The journey of several WMHS employees as they get ready for a 5K!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WMHS Employees Continue to Run for the Health of It!

Before last years 5K  training course, WMHS employee Dennis Everett considered himself lucky to finish a quarter mile run. After weeks of training and handwork, Dennis finished first in his age group for the Great Allegany Run and was hooked on running. He has continued training and will be running a full marathon this Saturday! 

Below is what Dennis had to say about last year's course and his upcoming marathon. 

The 5K course was fun and informative, taking lessons learned in a classroom setting and applying them on the track. We started with walking, then jogging for a short time and repeating. As each week went by just a little more was added, eventually we were running a mile and further. The class began at the end of July, I ran my first 5K in August just to see if I could finish and did so in less time than expected, I was hooked. I placed first for my age group during the Great Allegany Run 5K. The faster runners were either running in the 15K at the same time or encouraging loved ones in the 5K. The post-race class included suggestions on how to continue so I kept on running.

I saw an invitation to join a beginners group to train for the inaugural Queen City Marathon. I thought this was a nice coincidence as it would be my first marathon and signed up. The training is 18 weeks with individual and group runs. A foot injury at the beginning of the year put running on hold for four weeks and left me with many doubts. With plenty of encouragement from fellow runners, I have been able to continue with the training. The longest runs of the training are done as the marathon is on March 29th. As I look forward in anticipation, I have to pause, 26.2 miles, eight months ago I was lucky to finish a quarter mile.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I have been neglecting my duty as  a blogger, but fortunately I haven’t neglected my running. Just to bring everyone up to speed, I did complete the GAR 5K this past October. My time was 25:59, which certainly isn’t a great time in the world of running, but I was pretty satisfied with it. I have ran in two more 5Ks since October. Both the runs were holiday themed with the Turkey Run in Westernport, MD on Thanksgiving Day and the Jingle Run in Fort Ashby, WV the week before Christmas. They were a lot of fun! In both cases my times were about a minute off of my GAR time. I wasn’t surprised since I had only been running about once to twice a week from October through the end of December, but at least I was still running.

During 2013, I learned a lot about running. I had a great coach (thank you Shauna McQuade!). Most importantly, I learned that once you attain a better level of fitness the base that you build actually continues to hang around. What a nice surprise!  The more you do the higher level of fitness you achieve. It just makes sense that fitness is good for you. I am becoming a believer!

My journey has been interesting. I started running in April 2013 and I have to tell you I could only run for about 2 minutes and I would  have to walk for a few minutes. Gradually, I was able to stretch the run for 3 minutes, 4 minutes and so on. Finally, one day I could actually complete a mile without stopping. Oh, what a happy day with that accomplishment! It is the little things isn’t it?

Roll the calendar forward to the end of the year and here is what I have accomplished. I have ran in three 5K races, finishing all of them somewhat respectably, and here is the statistic that I am most pleased with. From April  to the end of December, I have ran 239 miles and walked 42! Again, this isn’t really a lot of mileage for those who are really into running, but I am pleased. I literally have been pretty much sitting on the sideline and have been mostly inactive for a few decades. Yes, you heard it right, I have been not doing much in the arena of fitness for about 20 years other than intermittent splurges that I didn’t continue. Isn’t that sad?  I am not proud of it, but I have began to turn it around. I feel good and have lost some weight.  This stuff has to be good for you. 

What are you doing? For those of you sitting on the sideline, you can do this. It is a journey, so don’t expect a star performance when you start and yes, it will hurt, you will be sore, tired and you will want to stop, but don’t. Just start!  We have many programs at the Western Maryland Health System to help you improve your overall health and wellness status. Take advantage of them and get started.  Don’t let this be another year of resolutions that  are nonstarters.  No one can do this for you. Get started taking care of you! Good luck to you in the New Year as you strive to remake you! You’ve got this!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Congratulations, Runners!

A group of 50 WMHS employees, their family members and friends took the challenge of running for the health of it and participated in the Great Allegany Run on Saturday, October 5.
Remarkably, many of these runners had never participated in a 5K run before.  They went from “no way” to a successful race day by participating in a 12-week program taught by certified running coaches.  The weekly session took them step by step through the process of preparing for a 5K run.  Participants also had individual training plans tailored to their level of fitness developed for them by the coaches.
Excitement was high as the 37 members of the class did a “practice 5K” the week before the Great Allegany Run.  That didn’t compare to the thrill of actually meeting their goal of completing the 5K run on October 5.  Ten members of the WMHS team even took home awards for finishing in 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age categories.
The class was comprised of staff from throughout WMHS, many of whom did not know one another before this.  They developed a great camaraderie over the 12 weeks and were a great source of encouragement for each other.  They are now planning ahead to their next 5K event.  

There has been such interest in the class that another session is planned for the coming spring.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Come Saturday Morning

The best of times.....the worst of times...

I think we have all heard that expression. And it came to mind that this is what I am living through right now. The best of son has become engaged to a sweet and charming young woman that I already love like a daughter. They are getting married next August in Duluth MN where they both live and I could not be happier. David has started back to school and really likes his program. I got a great evaluation at work and am very excited and challenged with my upcoming projects. The worst of times...both my brothers have had unexpected cardiac events/issues. David, my husband, passed out face down at school and busted his face, his heart rate dropped to 36, and was taken by ambulance on a back board and cervical collar to the hospital. I set fire to the microwave and smoked the house and broke the washing machine. Since it was going to be $791 in damages we need a new one, so I have had to fit in trips to the laundromat until we can get a new one delivered. Saddest of all, my father in law passed away. I now have caught one of the worse colds of my life.

I have found it very difficult to stick with my eating plan and my exercise plan. During times like these, it is often hard to stay focused. My father-in-law's home is in Havre de Grace, MD, a quaint little town in the upper most part of Hartford County on the edge of the Susquehanna River.  It takes about 4.5 to 5 hours to make that trip from Cumberland, and I can't tell you how many times David and then David and I together made that trip recently. This is all not very conducive to healthy eating and exercising.

But this is life and so today I got up, got dressed and joined the rest of the 5K team this morning. And while a walk around the block was all I could manage today, Carey and I have plans Thursday for a practice run to get me ready for Saturday's GAR. I WILL NOT GIVE UP!!!

I cannot come this far and not do this race. So come on out next week and cheer us on!!!

Our class at our dress rehearsal for the GAR on September 28, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Poor Little Body

So yesterday I met up with Carey at our WOC gym after work. I decided that I would do some training on the elliptical. The treadmill can be a bit boring after a while. So I did 5 minutes on the elliptical. OMG!! What a very different experience. Then I finished my routine 20 minutes on the treadmill. I don't know what was up with me but I decided to run a little bit as well!!

Well let me tell you, today my poor little body is really talking to me. My upper arms and shoulders are killing me. Just typing this hurts. And my back isn't terribly happy with me either.  I have taken ibuprofen  but imagine rest is what is needed. After I feel the pain, though, I start to laugh because when I think that it was from exercising that I hurt, I find it funny. Before I did this program I NEVER in a million years imagined doing this. I am so glad that I decided to take this challenge. (Thank you, Kevin). Glad I work for a place that cares about their employee's health.

Anyway, I think I will rest; but tomorrow if the weather stays nice, Snoopy is in trouble and we will walk to McDonald's again!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I have been feeling like I really want to see if I could actually walk the 5K. After all, the big day is only 4 weeks or so away.  I have decided that I am not going to run even a part of the race. When I do run, my heart rate shoots up to almost 160 and that is just too fast. Plus, to be honest, it really tires me out. So a fast walk is about what I can do. So I met Carey after lecture over at AC. And off we went.

We did the first 2 miles on the big track, but as the sun set the bugs became pretty active. I even swallowed one! YUCK!!!   So for the last mile we did the inside quarter-mile track 4 times. I was so proud of my self. It took me 67.25 minutes to do it.  Given that when I stared it took me 36 minutes to do 1 mile, I am very happy with my progress.

Here is a picture of me and Carey when I finished!! - Jo Wilson

Monday, August 26, 2013

About Six Weeks...

I continue to make progress. Some days I feel pretty good and others not so much. I suppose running is like everything else in life…ups and downs. We have about 6 weeks to go until the GAR 5K. 

This week in class, Shauna plans to time us again for the mile and adjust training plans accordingly. I am curious to see how I do, but regardless of the time, I am satisfied that I am more comfortable running and can enjoy it a bit. As I understand the process, I am finishing up the building phase and starting the sharpening phase and then it will be on to taper and recovery. I recall some of this terminology when Nathan was swimming competitively. I guess the approach is the same. It is interesting how this works. 

Remember, my goal was to do this for me and hopefully create an opportunity for better health. I have lost about 7 or so pounds, and my blood pressure is very slowly starting to respond downward. So, I guess this activity stuff that we preach does actually lead to positive results. More to come since it is early in the process; but again, I am satisfied with how this is going. I hope everyone does well with their mile time this week - good luck to all!  Kevin