BIGGEST LOSER "7′ WEEK SIX — "I JUST FELT LIKE RUNNING"

This week the group’s challenge was to run/walk a 5K over at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s “Races for all Paces.” When they started six weeks ago, they had to do a mile as fast as possible as part of the fitness tests on their first day.

Each week, the goal was to add a little distance to the total, as well as trying to keep doing the mile a little bit quicker. By week four, they’d gone about 2 ½ miles during the Saturday morning workout, so they were all ready to tackle a 5K, which is 3.1 miles.

It also helped that on TV, the Biggest Losers final challenge was to do an entire marathon (26.1 miles). That left no room for any complaining since I was only asking them to do a 5K.

One of the participants was really a “sleeper.” Already running 5 miles a day, this is the gal I’ve written about some time ago. I’d see her out running, while pushing a baby carriage, along with 2 dogs. She’d joined Biggest Losers to support her husband John, and also to lose that “last little bit” after having her most recent little one.

I was running the half-marathon as a personal challenge, and to show the others I was willing to push myself too. My son Chris was running with me as a birthday present—left on his own, he can just blaze through the 13.1 miles—but he was willing to slow it up that day for me.

So it seemed fitting to encourage Bessie to do the half-marathon as well, since she’s an amazing runner anyway. She tore it up, too, finishing a half hour ahead of me (which I fully expected). I’m pretty sure that won’t be her last one.

We started at 7:00 am, and the 5K started at 8:00. I’d told them that they’d still all finish before me, because even if you walk the 5K at a comfortable pace, it takes about 60 minutes. Since they’d be pushing a little bit, many of them finished closer to 35-40 minutes.

On my best day, I’m between 2:10-2:15 for a ½ marathon. This wasn’t that day. The wind was crazy, and I think I was still down a bit from that bug that hit everybody a month or so ago. Still, at 2:23, it was great to see all those Biggest Losers in their white “Races for all Paces” t-shirts standing there cheering and waiting for the old man to finally lumber across the finish line.

I was proud of everyone that went and tried, especially the ones with knee issues. They just go to show that you can do what you want to do. Another couple did the one mile family event with their daughter and baby carriage. They’ve had a difficult week dealing with a death in the family and health issues, but they were still out there doing it.

That’s what I’m talking about. You set a goal. You find a way. You get started, and you keep going, even when things get tough. We used to do this instinctively, but somewhere along the line, something happened. Now, people have a tough time even setting goals.

We’ve gotten lazy somehow. Or maybe, we’ve just lost our belief. We’ve got to get back to the point where striving for something is important. Because when we’re in that place, that’s where we learn who we are and what we’re made of. That’s where we’ll find ourselves—or who we want to be.

It’s where character is made. Even failures are of benefit there. I wasn’t crazy about the 2:23 finish, because I know I can do better. But it is what it is and it was the best I could do that day. At least I was doing something. I was trying—striving—and they were too. That’s why I was so proud of them. That’s why we’ll keep turning up the heat, to show them what they’re made of, and what they can accomplish.

That’s also why their next challenge is to do the 2009 C.A.M.A. Teen “Tour de Park Edgar & Clark 2009 Bike Rally” on June 6th. They’ll have to find a bike and do one of the rides: 7, 25, 40 or 70 miles. Since my cutie-pie did the 7 mile ride last year at the age of seven, they’ve got no excuses.

Hopefully, a lot of them will try the 25 mile ride. I’ll probably end up shooting for the 40 mile ride, but that 70 miler looks pretty intriguing. Now that’s something I’ve never done. If I can find someone to ride with, it might give us both something to strive for.

This week’s winner was Vince Porter, who lost 2.0% of his body weight and 5.1 lbs. Vince has been doing very well so far, losing 30.0 lbs in the first six weeks. That’s five pounds a week! Vince will receive a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place was a tie between Penny Spinner and Nicole Richardson. Penny is a dedicated runner who loves a challenge, running two half-marathons back to back two weeks ago. First the Indy Mini on Saturday, and then another in Ohio on Sunday! She lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs, and is down 12.2 lbs in the first six weeks.

Nicole likes bike riding better, and is looking forward to the C.A.M.A. bike rally. She also lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs, and is down a total of 16.8 lbs so far.

Next week we’ll teach the Biggest Losers another free weight routine. Right now, I’ve got to go get a workout in. My wife has weeded all around the garden and there’s a huge pile of mulch waiting with my name on it. It’s all that’s left after our 100-year Oak fell during the storm last summer. In a couple of hours, it’ll be in the garden. Hmm, I wonder if I can beat that 2:23 time.

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