Today is Global Running Day (A.K.A. – National Running Day) – a global initiative aimed at encouraging people to live healthy, fitter lives. Since the beginning of the LRC, I’ve come across many inspiring stories of healthy transformations, from our very first Monthly Member Spotlight 16 months ago featuring Carrie Wagner, to Christy Bartolain, who was introduced to the LRC by Carrie. Christy’s story hits on all the things that Global Running Day is about: having fun and being active and healthy.
Christy lives in Round Lake Beach and started making the 25-minute drive to Libertyville to run with the LRC last summer for our track workouts. Christy had just started running more consistently, having run her first race a few weeks prior on Mother’s Day – the 2015 Barrington Mother’s Day 5K. The track workouts were a great introduction to the LRC in an unfamiliar town; she knew she wouldn’t be left behind. She began the 2015 11-week track program with an 11:22 mile time trial and finished the program with an 8:53 mile time trial and after running with us this winter, she ran yesterday’s time trial in 8:22! For those of you that did your first 1-mile time trial with us last night, you’ve got some improvement to get excited about.
As a bit of an introvert, she was comforted by how encouraging, welcoming, and helpful everyone was. She soon attended a Wednesday night fun run and met Erin Westphal – a leader in the LRC community that ensures no runner is left behind. The miles flew by while chatting with friends. She was encouraged by the people in the LRC to keep stretching her boundaries. A half marathon no longer seemed impossible. She ran with us throughout the winter to train for her first half marathon – the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May.
She began the year with a 10-mile New Year’s Day run with the LRC. This was her first long run without any blisters; she was off to a good start. She used the LRC training plan as a guideline and made some adjustments. For example, she likes to be over-prepared so she stretched her longest run to 15 miles. She was more than ready for her half marathon and it showed on race day. Christy was all smiles despite the cold and windy conditions. Michael Stehling jumped in to run with her around mile 10. She was thankful for the pick-me-up; that mile and the next were her fastest of the day!
I remember Christy from the track workouts last summer. And when Jill Baranowski and I saw her at the Wisconsin Half Marathon last month we noticed something different. She looked happier, healthier. Since the beginning of 2016, she has lost 25 lbs.! Running has played a huge role in her weight loss. She tracks her calories with My Fitness Pal. Though she doesn’t obsess about every entry, she finds that just logging some of her meals keeps her from overindulging. Running helps her burn the extra calories while continuing to enjoy meals and snacks without feeling deprived. Her advice is to find an activity you love and be cognizant of what you eat. Exercise isn’t painful if you’re having fun doing it. Hmm, sounds a lot like our If It Ain’t Fun, You’re Doing It Wrong! slogan.
She credits the workouts for teaching her how to train effectively and introducing her to interval training and tempo runs – something she now incorporates into her running. Her goal this year is to make a sub-10-minute-mile her new normal; she’s currently around 10:15 – 10:30/mile. For all the new participants this year, she recommends taking advantage of the before and after time at the track to socialize with the other runners. That’s what inspired her to participate in other LRC runs and as a result, push her limits.
And that’s what she’ll do again when she trains for and runs her first marathon this fall – the Chicago Marathon. She’s also running the Venus de Miles 5K and the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon (a group trip with Moms Run This Town – a Lake and McHenry County running club) this summer. She’s looking forward to training with the LRC again and completing her first marathon as a charity runner for Team Bright Pink.
And now my favorite thing you probably don’t know about Christy… She rides a motorcycle! Christy and her husband are avid riders and together they experience many of the things she also finds most enjoyable about running: sharing a passion with someone, being alone with time to think, and that indescribable feeling of being out in the open with the wind against your face. There’s a sensory awareness derived from riding a motorcycle and from running that you don’t get riding in a car.
Join us tonight for a fun run on Global Running Day. Like Christy, you’ll be amazed at how far you could go in just one year. No more excuses, just run.