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Our ValpoLife Story: Finishing a Couch to 5K with Help from the Porter County Parks

My husband and I are fat. Not Biggest Loser FAT fat, but "Gee, french fries AGAIN this week?" fat. He'd like to drop fifty but I think he's sexy, I have thirty to drop after two kidlets but I still think I'm sexy. In clothes. Winter clothes. Like a winter coat etc...but I digress. As we sat on the couch patting our jiggly bits last March we decided instead of spending dough on each other for our fourth wedding anniversary we would look into something I saw in the newspaper.

It was a "Couch to 5K" eight week training course for $40 including race entry fee. Amy Hartz, (looks a bit like Angelina Jolie) was organizing it and running the class. We would meet once a week as a group to run and she would gives us homework to run three more times during the week. The end goal was for us to finish a 5K (3.1 miles) injury free, and hopefully keep right on going after that. So instead of tangible gifts this year, the Hubs and I entered the class and began to run to be healthier for each other. We began to run to lose weight. We began to run to turn the TV off more often. We began to run because we sure aren't making it to the YMCA much.

We had our Saturday morning group runs at Sunset Hill Farm Park. John and I ran together at Taltree, through our downtown neighborhood, through Ogden Gardens and on the YMCA treadmill. I trotted through Rogers Lakewood Park and the final race today was at the gorgeous Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve.

Since we only moved to Valparaiso from South Bend, Indiana a year ago you can see just this simple class gave us a nice tour of Valparaiso! We ran diligently throughout the two month training period, getting stronger, faster and more confident in our ability. After doing about ten other 5K in which I ALWAYS walked A LOT of it, my only goal was to not walk during the official 5K run. I am very pleased to say I ran all of it. The hills, the mud, the sand and the longest last mile ever.


Our coach Amy Hartz was so enthusiastic and encouraging she really made the difference. I'd run 5Ks before but never with someone knowledgable helping me along. I was usually last by several minutes during our group runs but she was always there encouraging me. For someone who probably runs ten miles on a short run day, she never made me feel lame or fat and slow even when I knew I was. (You could speed walk faster than my running pace.) John and I were encouraged and slowly challenged without injury enough that we are looking for our next race to sign up for to keep us motivated. And get rid of the fat. And be happier, healthier and yup: sexier!

For anyone who wants to try this themselves, there are TONS of runs in any given month. Calumet Region Striders seems like a strong group, we haven't joined but it would be good to check them out: and here is a race schedule for upcoming races:

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