Sunday, January 25, 2015

When You're a Turtle. . .

It is that time of year, Peeps, time to think about training for the upcoming racing seasons.  No matter your goal, there is no better way to meet it than by joining a running club.

Four years ago, I couldn't run farther than two miles without becoming incredibly winded and exhausted.  It was ridiculous.  I was convinced that I would never become a runner. . .

And then I joined the Towpath Turtles.

Not this turtle
 The Towpath Turtles is a structured training program in which the end goal of the runners is to run either the Akron Half Marathon or the relay for the Akron Marathon.  The group runs together on Sunday mornings (Saturdays for the relay training group) for the long, slow distance run.

THESE Turtles

Sheila Avsec, the coach of the Turtles, describes the program in this way:

I believe that to be a runner, one does more than run, namely a Towpath Turtle is defined as:
• A runner who runs on a regular basis, regardless of distance or speed;
• A runner who participates in the running community: as a volunteer, a member of local running club, and as a spectator/support crew member for other racers;
• A runner who knows about his/her sport – about proper fueling and nutrition, injury prevention and recovery, race etiquette, and the running community in general;
• A runner who is supportive of his/her peers and other runners.

Through the Turtles, I was able to go from not being able to run more than two miles to running the Akron Half Marathon in seven months, but that isn't all I got from the group.  Through Sheila and the Turtles I learned about proper cross-training, fueling, and racing strategy.  Most importantly I learned that the Turtles embrace true sportsmanship: We cheer on every runner in a race, right down to the very last one.  We support everyone, regardless of ability.  We have fun.

I am no longer technically a Turtle, since I am not a beginning runner (Wow!  When did that happen?), but I run with the Turtles during their long runs, and I attend other events with them when I can.  This year the alumni Turtles are planning to run the various races for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon.  I proudly wear my Turtle shirts at races, and I loudly chant my Turtle call whenever I see a Turtle.  Ask me to do it for you sometime--it's awesome!

Once a Turtle, always a Turtle.

The Turtle season starts in February, and the information session is February 1:

An Information Session about the 2015 Season will be held on Sunday, Feb 1st 2015 at 1:30pm at the Main Akron Library (in the meeting rooms). This session will give prospective clients an overview of the different training programs that I offer through OneLife Fitness Coaching, including the 31-week, large group "Towpath Turtles" running program. Immediately following the general meeting, I will be meeting with Alumni who are interested in signing up to run with the large group in 2015. If you have any desire to sign up, please put this on your calendar now as only one info session will be offered.

If you are looking for a group, or you need an extra push to achieve your running goals, there is no better group than the Turtles, Peeps.  I look forward to every new season because I know I will meet some fabulous friends--will you be one of them?

Run happy, my friends!