By now, you’ve likely seen the Charles family at an LRC run: Kaya leading the speedsters on her bike at a Saturday long run, Joseph running with Sebastian in the jogger to meet us between his house and the Metra station, Holly increasing her miles in the LRC Strava group, or the whole family out for a Wednesday night fun run. Seemingly all in now, they are one more example of the LRC lurker that eventually made it out to a run and never looked back.
The Charles family moved to Libertyville after living in Philadelphia, PA then Winston-Salem, NC. Joseph’s career in R&D pharmaceutical/analytical chemistry brought the family here, and Holly now works part-time in graphic design/marketing while she pursues her master’s degree in nursing. In September 2014, Joseph noticed this ragtag group of runners trotting past their home and thought he would one day like to join in on the fun.
It just so happens that Joseph works with Moises Ortiz – an LRC runner and a most helpful Run of the Dead coordinator. Through Moises, Joseph met other LRC runners, and eventually he made it out to a Saturday run this year. But his journey leading up to that point is quite impressive and vital to the Charles family’s zest for an active lifestyle.
He was never a fan of running, though he grew up playing cricket, basketball, cycling, and volleyball. When family and work responsibilities relegated those activities, Joseph found himself weighing 318lbs in January 2015. It was time to make drastic lifestyle changes; he committed to a liquid, high protein diet of 600-800 calories a day for a year. Gradually adding more calories and walking then jogging, Joseph lost 105 lbs that year! His first run ever recorded was June 2015 for a 10:26 min/mile. One year later, he logged 2.2 miles at a 7:16 min/mile pace! His goals include running a 5K in under a 7 min/mile pace and losing that last 10lbs to get him under 200lbs. He plans to work on running a strong 10K but nothing more. He is now addicted to Strava, thanks LRC!
Holly’s parents encouraged her to play basketball in high school because she was shy. From that experience, she realized the importance it played on her physical and mental well-being. She enjoys yoga and has always admired runners from afar. Seeing the positive effect it’s had on Joseph and hearing him rave about the LRC, she decided to give it a try. Whereas 1 year ago Holly would have been proud to run a mile, her new normal is 3 miles with a goal of breaking a 10 min/mile for 3 miles and running a 10K. If you’ve seen her at a group run, you already know her excitement is palpable as she progresses rapidly!
Running with the LRC has encouraged Holly to be diligent. She’s inspired by how well others are performing. Joseph notes that the super-friendly LRC, with its range of abilities and inspiring characters, keeps him from stopping and walking at the 3-mile mark that usually does him in. The regularly scheduled group runs help to keep them from skipping weeks of working out. We may inspire this family to achieve more but we also turned Joseph onto the maple bacon donut, something he once though we were nuts to enjoy.
Joseph and Holly want their kids to experience the same healthy lifestyle and are not above bribing them into participating. Sebastian – the crazy one – is easy; throw him in the jogging stroller or bike and go. Kaya – spectacular and very bright – enjoys riding alongside mom and dad, but it is often difficult to distract her from what she’s doing to get her moving (unless it’s volleyball, she loves volleyball). They’ve found that $1 per non-whining mile is great incentive for her. Don’t tell Kaya that Joseph would secretly pay 10 times that to ensure nothing derails his run and resulting Strava entry. All this family activity has even inspired Kaya to want to participate in a color run.
For a non-stop active family, they still find time to relax. The Charleses make a habit of Taco Tuesdays at Milwalky Taco and unwind with their fair share of Panda Pop, Duke basketball, and family time. While Joseph will crave that maple bacon donut after a run, Holly is most looking forward to a babysitter to keep the crazy child from crawling all over her. Many of us can relate to that!
So there you have it, families that run together, have fun together and we all know that families and fun are always welcome around the LRC. Keep pushing your limits and inspiring us Holly, Joseph, Kaya, and Sebastian!