps and their success have led them to becoming my gym workout partners, as well great friends,” Andrews stated.

Paul Radford, the City Manager shared more highlights about the city, stating “The credit for our success lies in the unselfish and creative leadership of our city council and their passion for the Sugar Hill brand, their laser focus on our vision and their clear and unambiguous commitment to engagement and partnerships.  Our focus is creating a walkable downtown with connecting neighborhoods.  We are also planning a unique trail that will connect our downtown (a new urban park) with our recreation parks, greenspace and golf course, creating a 16-mile multi-use sugarhilltrail around the city called the Sugar Loop Greenway.”   Our downtown amphitheater, the Bowl at Sugar Hill, was recently named “Best in Gwinnett” as an outdoor concert venue by Gwinnett Magazine.  We also have close to $250 million in new construction soon to start in our downtown including the city’s new EpiCenter that will be the home to a new performing arts theater, city recreation center as well as 43,000 sf of office, retail, and restaurant space.  Other private sector developments will also include commercial space, structured parking and most importantly, downtown housing.  We are excited about the future of Sugar Hill and feel blessed to have so many different private sector partners helping make our city a special place for residents, businesses and guests alike.”

Roswell is certainly one of the more active cities in the state as they are known as a cycling community home to the ever popular GA 400 Bike Ride to the Capitol where they close down a portion of GA 400.  As a cyclist, I had theroswell honor of riding in this event and it was way too cool riding down a multi-lane highway considering the amount of  drivers that road normally accommodates on any given day.  The City of Roswell recently started a Health and Wellness program for City employees where they offer free classes and bring in nutritionists and fitness instructors whom are also part-time City employees.  They have a strong Health and Wellness program for their seniors and the general public as well.  The city has a number of innovative public schools within their district and a very athletic group of gymnasts who successfully compete in nationals every year.

As we have seen from the success of these two cities, parks provide intrinsic environmental, aesthetic, and recreation benefits. They are also a source of positive economic benefits. They enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, bring in homebuyers and workers, and attract retirees.

At the bottom line, parks are a good financial investment for any community:

  • Parks channel positive community participation by getting diverse people to work together toward a shared vision.
  • Parks provide places for people to connect and interact in a shared environment.
  • Parks are one of the quickest and most effective ways to build a sense of community and improve quality of life.

Congratulations to Sugar Hill and Roswell for their innovative approaches to engaging their City employees and by getting involved with Active Georgia.   These are important steps in engaging their respective communities and we look forward to continuing to inspire and grow more community engagement.

 

Please join me in support of this initiative as we take a unique approach by combining the built environment and health programs with technology to inspire community health.   For more information on how your city can become involved in Active Georgia please contact Dan Popovic at dan@cmecompete.com

 


A Call to Action

I was recently in DC presenting at the America Walks Summit where the Surgeon General was a keynote speaker addressing his recent Call to Action on Walkable Communities.  As I was listening to his presentation I couldn’t help but think what a call to action meant.  Many folks know of it as CTA’s within the Internet of things, it’s literally a call to create some sort of action or response.  America WALKS

In this essence it was a way to tell Cities that you need to take a more proactive approach in creating safe, active walkable communities.

 Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walking and walkability. Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.

In support of this call to action, America Walks issued Micro Grants where over 500 organizations responded with their efforts on community health and engagement.  As we visit with many Cities and Non-Profits we see a growing trend with community health and engagement as these organization see several benefits such as economic development.  Who doesn’t like to take a nice walk with a friend or loved one and stop in a local store for coffee a glass of wine or some groceries. It’s tremendous and inspiring to see what is going on within various Cities and Non-Profits, for example:

  • healthy tennesseeIn Tennessee – Healthier Tennessee is an effort led by Governor Bill Haslam and made possible by The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, a non-profit corporation dedicated to enabling and encouraging Tennesseans to lead healthier lives.

team of mules

  • In Maury County Tennessee they launched a Community Challenge to lose the weight equivalent of a team of mules (8,000 lbs.).

 

  • Eat SmartIn North and South Carolina there is an initiative called Eat Smart Move More which is a statewide movement that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play and pray.

 

  • In Oklahoma there is a significant community health initiative but they have also been successful with their built environment initiatives – The Oklahoma City Trails are a network of paved walking, running, bicycling and skating paths that will eventually stretch all across Oklahoma City and many of its suburbs.Indianapolis
  • In Indianapolis it is one of the top 10 places to walk run and bike and they are home to the largest half-marathon in the US with several trails that connect unique cultural enclaves, restaurants and attractions. There downtown path also has a barrier that separates bikes from motorists.

 

 

 

These are exciting developments and I can’t wait to see more in 2016! As we approach the end of the year it’s typically a time to reflect on accomplishments and set new goals. For me, I am hopeful to further spread the word on what Cities are doing to engage their communities, meet someone new each week to share their accomplishments and further my passion that I have been working on for nearly 4 years – which is to bridge the gap between technology and the built environment to engage communities, reward healthy behaviors and create social connections.

It’s a challenging endeavor when you bootstrap such an operation and try to employ social media, gamification and the concept of community – but we are seeing the idea gain traction, in fact this recent article talking about 2016 was inspiring to see the word community and social media used – after all social media is great but aren’t we looking for more community connections…

So what is your call to action in the New Year?  As an organization is it to put on more events in your community, to host a Mayoral Walk, develop a new trail or as an individual is it to loss weight, run your first 5k, half marathon or marathon.. Is it to run a race in multiple cities or just get out within your community and get engaged? Drop me a note as I’d love to hear from you as we share accomplishments and inspire others.

I wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year – see you all in 2016!


The Wake-up Call – Falling off track!

Staying Active and eating healthy is not easy!  It requires a change with many things such as sleeping!  If you want to exercise in the morning, you’ve got to wake up earlier or change something within your current habit to support 30 – 60 minutes or more of exercise!  You’ve got to determine how many times per week and stick with it, believe me it’s hard as I have had plenty of days where I didn’t want to do anything where I felt tired or too stressed.  However, the minute I did, afterwards I felt great, but again it’s hard.  

Also you’ve got to consider eating differently, don’t have cookies or donuts in the morning or throughout the day – especially if your co-workers bring in such food.  Go for the carrots, not the cookies – again easier said than done as I’ll admit my diet could and should change.  I get plenty of exercise but I can’t say I eat the best as I typically have a snack every morning.  You just don’t know what that is doing to your body unless you take those steps to find out as my next guest can speak towards.

I met Suzanne by way of social media – gotta love these tools, what did we do before, pick Suzanne_Picup the phone?

Meet Suzanne Tamm —

I started off by asking Suzanne why she exercises and what her inspiration is, Suzanne replied ‘I started walking and running a long time ago in my 20s now I’m 48. I’ve had spurts on and off over the years but most recently I began walking and slow running since 2012. In the late 2000s I had gotten ‘way’ off track and for the first time in my life I faced enormous weight gain.’

‘In 2011, I was 50+ pounds overweight and had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a fatty liver from poor eating habits and generally not doing enough to care for my health. It was a wake up call! My doctor at the time told me “I don’t want to see you become a statistic. I remember being so ashamed of what I had become. It took me several months to hear his plea, but once I did I began cutting out fatty foods, sugar and generally eating much better.’

‘I did not follow any particular diet, just focused on portion sizes and ingredients. After I began to lose weight, I felt more comfortable getting outdoors and using my home treadmill to start a cardio routine. I have lost over 50 pounds and my blood work is textbook perfect! I have reversed my liver damage completely and my cholesterol is very low. My blood pressure is better than average! I see people who knew me a few years ago and they do not recognize me. My health is my biggest inspiration that keeps me going! I walk or run at least 1 mile a day and I am currently on a 110+ day streak!’, Suzanne stated.

Wow – that is amazing 110 straight days, I know I can’t say that – so I then asked Suzanne about her favorite event, Suzanne replied ‘My favorite event is a virtual race. I love doing virtual races because it allows me to do them as I can and at a pace I am comfortable with. I am not a fast runner so I find public races a bit daunting. I usually sign up for the “walk” portion of a race if there is such an option. But by far, the virtual races fit me the best! I just completed the #girlsrunfast 10K virtual run/walk on Thanksgiving Day!’Virtual Race

As an event organizer I encourage walkers, as Suzanne stated the event is a social opportunity to meet others while making it ones personal experience.  I then asked Suzanne how often she worked out and if she kept a log,  Suzanne replied ‘Currently I walk and/or run at least 1 mile every day. I do track my events and weekly workouts. I use my Apple Watch, which is my go-to tracker. I also use the app “RunKeeper” which is very useful as it calculates my weekly and monthly progress in miles, total distance, total elevation and total calories burned, etc. I love comparing month-to-month progress!

I went on to ask Suzanne about her goals for 2015, Suzanne stated ‘My goals for 2015 were pretty simple – to be as active as possible. I believe I exceeded this goal and I am very proud of my progress. In October I set a goal to walk, Treadmillrun, or hike a 5K every single day. I exceeded that goal, doing 107 miles in October! That’s dedicated exercise miles, not just walking around the house or running errands… just plain tracking when I was out on the trails or on the treadmill or elliptical. If I added my daily steps it would probably be a lot more than 107 miles!’

