It’s odd that I find myself being an Ambassador for a Marathon Race. Me…an old, formally fatter guy, who could barely walk for most of my life? How did I get here?
My wife got into running and started to hang out with a group of runners, that meet at Runners Lane, a running shoe store in Santa Clarita, CA. I was pretty much of a slug and didn’t quite catch the vision of why running would be “fun” or something I would want to do. Especially since I had a fused ankle and never thought I could run.
I used to enjoy sleeping in on Saturday. Now Saturday is a run morning.
I saw changes in my wife and even though I was afraid, one day I decided to go to one of the Thursday Runners Lane “Fun” Runs. As I recall, I took one of our dogs and did a walk. I was more focused on hanging with the dog and taking sunset pictures, but did “jog” a bit.
It’s odd walking into a group you have nothing in common with and where you don’t know anyone. As it turns out, these are very nice people. They are welcoming to everyone regardless of their fitness level. Of course I was uncomfortable being quite out of shape wondering how I could fit in.
After a few times it became clear that these are really great people. I sort of wanted to go to these scheduled runs. Initially, I could barely go a mile. It was like OK…that’s far enough. As time went on, I could go farther; and I was very surprised at how well my fused ankle held up.
There is a unique dynamic that goes on in the running community. With the encouragement of this group, I started to go farther, and have since done many races, even though race is not really the correct word. I am very slow and embrace slow. I’m moving and many people aren’t.
The Santa Clarita Marathon is special to me. I started with the Mayor’s Walk, then did the 5K and in 2015 at age 61, did the half marathon. OK…now my age is out there. Yeah, I’m old and 13.1 miles is a long distance for an old guy! That said…if I can do it, I think anyone can do it.
Many people have a marathon on their bucket list. I don’t. My goal is to stay healthy and keep moving. To avoid injuries proper training is important. Flo Mina who oversees “Team Runners Lane” has a training schedule and I follow it. If you do the work, you can achieve the goal you set. As we approach this year’s marathon event, I’m wrapping my head around the training schedule. I am going for the half marathon again. This is a challenging distance and I feel I’m up to the challenge.
In addition to the connection I have with Team Runners Lane through the training process preparing for this event, a highlight is the excitement of the day and being a part of a community. Our “Team” continues to grow and we have a huge group participating in the Santa Clarita Marathon at all levels.
When I did my first half marathon, it was hard, but I did and feel good about that accomplishment. There are a couple of memorable moments of the SCV Marathon that I’d like to share.
One was meeting Al, another older guy. We hung out throughout the race. When it was over, we met each other’s families. A nice bond was created in the LONG time it took for us to go 13.1 miles. It’s a great thing to do a half marathon when there is a full marathon happening. The marathoners continue to come in so it’s not obvious that we were truly slowest participants in the half marathon.
My running community is awesome! At the end of the race, there is a bridge you go over that is a very slight uphill. At the 13-mile mark, this old guy was pretty toasted. That bridge felt like an actual steep hill.
As I came over the bridge, one of my friends, James Mitchell was there, cheering me on. He encouraged me with the classic phrase, “You got this!” At that point, there was a short block to go before turning the corner to the finish line. Yeah…I got it!
While we may not hang out all the time socially, the relationships in our running community are special.
Many of us are connected online. I was shocked to see to see a picture of Robert from years ago. With his permission I share it here, along with one with us together after a Fun Run out side Runners Lane. Obviously, his life has changed…and my life has changed. This is why I run and it’s why I’m a champion for the Santa Clarita Marathon.
From my own personal experience, I have created SuccessFit4Life!…a program that is simply about sharing, inspiring and motivating people on their wellness journey…wherever they want to go.
It’s simply cloning what’s happing with Team Runners Lane to a broader audience around the country.
My personal blog posts are on SuccessFit4Life! Blog, along with a variety of resource articles. We also have a section on Changing Lives. Here we feature what we are doing to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through SuccessFit4Life!™ EVENTS.
Everyone is welcome to join our SuccessFit4Life! Facebook Group. Post things that encourage you and what you are doing to stay active. I understand that most people don’t have time to be involved in ANOTHER Facebook Group. Keep in mind however; that posting is not about you…it’s about encouraging others.
Truly I am blessed to be doing this at my age…and am so inspired by the many lives that I have seen changed.
SuccessFit4Life! is a bit self serving because being focused on encouraging others is really keeping me motivated. I encourage you to do whatever you like to do to stay active. You got this!