Run with Moe: A column
By MOE JOHNSON
San Marcos Runners Club
This month has seen an increased awareness about fitness and health.
Most of the big news has to do with the health care reform that the federal government is trying pass.
Every year, a list comes out naming the fattest cities in the United States, and Texas always seems to have the greatest number of cities in the top ten. It’s not that information and opportunity aren’t there for the citizens of cities and towns, and especially San Marcos.
Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) has established a LoneStar Wellness program for local residents. The program starts out slow and encourages beginning little lifestyle changes to follow that will lead to a better health and fitness.
The city has established a Task Force for a Healthy San Marcos that is chaired by Dr. Randy Rogers with an emphasis on creating a healthy citizenship in San Marcos and a special emphasis on childhood obesity that is present in the schools. Rowe Ray, editor of the San Marcos Daily Record, wrote an editorial on the problems with health here in the city. Rowe hit the main cause direct on with the head when he said that it is up to every individual to take a step toward a better and increased healthy lifestyle with the quote from the “Pogo” comic strip that said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Individuals can blame local agencies, the government at state or national levels for certain things, but it still comes down to each individual to do something for themselves. San Marcos CISD Trustee David Chui, a member of the Healthy Task Force, has a few quotes that make sense of the importance of starting a fitness program. One quote reads, “Low Cost Health Insurance, Exercise Daily”, another good one states, “Want to Live, Exercise”. The one that may strike a chord for many who are reluctant to change to better eating habits and exercise goes like this, “Less sugar in diet; See your grandchildren graduate”.
There are more than eight businesses and gyms in San Marcos that provide exercise programs and equipment for people here in town. All of them have personal trainers to guide you in a program to fit your individual needs.
One problem that I hear from people on starting a program at a gym or fitness facility is that they are embarrassed about going to a gym to work out when they think everyone else is all buff and fit. But most gyms and fitness centers have members that are overweight, many are in the senior citizen age group, and a majority are just regular people trying to stay fit.
Most of them started out in the same boat – out of shape, overweight, embarrassed at being seen in a gym and not knowing what to do in a gym. These same individuals are now doing something about their own health and seeing changes that in the beginning never dreamed could happen.
I write this column with the main focus on running, but also healthy lifestyle changes. I went through the same sequence of any beginning runner that gives it a try. I finished my first race, the first Capital 10K, in 52 minutes so that I qualified for a T-shirt by breaking 55 minutes. Eventually, I was talked into running a marathon. The Houston Marathon was my first, and I just wanted to run it in less than four hours. I managed a 3:45 time or so. I was so sore, I had to be helped up over curbs and someone had to put on my warm-ups since I couldn’t bend down or move.
One of the first questions I received after that very eventful run was, “When are you going to run the Boston Marathon?” My qualifying time for Boston at that time was 3:10. That meant I would have to run 35 minutes faster for 26 miles. That is more than a minute per mile faster. I laughed and told them it was not in this lifetime.
But after a few more marathons, my time was now down around 3:20, and that time was only 10 minutes away. I eventually ran just under 3:04 and qualified for, and ran, the Boston Marathon.
It just takes one step at a time to reach a goal of healthy eating and fitness, and the most important step is the first one. You do not need to set a date or make a resolution to do this – just start today and keep on going the rest of your life – and chances are it will be a longer healthier life.