People who want to make exercise a habit often find that buddying up with friends increases their odds of success. That’s one of the reasons Sally Begue, gift shop supervisor, and Penny Westfall, patient accounting, decided to get social. The 2 friends teamed up together to join the Blue Line Beginners, a free Akron-area club of walkers/runners.
Now, weeks later, they’re training for the first race in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series: National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile on June 30.
“My brother and sister-in-law joined Blue Line Beginners last year after an Akron Beacon Journal reporter put a team together,” Sally said. “They had a lot of fun and said the club organizers gave them plenty of information and support to help them walk or run the race series in the Akron Marathon.”
When Sally asked Penny to join Blue Line Beginners, Penny jumped at the chance.
“I wanted to be more active, but had a hard time finding an exercise class that worked in my schedule,” Penny said. “It was hard to stay on track without an exercise buddy to keep me committed and accountable.”
On a cold Saturday in March, Sally and Penny, along with 110 others, attended the Blue Line Beginners kick-off meeting to learn what they would be doing for the next 6 months to prepare for the 3 races in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. They received a training schedule to follow and got advice on how to build endurance and avoid injuries.
Neither Sally nor Penny exercised regularly then, but they do now. Most Saturdays, they meet other Blue Line Beginners at different parks in Akron to train. During the week, the 2 women meet to walk during work breaks or train on their own after work. They’re also strength training or adding cross-training activities to their normal walking routine.
Penny joined a gym and began working out with weights regularly, which is new to her.
“I was busy raising 3 kids and had no time for anything else,” she said. “I’m taking time for myself now and trying to become healthier.”
Sometimes, regular exercise is tough. Other times, Sally and Penny notice aches and pains that weren’t there before. But both are determined to leave their sedentary ways behind. The encouragement from Blue Line club members helps. So does setting specific goals.
Besides increased endurance, Penny has made an effort to drink more water and stay hydrated, which she didn’t do before.
For Sally, her goals are physical and personal. She is quickening her pace and noticing more energy as the weight and inches drop off. She is also walking to memorialize her mom, who died recently.
“My mother passed away in March and at the end, she couldn’t walk,” Sally said. “I’m training now and I’ll be walking for my mom.”
Interested in running, volunteering or cheering on the participants in the 2018 Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series? Visit akronmarathon.org.