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I am NOT a runner – really, I am barely a walker. So, imagine just how thrilled I was to be up early on a hot, muggy, and slightly overcast Saturday morning, heading for what I was sure would be a slow form of physical torture. Of course, being the team player that I am, I had happily signed up for the first 90x20 Walk-to-Run Clinic, hosted by Board Member Lynn Gray. It all sounded so good on paper, support the 90x20 cause, get a little exercise, blah, blah, blah, and by the time I got to the site of the clinic at Ballast Point Elementary School (BPES) - having made not one but two wrong turns in spite of my GPS - I was starting to reconsider my hasty decision. After all, even my GPS tried to keep me away.
The workout began with a general assessment of our own fitness levels. Then, we were placed into different groups – running, fast walking, walking and barely walking. Each group was given its own prescribed pattern of movement around the track. But first, we had to learn how to walk. Yep, you read it correctly. Walk. We spent 10 minutes on the correct way to walk - heel to toe, feet straight ahead, back arched, arms close to the body and pumping back and forth. Who knew that I didn't walk correctly before now? And, since the majority of people learn to walk before they run, we spent a few more minutes on the correct way to run. Well, honestly, at this point my attention span focused on those chocolate-filled snacks taunting me from across the way. Besides, I had absolutely no intention of running.
Next, we stretched. We stretched our legs, our arms, our backs, then our legs again. Everybody had to stretch, regardless of fitness level. It was a definite confirmation that I may not be as fit as I had once thought. And finally, the plank. Plank? What in the world is the plank? I watched Mrs. Gray and a colleague demonstrate the full plank. We were just in the warm-ups and I was already regretting my decision to get out of bed. I held my torso and knees and chest away from the concrete at an angle. I actually did a real, live plank! Not for very long, and not very steadily, but I did it.
By the time we hit the track, I felt a bit more encouraged by having completed the first step. No, not the warm-ups. The first step was showing up. I was feeling pretty darn good about myself by this point. I grabbed two new bottles of water to hold as weights and joined my walking group. I met the most amazing folks during the walk, although at times I became short of breath from the talking and walking, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of such an eclectic, diverse group of people.
The morning ended with motivational speeches of support from a few of the participants, along with a reminder to take a handout for Workout #1, grab some swag from the tables, and be sure to register for the next clinic on November 4th and the District Heart Challenge (same website, second tab down.)
As I walked to my car to head home and shower off the perspiration of success, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. Not only did I make the commitment to become fit, but I also made new friends and became inspired by their personal stories. Joining the 90x20 Walk-to-Run Clinic motivated me to become more cognizant of my health and fitness level. It made me realize I was not alone in this fitness journey. As Dr. Pansy Houghton, participant and workout fashionista told the crowd, "You have to start somewhere, and today was my start."
School Board member Lynn Gray believes in being fit and healthy. She talks the talk and walks the walk. She wants to help others get healthy, too, and so this year, she is sponsoring and facilitating seven 90x20 Walk-to-Run clinics to prepare the District's 90x20 5k Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic team to be successful. In addition, two of the clinics are the kickoff and the culmination of the District Heart Challenge, sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA). Register for each of the next 90x20 Walk-to-Run clinics by clicking on the links below, or simply by visiting www.sdhc.k12.fl.us and typing "go 90x20team" in the search box. Although I have a schedule conflict for the next clinic, I will be at every other one that I can fit into my schedule – I don’t want to lose this feeling of accomplishment!
90x20 Run-to-Walk Clinics:
11-4-17 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_11-4-17
12-2-17 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_12-2-17
1-13-18 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_1-13-18
2-3-18 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_2-3-18
2-17-18 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_2-17-18
2-22-18 clinic http://bit.ly/HCPS90x20_2-22-18
2-24-18 Gasparilla Distance Classic 90x20 team http://www.tampabayrun.com (visit the HCPS webpage first to get all the details.)
Follow our Twitter account @2018HCPS90x20 to stay up to date with the HCPS 5k team and Walk-to-Run Clinics.
For questions about registering for the 90x20 Gasparilla 5k Distance Classic team, contact Conchita Canty-Jones by email at Conchita.Canty-Jones@sdhc.k12.fl.us.
Fredi Beck has been an HCPS employee for over 29 years and enjoys spending time with her two greyhounds on her days off. She has now added fitness to her many likes – well, it’s a work in progress.
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