Claremore Daily Progress

Columnists

March 28, 2011

Family fun, fitness and friendship: Running is all that and a bag of pretzels with chocolate milk

CLAREMORE — I admit it.

I love running, and I’m willing to wear all manner of weird get-ups and costumes to do it.

Fitness became a fad in my... ahem... YOUNGER DAYS ... when jogging was all the rage. Back then, I wasn’t interested. I liked parties and dancing and nights out with my friends.

Run? Without chasing a ball? Without even being on hardwood or dirt diamonds?

Hmph.

If I was going to work up a sweat, it was going to be on a lounge chair poolside soaking up some rays. (Oh, how times and the desire to avoid skin that looks like old leather, have changed.)

I found running and other related fitness fun—cycling and swimming (put them together for a triathlon)— later in life than most folks, but once I made it through those first few pain-filled miles, it was an instant love affair.

In those early days everything hurt. Feet, ankles, calves, thighs... muscles I’d long since forgotten awakened and groaned against me, joints creaking as I pushed my way, walking and running, to that first mile and then three miles.

It got easier after that.

I learned the difference between a little muscle soreness and an injury requiring rest. I learned how to be patient and pace myself. I learned never, ever to give up but to move forward with intelligence, body awareness and common sense.

And that’s when the running really got FUN.

Kenna Barkley of Owasso started running with the Rogers County No Boundaries program to take a little weight off and get in shape. She became a role model for her whole family and has dressed as a sandwich (the kids were the lettuce and bacon she and her husband the bread) for a run.

Renie Doherty of Collinsville has regained the lithe shape of her teen years.

Both have become my friends through running.

Running is family affair.

The Mayes family of Claremore is a family of runners. Nicole Mayes Willis and husband Andrew Willis of Owasso not only run but put on the Annual Haley Palmer Run to Breathe 5K to benefit Cystic Fibrosis.

Clay Mayes III (fondly known as “Mud” to his sister) recently won the St. Patrick’s 5K in Tulsa to benefit Special Olympics. His mother Nancy Mayes was also there, dad Clay, Jr. is more of a cyclist but volunteers at the Haley Palmer 5K.

Several members of the Mayes family traveled to do the Disney World marathon together and most are talented athletes.

Andy Hogan and Ray Love have become running buddies and competitors forming a life-long bond. Ray’s nephew, Kipp Love runs as does Kipp’s daughter. Andy’s daughter Sherri (Hogan) Duke also runs as does her son, Michael Duke, age 15, and the 5th finisher overall.

You don’t have to be rich to run.

Invest in a good pair of running shoes but don’t think you have to buy fancy foods and beverages to fuel your exercise. Peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, gummy bears, watered down fruit juice or drink packs are all you really need, and reduced fat chocolate milk has the right combination of protein and carbs to refuel your body after a run, swim, or ride the experts say.

If you can afford the fancy gadgets and outfits and want to, go for it. Otherwise, keep it simple and keep it fun.

The family that plays together stays together and children will follow the role model set by parents when encouraged to turn off the technological gadgets and read a book, see a play produced by the community theater or run. If that run involves costumes or mud, so much the better.

Mud runs are the latest in family fun but you don’t have to be young to enjoy them.

I’ve witnessed grown men in wigs and tutus going down the mud covered slip and slide at the mud run in Pryor. I loved it so much I went though twice (having already completed the 5K that proceeded it), yelling, “Cowabunga!” as I leapt onto the downhill slip and slide.

These days, I’m not as cool as the girl of my youth in shades, sitting poolside.

Funny though, I’m having a heck of a lot more fun. 

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