You’re Never Too Old: How a HAP Employee Got His Fitness Fix Later in Life
You may have heard the saying “you’re never too old to set another goal.” It can be challenging to take action after you set a goal. And, at 55, after deciding I wasn’t too old to join some co-workers in a 5K race, I had to figure out how to do it.
The kicker: I wasn’t any kind of runner before I made this commitment. I didn’t even run in high school.
Both my coworkers were seasoned runners. They gave me training tips to get ready for the big day. They both said that it was important to start training early and slowly increase my distances.
Race morning was in early October. It was a typical Michigan fall day, starting out chilly and overcast. A great day to run. The miles seemed to take forever, but it was fun running with strangers who became united as runners, encouraging each other as we ran.
I finished in just over 30 minutes. I never said I was fast. But, I finished and thought to myself “mission accomplished.” I thought I’d never run again. Boy was I wrong. The following year, I ran in two 5Ks. Then my curiosity was piqued by idea of challenging myself to run longer distances. I tried my luck at running a couple of 10Ks.
Beyond my 10K days
At the age of 57, I challenged myself to run a half marathon. Part of my motivation was my upcoming 40th high school reunion. I trained a lot in the heat of summer. It helped that my son was running cross country at his high school and he could train with me.
As part of my half marathon training, I participated in the 2011 Crim Race in Flint. The Crim Fitness Foundation, as always, did a great job putting on this event. Running 10 miles in the heat of summer up and over the hills of Flint was great training. And again, the camaraderie of fellow runners and great support from the people of Flint made the run that much more enjoyable.
Finally, the day for my half marathon arrived. I had decided it would be fitting to run the Capital City River Run in Lansing, MI, my hometown. I arrived with plenty of time to pick up my bib and use the facilities after the drive from my home in Troy. It was a gorgeous October day. I found my race corral, where runners aiming for a 2½ hour finish time would start, and we were off. I was not only aiming to finish my first half marathon but I was running through the streets of the community where I was born and lived in for the first 30 years of my life.
I can’t tell you what a thrill it was to finish in just over 2 hours and twenty minutes. Like I said, I’m not fast! Since then I’ve run in six other half marathons and look forward to continuing my running as long as my knees and heart can keep me going.
Finding your “you’re never too old to set another goal” activity
It wasn’t easy to become a runner, but I just got started and found that I enjoyed what I was doing. As a HAP employee, I know all about the different ways to get moving, so here are a few you can check out:
Aug. 24-25 | Flint
For runners and walkers of all levels and ages, this event takes place in the streets of downtown Flint.
June 2-3, 2018 | Oxford
For those who want to attempt obstacle courses that test mental and physical strength.
July 13, 2018 | Grass Lake
A flat, scenic run and walk around Grass Lake and the nearby neighborhood that includes live music.
Sept. 15, 2018 | Detroit
A bike ride that explores some of the city's historic areas, takes in breathtaking sights and offers the chance to legally “take over” the streets of Motown.
Sign up now
There’s still time to sign up for one of this year’s HAP Fitness Challenge events. You can use your HAP member discount to register! Log in to your hap.org account and click on “Member Events” in the “My Health and Wellness” tab to get the discount code.
If one of these HAP fitness events doesn’t work on your schedule, find one that’s right for you through the Michigan Fitness Foundation. These events promote physical activity, health and wellness. Visit RunSignUp.com/puremichigan.
Once you find something you like, stick with it. Make yourself accountable to your friends, family and coworkers by announcing that you’ve signed up for a fitness event.