Wow that is inspirational, speaking of inspiration, Suzanne told me what keeps her inspired – her continued great health. Suzanne went on to say, ‘Also my loving family who is very supportive and has come to understand my “runner’s personality” – i.e. that I have to get my exercise on every single day, even if that means getting up to use a hotel treadmill at 4:30am on the morning before an out-of-town college visit (Hello Ithaca NY and Cornell University!!). The other people who keep me inspired are the many on Twitter and Instagram who share their progress every day. It’s a great community and we are extremely supportive to one another. I never thought I’d say that Social Media is a blessing, but it truly is in this case! Suzanne replied.

I then asked Suzanne if she met someone new to running or walking what would she tell them, Suzanne stated ‘Start slow! I have made the mistake of trying to do too much too fast more than a couple of times. We runners and walkers are a bit stubborn in this regard…  it’s really not worth injuring oneself. I had a person tell me once not to worry about pace but just enjoy the run. That was the best advice I have ever gotten on running and I have to remind myself of that every single day. Don’t worry about what others are achieving just enjoy yourself!! If you compare yourself to others I really believe you are setting yourself up for disappointment,’ Suzanne responded.

open roadSuzanne went on to tell me, ‘My mind wanders a lot during a run or walk! I think of projects I’d like to do at home, work related issues, people I should call since we’ve been out of touch for a while, the birds, the bugs, the wonder of
our great Earth. My mind is all over the place! I find it fascinating and just let it happen organically. It’s really a Zen thing🙂,’ Suzanne stated.  I certainly know what she is talking about as I come up with some pretty amazing inventions but the minute I get home I can’t recall a single one of them!

earthothonI then asked Suzanne if she belonged to a run club, Suzanne responded ‘I don’t belong to a local club. I do, however, belong to the #Earthathon relay which formed on Twitter- it is a relay race of teams that “race around the world”. My team, “RunderfulRunners” recently completed 25,000 miles, or one time around the Earth! It’s a fun way to get to know others from all over the World and work on a collective goal. I also am an Ambassador for #FitFluential, which is a fitness-minded community, #MoveItMonday which encourages everyone to get up and move on Mondays and continue throughout the week, and #PHLHeartHealthy-or the American Heart Association, Philadelphia Chapter who encourages a healthy heart and body through proper diet and exercise. I love being an Ambassador to these great causes and they also help keep me positive and motivated!’

I went on to ask Suzanne if running has helped with her career, Suzanne stated ‘Absolutely! I am a pet sitter and accredited dog trainer. This career requires being in tip-top shape, as I work with animals of every size, shape, and strength every single day, keeping up with my running and walking keeps me physically fit, which helps tremendously in my career!

So I asked her about 2016 goals, Suzanne responded ‘My goals for 2016 remain pretty simple – be as active as possible all year long, hopefully every single day of 2016. I am sure I will create my own challenges again like I did in October by doing a 5K every day. I also have a goal to hike more of the Appalachian Trail, which I am fortunate enough to live near. The AT is a very challenging hike but it is invigorating! I hope to be able to hike a full day on the AT, and perhaps camp out for one night, an experience I have yet to enjoy.’

Thank you Suzanne for sharing your story and I too hope your 2016 goal of hiking a full day comes to fruition!  We’ll check in later next year on progress🙂

Happy Holidays – Dan..


From Stress Buster to Healthy Heart Advocate

In my last blog interview we met a wonderful lady that took 20 years off from running and when she got back into it she set her sights on the Boston Marathon.  My next interview is with a wonderful women that leveraged the feeling of running to ward of stress until she had a few health set backs then it became a different passion.

Meet Anna Borghesani —anna

Anna started off by telling me about her inspiration with running, ‘I started running in college as a stress buster.  On Saturday mornings I would go for a run before studying for the whole weekend. I have been running ever since. After moving to the UK I did a few 10ks and 5ks and in 2006-2007 I started doing triathlons.  So I had to share my running with swimming and cycling. In 2011 I fell pregnant but I kept running at a lighter pace and shorter distances,’ Anna replied.

‘In 2012 I could not run much because I was pregnant and it was not very comfortable although I kept walking right up to my delivery date. I resumed running in late 2012. Carried on in 2013 but then it was tough as I was due to have heart surgery as a result of a leaky pulmonary valve. I had surgery in November of 2013. I resumed running in late February 2014 with the aim to complete my first marathon to prove to myself and the world that a heart sufferer can be fit, healthy and run,’ Anna stated emphatically.

anna_london‘I also wanted to raise money for heart charity, so in April of this year I did my 1st marathon, London, with a time of 5:30, the most wonderful thing I have ever accomplished and I have not stopped since. This year I managed to do two more half marathons and now I am training for the Manchester marathon in 2016,’ Anna replied.

