Well, she did it! Mom proudly walked across the finish line at Parkview Field on Friday night to the cheers of friends and family achieving her goal of completing the Senior Marathon event at the Fort4Fitness Wellness Events this past weekend. For those of you are new to this blog, Mom's odyssey began this spring with her continued complaints of shortness of breath and a challenge thrown down by her exasperated children to begin to exercise. When she began to walk, she could cover a grand total of approximately 100 yards of ground before the fatigue and shortness of breath got the best of her. By last weekend's event, Mom had logged just over 31 miles and completed the last 1.2 miles of her quest in a blistering 34 minutes! Her only regret was that I would not let her try to "crush" her competition so we started at the back of the pack and all along the course she kept haranguing me about catching up with those ahead of us. It was indeed my fault that she finished where she did but I kept reminding her that this was to be a celebration of her journey and not a race.
So what advice can my almost 80 year old mother give to anyone who thinks that it is too late to try to take back their health from a lifetime of benign neglect and poor lifestyle choices? She sums it up simply, "Just get moving"! During this process, I may have mentioned once or twice, we created somewhat of an "exercise monster" but basically Mom is right. It begins with that first step or two and before you know it, the old overweight, out of shape you becomes transformed into someone or something you could never have dreamed even existed. To mis-quote that famous philosopher Forrest Gump, " I just started walking...".
Small changes over time make huge differences. While this may not sell books or get you into that bikini by your vacation next month these seemingly small changes in your daily habits, done consistently over time will be transformative. I guarantee it! If you need help or suggestions to get started, I again refer you to the 4 Your Health section of the Fort 4 Fitness website where you will find all kinds of free and extremely useful information on all topics health and wellness.
What of the Fort 4 Fitness event this past weekend? Well there were just shy of 10,000 participants in the weekend events (Kids marathon, Senior marathon, Half-marathon; 13.1 miles, 10K; 6.2 miles and 4 mile). Close to 40% of the participants had never participated in a competitive event of any kind prior to stepping to the starting line. To see the faces and smiles of each and every person cross the finish line and grasp the true sense of accomplishment never ceases to amaze me and I have done hundreds of competitive events over the years. This event is truly unique in the country in that it "caters" to the "couch-potato" and competitive athlete with the same energy and enthusiasm. Even if you choose to remain a spectator I would encourage you to follow Mom's advice and, "Just get moving". Mom and I guarantee results.
Oh yeah I forgot, the real reason Mom did this event was for the hardware. For those new to the competitive world, "hardware" is the "stuff" one brings home from the event. Yes, Mom did bring home the hardware (see photos) and I suspect we are going to need to pry the medal from her neck at some point but for now we will let her bask in the glow of her accomplishment. Mom, we are all proud of you! Did I ever mention that my brother was quite a handfull? (He's the one on the right of the picture)