Runnin’ down a Dream

I am not in shape. At all. A lot of people ask how much I work out or what my diet is because of how little I am, but here is the secret: I have been blessed with an amazing metabolism. I decided that one of my adventures this summer would have to be to jump start a potential workout program for me, not for weight purposes, but more to be in shape. To do this, I enlisted the help of three  Union Countians who happen to be pretty decent cross country runners.

The week leading up to the workout, I joked with my friends at the New Albany Sportsplex that I should have to sign a release saying no one can be held responsible if I roll over and die after a half mile. I think they seriously considered it.

In preparation for this adventure, I finally saw what the gym at my apartment complex looks like. I jogged a mile non-stop (so proud of myself) then biked about three miles before walking another mile. After this, I thought I was on top of my game and prepared for running on Tuesday.

I was so wrong.

Rain, rain go away

This was once again another early adventure for me, as I pulled up at Kitchens’ Field at 7 a.m. to meet with my three runners. East Union’s Stephanie Dillard and Austin Epting and Myrtle’s Beth Goolsby each ran cross country at their respective schools and will be teammates at Blue Mountain College starting in the fall. All have been running for several years and have picked up numerous accolades, including a team state championship for Goolsby, two individual state titles for Epting and each have been selected as All-State runners during their high school careers.

As we begin to talk about the workout routine, a heavy rain falls, and our plans are briefly halted as we stand under cover at the concession stand. Around 7:30, we make our way to the track to begin the workout.

Now these three have a certain schedule they have to go by, including how much and what to run daily, as well as their weight lifting routine. It may seem easy, but I would love to see anyone try to tackle what they do.

I am told that the workout  would start with a one mile jog around the track, followed by stretches. Next would be three or four miles of running broken into 800 meter (two laps) and 400 meter (one lap) runs. The workout would end with a “cool down,” jog of one more mile.

Talking with the group throughout the workout, all have similar reasons for wanting to run cross country. For the ladies, it was a way to keep in shape for their other sports, as Dillard also played basketball and softball for the Lady Urchins, while Goolsby was a member of the Lady Hawks’ basketball squad. Epting is in the same boat as he also played baseball at East Union.

“We did this as a way to stay in shape for other sports, but it’s kind of stuck and it’s fun,” Goolsby said.

“You have to be organized,” Dillard added. “We have a list of things we have to complete each week, and it’s going to be tougher in college.”

Epting is one of the most prolific runners to come from Union County, so I had to ask what keeps him motivated and focused during a race.

“Determination, passion and wanting to win,” Epting said. “When I run, I think about everything. I’m already a random person, so I think about what I’ll do after the race, what I just finished eating, maybe a song playing in my head, or quoting scripture. Anything pops up randomly when I run.”

Listening to them talk about running and their different routines helped get me ready for what I was about to experience.

Hitting the Pavement

I decided after my stellar Sunday workout that I could possibly handle jogging the mile at the beginning and end. As we started running, I realized quickly that jogging on a track is a lot harder than on the treadmill.

Honestly, I could not complete the full mile warm-up like I had hoped to, and with another storm passing through, we were not able to jog the cool-down at the end of the workout. However, it was amazing to see the times the trio were turning out through each of their runs. Epting’s first 800 was completed in about 2:30. As for the ladies, they had times around 3-3:30 minutes.

Watching these three run throughout the morning, I had newfound respect for what they do day in and day out. Even though I really did not contribute to this workout like I have in my previous stories, this was more of a learning experience for me, as I hope to develop and maintain a workout schedule in order to live a more healthy life, ‘cause let’s face it, my metabolism is sure to slow down any day now.

Special thanks to my three runners, who are sure to make an impact on Blue Mountain’s squad next season.

About Chris Elkins

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