I went on to ask Anna about the frequency of her running and if she tracks it, Anna replied ‘I now try to run 4x a week, if not it is 3x a week, with a long run on Saturday at 27km. Tuesday is speed work with an 8k and on Wednesday I do a fast pace but not dead fast, Sunday is a recovery run for about 8-10km.   I use garmin forerunner 220 to track my activity. It is a recent thing as it was given to me in august for my birthday. I use twitter as my support group as we all support each other in the running community!

Anna went on to tell me, ‘My family, my mum, husband and daughter and all the people who sponsored me (Heart anna_with_mumResearch UK sponsorship), keep me inspired.’

I went on to ask her if she met someone new to running or walking what advice would she tell them, Anna responded ‘ The first few miles are the tough ones, go beyond mile 2 or 3 and you will fall in love!’

I asked her about her drive and inspiration and Anna stated, ‘I run to feel alive, to enjoy early morning nature. I run as I love the feel good factor at the end, I run to relieve stress, I run and I smile..I am a better person!’

I then asked Anna about her favorite event and she already hit on it, Anna replied ‘London marathon 2015, because It was a major achievement -16 month post heart surgery!’

anna_medalPeople who have done it tell you that it is a day to remember, unique, unforgettable, but beforehand you just cannot imagine it and understand it. I am now sitting down in my kitchen, with achy legs, and the only thing I can feel is the sense of achievement, pride, joy, my heart full of joy. I cannot hide that it is hard, a very hard test, physically and psychologically, but honestly it is worth it! No money can buy it.

That was it, I ran a marathon, I am marathoner!

 

To stay inspired follow Anna on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/runanninarun


Turning Back the Clock

As winter arrives the days get shorter!  For some of us our routines go uninterrupted, for others we switch up our workouts, perhaps from morning to evening or in some parts of the country you might just take the season off as the weather is too cold.  I am curious as to the longest one has taken off from exercising?  We all do it as life has many chapters, from school to work to raising a family and its not always easy finding time for ourselves.

My next story is about a wonderful lady I met online, by way of Twitter,  as she stopped running for 20 years!

Meet Beth Kar!beth_with_dog

I started off by asking Beth when she started running and if she had an inspiration, Beth replied ‘I started running as a teenager as my parents were the inspiration because they were a part of the 80s running craze. I was 13 and I ran a lot with my mom and dog.  I ran through high-school but then I stopped for about 20 years.  My son had autism and I often found him running off and I realized I could not keep up with him, plus I gained a lot of weight.  I didn’t make the time to exercise as I worked 60 hours per week.’

‘2012 was my first year back and I did what I called combo runs – 2 mile run followed by a 2 mile walk, 7 days a week.  I kept building up my strength and I kept running with my mom,’ Beth replied.  I went on to ask Beth if she tracks her workouts, Beth responded ‘I live in the City of St Joseph as it has a great parkway system.  I run every day and I use my Garmin in tandem with MapMyRun.  I recently ended up in the hospital with a perforated ulcer and since June I have been rebuilding.  Last year, 2014,  I ran over 3400 miles.  During the winter of 2013/2014 we had a lot of snow and I realized the slower I went the further I could go.’

i35challengeI then asked Beth about her favorite events, Beth responded ‘ My favorite races are the I35 challenge as its back to back races in Kansas City and Des Moines Iowa with beautiful views and rolling hills.  Its a great way to see parts of the city that you would never have noticed, plus you run around water and bands along the way.  My second favorite is the Lincoln as it was wall to wall with people cheering and there was a guy playing eye of the tiger on a accordion – I did the half Marathon.’

Beth went on to tell me, ‘Next year I plan to run a full marathon, the Lincoln, as I just turned 45 and I have set my sights on Boston.’  I then asked Beth to share more about her inspiration/drive with running, Beth replied ‘The inspiration I get from running is the feeling it gives me as it rejuvenates me and I get to run with nature, meet new friends at events where I ended up with a ton of facebook followers and we all started running together.  I also get inspired by others when I see them meet and exceed their goals’, Beth replied.

I then asked if she met someone new to running or walking, what would she tell them, Beth said ‘Be consistant, no distance is too small.’  I then asked Beth what she typically thought about while running. ‘I’m hyper aware of things around me, looking at nature as it gives me energy and I am not afraid to get lost, which I tend to as my sense of direction isn’t the best,’ Beth responded.  ‘I have a band of runners, no formal running group but a facebook group with friends where we meet up to run and grab coffee afterwards’.beth_friends

I went on to ask Beth if running has helped her with her career, Beth replied ‘I am a city clerk with the government and running has made me more confident.  A final lesson that Beth wanted to share with others,  ‘I’ve been on IB Moultrin for forty years and that is what gave me stomach issues that caused the ulcers – a lesson I share with others,’ Beth stated.

beth_son

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me Beth and good luck with the training and exceeding your goals for 2016.

You have certainly given me insight into a couple more events that I might check-out.   Stay Healthy!