Thursday, January 6, 2011

Runner of the Week: Peggy Hewitt

This week's Runner of the Week just graduated from a recent RunnerDude's Fitness Beginning Running Group.

Peggy, like many mom's, found herself filling most of her time with family and work commitments, leaving very little time for herself. But, after seeing her daughter getting into running and loving it, she decided to check it out for herself and ended up getting hooked.

Throughout the beginning running program, Peggy often shared her appreciation for the group and the knowledge she was learning, but what Peggy didn't know was that her desire to become a runner along with the other eight ladies in her group (ages 33 to 61) was one of the most motivating and inspirational things I've been involved with.

Each lady in the group had the same concerns, "will I be the oldest," "...the slowest", "...the least fit." They were nervous and worried they wouldn't be able to complete the program. The group, however, quickly bonded and supported each other through the weekly group runs and the weekly independent runs. It wasn't long before the comments turned from "Will I be the slowest?" to "How far have we gone?" "What's my pace?" "How far is a 5K?" I loved every minute of it.

Read on to learn more about Peggy and her experience with running.

Having been tall and skinny while growing up, people always asked me if I played basketball or was athletic. The truth is, no one in my family was athletic! Especially me! We were all encouraged to learn piano or violin, or some other form of the arts. Even though I was the only one out of my large family most likely to play in neighborhood 'pickup' games, I could never talk my siblings into joining in the fun. So, I was thrilled when my three children all showed athletic abilities (along with artistic talents!). However, instead of joining along side them, again I was the spectator - or the band Mom, Scout Mom, taxi Mom, church youth group Mom, ect… Being a single parent since my oldest was 5 years of age left little time for personal exercise. (Or, so, was my excuse!)

Over the past few years, though, all three kids, now in their early 20's, have all continued with running on a more serious level. Amy joined a running group about a year ago, and then decided to train for a half marathon. She found Thad McLaurin, from RunnerDude's Fitness, and signed up with him. She would come home and tell me how far she had run and how much progress she was making. I could see such a change in her, that I became curious about this thing called running. So, I threw on a pair of tennis shoes and started running around the neighborhood.

Amy, Andy, and David were so proud of me; they decided we should do a Family 5K. There was one coming up a few weeks later and they were SURE it would be the perfect race for the four of us. When the 5K start time rang out, all the runners took off at the fastest pace I had ever seen! Amy ran at my side the whole race encouraging me to keep going even though I'm sure I was barely moving at times! Was I the last one to finish? I may have been; but I FINISHED! And I loved it! Every aching muscle and breathless moment! I knew then, I wanted to learn the right way to run!

I was in luck; Thad was starting another beginner's running group in just a few weeks. About eight to ten of us beginners met twice a week to learn the proper techniques of running from Thad. He is surely the most patient trainer ever! We were always asking "Why do my knees…", "When will my breathing…", What should I eat…" "When should I eat…"? Our questions were endless! Thad answered each question, and if he wasn’t sure, he would find the answer and email it to us. Thad never pushed us or made us feel like we were not doing our best. He ran alongside us each day telling us how well we were doing.

Although Thad never pushed us to make a certain 'time' or distance, we were all curious as to how far we were running. Thad measured our route and discovered we were running about 3 miles! The last week of our program had us up to running 30 minutes. What perfect timing for the Resolution Run 5K! I decided to go for it!

David and I met a few new running friends at the start line that New Year's Day. But, I was so thrilled when Thad came and ran alongside me the whole race! It was like having my own personal trainer there cheering me on! His watch measured distance and time so at the end of each mile he could tell me how I was doing! Even though I was running faster than I usually go on my weekly runs, once I saw the finish line I had that second wind come over me. I sprinted that last tenth of a mile and managed to come in 7th for my age group! David came in second for his age group! What a great feeling!

I know I could not have done this without Thad! I am so thankful for his encouragement and dedication to helping us meet our goals and live a healthier lifestyle. He truly has a special gift. Five of us in this last beginners group are nurses and we often commented on how it makes us feel good to be role models for others by routinely exercising. If not for Thad and his gift for encouraging and teaching, I know I would not be so excited about running. I know this is something I will continue doing!--Peggy


Fitness Freak said...

An inspirational daughter, Keep it up Peggy.

RunnerDude said...

Yep, Peggy's daughter, Amy is one of the most positive people I know. And a great runner! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Robin said...

Peggy is inspirational! In fact, I joined the beginner's running group because of her. When she runs with me, she slows her pace willingly and keeps the conversation going when I can't get my breath sufficiently to contribute much to it! I didn't know you ran the 5K, I'm impressed. Thad is a great trainer, I totally agree.