How I Got Started Running By: Connie Quimby
It all started with a biggest loser contest at work. I began walking during my lunch break, and became very good friends with a co-worker that walked with me. One of the engineers that I worked with suggested that my friend Jeannie and I could walk the Knoxville Covenant Health Half Marathon, so we decided we would give it a try. We started following the Knoxville Track Club training program in 2009, which met early on Saturday mornings at different locations. One Saturday morning the group was meeting at Fleet Feet in Farragut. It was 7 degrees outside so we dressed very warmly in our thermal underwear jeans, sweatshirts and big heavy coats with gloves and hats to keep us warm. After completing our walking distance, we had our feet analyzed at Fleet Feet and were looking at the women’s running apparel. A very kind woman, who worked at Fleet Feet, came over to assist us and told us that we needed to make sure that this type of clothing was right for us before purchasing from the store. She told us to go to Target and buy Champion running apparel to get us through our training. It was very apparent that she knew we were new to this; we also let her know that we did not run we were walkers.
After a few weeks went by, we decided it was time to get the proper shoes to support our feet. I decided that I wanted to get my shoes at Fleet Feet because of the honesty that I was shown from that nice woman that sent us to Target to buy clothes. While at Fleet Feet getting our new “walking” shoes there was a girl there all excited about signing up for the No Boundaries 5k Training program to lose weight. My friend Jeannie got all excited and started trying to get me to go and sign up for the program with her. I told her that I could not run and instead of paying to do this program at that time I would find a couch to 5K training online and we would do it instead.
So, in September of 2009 I found the training online and we started training. Well, we apparently were not dedicated enough, because we would always find reasons that we could not run and our training was not consistent. When we felt any discomfort we did not run, if it was difficult in any way we would walk. By November, we were still walkers and had quit trying to run because it was uncomfortable for me to run. In January, my friend Jeannie brought me this No Boundaries Training Program form that she had picked up from Fleet Feet when we bought our shoes. Jeannie asked me again sign up for this with her. My thoughts were: “Well, I can’t run but I will sign up to do the program with her because she would not do it by herself.”
We signed up for the No Boundaries program in February of 2010 and I was thinking, “I am not a runner I will not be able to do this”. It was probably the second week of the program when I began to have problems with my right ankle hurting. So I wore an old ankles brace that I had when I sprained my ankle in early 2009. While trying to keep up with my friend that Tuesday night, my No Boundaries coach asked about my limp. I told her my ankle was hurting and she asked me to walk back instead of limping and hurting myself more. So, I walked and told myself that I would never be able to run. I continued the program with my friend with a lot of aches and pains. My shins began to hurt. I met with the physical therapist that comes to the store once a month from Results Physiotherapy, Bill Pendergrass. Bill gave me stretches to do which helped to ease the discomforts I was having. Then, I started get cramps in my calves while I was running and would have to stop and walk.
Eventually, I got past all of the aches and pains and graduated the program by completing my first 5k! I learned in the No Boundaries program that it is all about training your body to do what you want it to do and that proper running form, among other things such as proper hydration and nutrition is so important. I also found that running is a great stress reliever, which helped me to overcome some very difficult storms in my life. Running helps me feel good and my Fleet Feet running buddies are like a big family. Everyone is so encouraging and loves helping each other achieve their goals. This experience was all so new to me; I had never felt that type of care and encouragement in my life. So, I continued to try and run after completing the graduation 5k by signing up for the half marathon training. Since that first No Boundaries program I completed in early 2010, I have completed 12 Half marathons, 2 Full Marathons, numerous 5k’s…and now I am coaching for the No Boundaries Program and have made more friends that are like Family than I have ever had in my life…