The President's Corner
My father died of at the young age of 54, then his brother at 48. Both lived sedentary lifestyles and did not eat well. In late 2007, I had my annual physical and was told by my doctor that, because I was also relatively sedentary and overweight for my body type, he could not make me any guarantees that I would outlive them, if I continued on this trajectory. Needless to say, this put the fear of God in me and on January 1, 2008, I made the only New Year’s resolution that I have ever kept, as far as I recall. I decided to change my lifestyle.
I soon joined a gym and in the first few months lost 40 pounds, which I have kept off to this day. I changed my diet and began exercising regularly. I found myself spending more and more time on the treadmill and met several runners who invited me to join them on their regular runs. Before you know it, I ran my first 5k and fell in love with running. The rest is history. Since then I have run a slew of 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and 67 full (26.2 miles) and ultra-marathons. I literally have an addiction to running.
As we embark on a new year, I want to encourage anyone who was like me to change your lifestyle, as well. I am proof that it can be done. I am the first to admit that it is not easy and that it takes a lot of will power. However, the positive feelings that being in shape brings are so worth it. I am not saying you have to become a marathon runner, but, who knows. I would have never guessed I would run one, let alone several of them! You may have a latent running talent, as well. By the way, if running is not a possibility, walking is great, as well.
One of the beauties of walking and running is that you do not have to spend a fortune or travel. All you need is a good pair of shoes, and you can walk right out of your door. It is also easy to get started. However, as all exercise gurus will tell you, talk to your doctor before you start.
Before you begin any new endeavor, it is also smart to set a goal. May I suggest signing up for your first 5k (3.1 mile) – the Parma Run-Walk for Pierogies, which will take place on Saturday, June 30, at CCC-West. As a beginning walker or runner, this might seem like a long distance, but, before you know it, you will be surprised at how common this distance will become. You will also be surprised with how quickly the pounds will begin melting off, if you pair your exercise with healthy eating habits.
I would also suggest trying to find a partner to join you on your new endeavor. I can attest that having someone else join you on the journey keeps you honest, as far as eating and keeping up your exercise routine. It is easy to talk yourself out of a run or walk on those cold, rainy, windy days. However, this is where positive peer pressure can play an important role in keeping you motivated.
To begin your new walking/running regimen, do not go out and walk or run several miles. Start small and work your way up. I have seen many people injure themselves thinking they can make up for lost time by running or walking a bunch of miles up front. There are many training plans online and many great books available on how to train for your first 5k. Setting a goal of running or walking your first 5k on June 30 gives you plenty of time to get in shape.
Your new walking and running routine will allow you to discover beautiful places in Parma and the region. Make it your goal to visit every one of the Cleveland Metroparks and the many miles of the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath. You will be surprised by the many spectacular trails we have in our backyard, filled with history, incredible scenery, and animal life. My favorites are the West Creek Reservation and Big Creek Parkway right here in Parma, as well as the towpath between Valley View and Peninsula, the Hinckley Reservation, and the Rocky River Reservation.
To sign up for the Parma Run-Walk for Pierogies visit hermescleveland.com/roadracing/events/runforthepierogies. You can also call me at 440-885-8091 or e-mail me at email@example.com for entry forms. For your entry fee of $25, you can either run or walk the full 5k or walk the 1-mile course. You also receive our signature t-shirt, as well as post-race drinks and snacks, including pierogies courtesy of Parma’s own Perla’s Pierogies. If this article was your inspiration, be sure to tell me that on the day of the event for a special gift. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2018!
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan