Norma's Success Story



Give Running a Chance

People talk about the runner’s high. That sounds good, right? “I want to feel that,” I said.

I’ve spent half my life trying to do a little bit of running. I never wanted to run a marathon or any grandiose thing like that, but I did want to be able to run a little bit. Just something to mix in with my other fitness activities, to spice it up from time to time.

I tried lots of things over the years. I tried doing my own thing, reading and trying to follow running training programs. I tried Couch to 5K. Several times. I’d always end up injured and just not liking it. Then I’d try again. And fail again. Runner’s high? Meh. More like runner’s low.

I finally determined that Other people are runners. I’m not those people.

I put it out of my mind.

Then I joined Artemis, in August almost two years ago. Now, THIS is my kind of workout! Fitness for living. Challenging strength circuit training mixed with cardio (mostly strength -- my favorite thing), no fancy footwork, individualized for your fitness level and well supervised, and kept interesting by weekly changes in the workout, all in a small, clean, well outfitted facility, surrounded by women who are friendly, smart, fun to be around, and encouraging.

I got stronger and leaner and fitter. And stronger. I once hurt my shoulder while on vacation, and had bouts of terrible tendinitis from my work. Whenever I was injured and came back to work out, the staff at Artemis helped me to modify my workouts so that I could get healed before moving on again. And then I got even stronger. And leaner and fitter.

Last summer, they ran a running program. I signed up, but I didn’t expect much. The running program was intended to culminate in running a 5K or 10K race in late August.

The running coaches Artemis enlisted were everything you’d wish for: They were well qualified, experienced, encouraging and non-intimidating. They taught us about pacing, and they would stay with the slowest runner to make sure everyone was safe. We battled everything from torrential rains to searing heat during our training runs, and we never pushed it too hard.

The experience was life-changing, really, for me. Right from the first night, I learned techniques for a dynamic warmup that changed my running life. And then, little by little, I built up my endurance and distance. Still, during the entire season, I kept repeating to myself and anyone who would listen, “But, you know, I won’t be doing the actual race.” Even up until the night before the race, I secretly intended to not show up. We never even ran an entire 5K in the training! We did run-walk intervals only. I still didn’t know for sure if I could run an entire 5K without stopping. I truly did not believe I could.

But then the morning of the race, I got up and drove to the race site. My goal that day was simply to keep running if I could. And except for about 30 seconds at the halfway point, I did exactly that! The coaches stayed right with us in the race, pacing, educating, and encouraging us the whole way.

Now it is almost seven months later. I have run five more 5Ks, and am well on my way to meeting my current goal of running 12 5K races in 12 months. I’ve got a relay team to run in the Vermont City Marathon in May, and my new goal is to run my first 10K race on the one-year anniversary of my very first 5K. (Uh-oh, did I say that out loud?)

Artemis delivers such a beneficial program. Their philosophy of fitness for living is ideal. The program is not time-consuming -- it packs a lot of punch in a short period of your day or week, and delivers the best results I’ve ever seen in any program I have tried.

Specifically with regard to running, the Artemis philosophy is: You’ve got to be strong to run, not the other way around. I believe I am living proof of that.

In fact, I don’t even train for running anymore. I go to classes and personal training sessions at Artemis (about 2-4 per week), and I try (but don’t usually succeed) to run one day a week. And then I go and run my little 5K races. I never thought I’d see the day I’d say, “It’s only a 5K,” but that’s exactly what I say now before every race. I’m still not sure I’ve experienced that elusive runner’s high, but now I really do enjoy running.

I plan to join the Artemis 10K running group this spring, though, to get ready for my anniversary 10K. It’s not ONLY a 10K.


--- P.S. I’ll be celebrating my 55th birthday this coming July. Come celebrate (and work out) with me.