I sat in the dermatologist office the other day, receiving my yearly once over and hoping that those brown spots on my leg were harmless. They were. As the doctor examined me the subject of running came up after he saw the condition of my toes.
"I can't run anymore," he said. "I wish I could," not elaborating, he said, "I ride a bike now."
I thought about that long and hard on the drive home. I thought of two of my best friends and fellow Hyland's Ambassadors, Carol Wright and Doug Schunk, and their stories.
After years of raising children and pursuing her career, Carol Wright began running at the age of 70 in 2012. Why not? It was easy to do and she enjoyed being outside.
At first, she would do a mile or two and walk a lot of it. Her first few races were 5ks of which she was perfectly happy to do and quite an achievement for her. In time her fitness and zest for running increased to her first 1/2 marathon in 2014 which was triggered by her daughter who said "Mom do it with me!"
From there it was no stopping Carol. Her first Boston Marathon was in 2016 and she will be doing her 5th in 2020. Since the age of 73, she has completed 12 marathons.
She told me the best advice she ever received was something I had told her years ago when she was just starting, "If you want it, you can do it". "The friendships I have developed through my running have brought me great joy and despite my age, my running friends still accept me for who I am. There aren't too many 78-year-olds out there."
YOU CAN ALWAYS BECOME WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN...
In 2010 Doug Schunk visited his family doctor for a yearly check-up. It would change his life. He was 28 years old and weighed 330 lbs. His blood work and cholesterol were off the charts and his life was at risk. At age 40 his father received a pacemaker and Doug was on a crash course for one in his future.
There was a motivation to change and it was called family and a young son. For two years he was obsessed with losing weight and becoming fitter. Beach Body and Insanity workouts helped him lose 50 lbs. but he wanted more. So he began to run. Why not? he thought. "I could do it at night, get even more fit and lose more weight."
In 2013 he ran his first 5k. In 2014, his first 1/2 marathon, and in 2015 his first marathon which led to finishing another 12 marathons!
Doug has found the same feeling of accomplishment at 5k as he does in a marathon. Asked, "What change have you seen in yourself?" He replied, "I am healthier for sure and it has given me more confidence in my running and my professional life as a teacher."
"I feel the kids look at me with more respect now."
"I tell my students if you set a goal make it concrete. If it is being a better musician, practice. If you want to run a 5k one day commit to small steps to get there. Put your plan on paper."
Oh and by the way Doug lost 130 lbs.
There you have it...not just runners but two great people with two great stories from opposite ends of the spectrum...the ageless wonder Carol and the indomitable Doug.
So to my dermatologist and whoever reads this I say.....
YOU CAN ALWAYS BECOME WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN.