Even with a background in fitness, I have never been much of a runner. I was a tall, skinny kid and although I was in basketball for one year in middle school, the running wore me out – I was a good shot, but I had no endurance and my skinny, little body had no power.
In high school, I was in track one year as a sprinter, but by then (much as I hate to admit it) I smoked a pack a day and was gasping for air after every relay race.
As the years went by, I discovered physique training and found that my body type was more naturally drawn to that type of athleticism, and that my scrawny little arms and legs looked much healthier filled out with muscle (and for the record, quit smoking in my early twenties).
Then I found yoga, which changed my body and my life. The mental and spiritual aspect of yoga are something I still embrace most days in my life and even at my age now, am able to balance my entire body up on one arm because of the core strength that I have built.
In my twenties and thirties I did a lot of volunteer work for domestic abuse shelters and to raise money for other non-profits which started out doing their annual walks. And eventually I worked my way up to doing my first 5K. I did a couple of bike tours with my brother, but did not ride bike outside of when he and I did an event together. Because of my lanky legs, I eventually had to have my arthoscopic surgery on my left knee in 2004 and that took me away from doing any running for a long time.
When on the board for a homeless shelter, I finally ran my first 10K in 2009. However, I have never run a race trying to get done as fast as I can. I would stop and talk to the guy handing out water, or have even had 5Ks where people pushing strollers were catching up to me because I stood around chatting for so long half way through.
I decided that I would like to run a race, and actually try to run through the whole thing, not stopping to talk to people along the way and just see how I could do (or as I joked with my friend the other day, not stop for a beer and a ride before the end of the run). So, my brother asked me to run the Jailbreak DFW with him this year and I said I would do it (and actually run). I started training, running on the treadmill and running outside sometimes. I was really putting in effort to get ready. Then on Aug. 23 this summer, on my way turning into the YMCA, my car was rear-ended and totaled.
I was hurt and could barely walk on the treadmill without so much pain it would bring me to tears. It took me weeks to be able to get back to my resistance training and even longer to be able to get up to even 3 mph on the treadmill.
Then I moved to Rockwall. I helped to promote the Christian Corneau 5K for the YMCA Partners Campaign that we have coming up this weekend, Saturday Nov. 12, and decided I would run this race as my first one “back in the game.” I was really happy to meet people from the Rockwall Running Club when I went to their Halloween party recently to say hello and to promote our upcoming fundraiser. What a great group of people! They are so supportive of each other; many of them just returned from a run together in New York, others have run local races in Rockwall and Dallas and achieved their best personal times or mileage. And they all know how the others did.
There’s a part of me that shies away from that kind of circle, away from being accountable to anyone but myself, especially when I know that it is not an activity that is my strong point, but I have to say that being around those people, and seeing how supportive they are of each other, and how much they all push themselves to their personal best, inspires me to want to give it a shot. I still may join the running club just for the social aspect of it, and you still may find me getting sidetracked from running somewhere to talk to someone along the way, and I still debate the pros and cons of gravity and running and its effect on my body parts, but this weekend- I’m going to run.
Thanks to the people of the Rockwall Running Club for being an inspiration (and happy birthday Jusko!)
Liz Jones is the Membership & Wellness Director at Rockwall Family YMCA, located at 1210 N Golida in Rockwall, TX. She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance.
She is trained in Reiki, Guided Imagery, and various healing methods. She has also trained in Shotokan karate and other forms of martial arts and self-defense. Her background includes non-profit management and working with various at-risk populations, women’s empowerment workshops, and mentoring programs.
Liz Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-772-9622.
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