Ashlee’s Amazing Success

As we start off this training season, it is amazing to look back on the successes of the past training seasons.

Ashlee is one of our amazing success stories. She has lost over 110 lbs due to the Up and Running Again program. Ashlee has also run over 3 half marathons and is training to run her fourth.

I remember Ashlee during her first training runs at the OC Rescue Mission. As one of the coaches, I really wanted to see her complete this race. I knew the confidence she could attain by accomplishing this goal would spill over into other areas of her life. Ashlee ran each day with her son Bryson in a stroller. In order to make things easier for her, I would often push Bryson so that Ashlee could run unencumbered. These first few weeks were not easy. We were running very slow and I was not sure she would make it.

Needless to say she kept at it. She came out each day and missed very few training runs and on May 5th, 2013 she completed the half marathon. To quote her words, she was the biggest one, she was the slowest one and yet she crossed the finish line.

We are so proud of Ashlee and what she has accomplished. She has now graduated out of the program at the OC Rescue Mission. Ashlee works for a doctors office and has her own apartment with her son.

We look forward to telling many more stories like this one in October!

To see Ashlee’s interview after the first race, click the link.

Exciting week coming up!

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Today we completed an 11 mile training run and week thirteen of our program. It has been amazing to see how far these individuals have come since we started on July 8th. Many of them could not even run for the full five minutes in that first week. For others, they had no idea they were even going to train for a half marathon when the summer started. For example, we quickly organized a group in Placentia at the Solidarity Garnett site after some kids were interested in the program after attending a summer camp and hearing what we are doing.

This week before the race has some really exciting events on the horizon.

On of those events is when Up and Running Again will be given the opportunity as a charity partner to staff a booth at the Health and Fitness Expo in Long Beach. This will be a wonderful chance for us to share with 15,000 runners how they can get involved with our organization or possible share with us other groups that may be interested in starting a running club.

The Expo gives our runners a chance to experience another fun community event. They will complete their registration into the race by picking up their race bib. The race will become real and it will start to sink in all they have accomplished and how it can translate into additional life accomplishments.

The Expo also gives them a chance to see other races that are coming up and see what other kinds of medals they can earn. Once they gain the confidence to run one race the Expo shows them other races they can compete in. Of course it is always fun to try out all the free samples and check out all the cool running equipment.

What is your favorite race medal?

Nothing like a new pair of shoes

20130901-133117.jpg Week six and the runners are eligible for new shoes! As a part of our program, we will provide each runner that completes six weeks of training a new pair of shoes. It is our commitment to them for completing 20 training runs It is important now that they are running miles and not just minutes to have the proper footwear.

Besides the race, this is has such a large impact on our runners. For many of them, they have never had the opportunity to pick out their own pair of shoes. You should see the smiles on their faces. They get a chance to try on several pairs of shoes and select the pair that fits them the best. The sales associates will examine how they run and make modifications to the type of shoes to select.

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The thing we constantly need to remind our runners is that it isn’t how the shoes look but how they feel. You need to select the shoes that are going to feel good at mile 11 when you feet and legs hurt and not the shoes that look good at the starting line.

All of the runners are so appreciative of their shoes. They are amazed at this free gift we have given them. Up and Running Again is so thankful for your support and how you have provided us with the funds to buy these shoes for our runners. We also want to thank A Snails Pace for giving us a discount on the running shoes.

Just like each pair of running shoes is unique so are each of our runners. They are such amazing people to get to know, love on and train. God has blessed us in more in allowing us to work with them. We invite you to continue to partner with us by training with our runners, providing snacks, shoes and of course your hard earned finances. Please let us know if we can answer any questions.

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Six miles, no sweat, well actually lots of it.

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Great time this morning, but boy was it hot. We started running at 6:35 am from Hart Park for our six mile run. Once again it was really amazing to see all six groups and nearly 100 runners out training. This summer we have also started proving our runners with some nutrition training. We love the chance to not only help them get in shape but also educate them on eating healthy.

We have seen a record number of individuals lose weight through the training. At least three individuals have lost 20 lbs since they started running.

We have seen some minor injuries start to happen, however it was great to hear many of our runners say that they are not going to give up. They are going to finish the job.

We also had a fun situation where a runner from one group actually knew another runner from another organization.

All the runners are showing their dedication and complete focus on completing the goal.

Confidence to succeed

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IMG_7522A few days ago, I ran with a few runners who had a negative outlook on their training. They were not happy with how they felt (tired!), what place they finished and the new training route we took. It was definitely a glass half empty outlook on things.

As coaches for a half marathon, this is something that we often encounter. If these individuals are going to complete a half marathon, they need to change not only their physical bodies but their mental outlook as well.

One of the biggest benefits the half marathon training can provide is giving an individual a positive outlook on things. They gain the confidence to know they can get a job or go to college. The issues that they may be dealing might not be as big of a deal because they can run 13.1 miles. We have heard over and over from case managers that they notice something different on the days a participant trains for the marathon.

It is amazing to see the excitement on their faces as they cross the finish line and know that if they can complete this 13.1 race they can achieve other important things in their lives.