Housekeeping: The weekly group meetup will again be 9 a.m. Saturday at Firestone Metro Park's Warner Road parking lot. We will move our meetup to a new location next week, so keep watching the blog for details!

Todays guest blogger is BLB teammate Leslie Meadows, who attended Wednesday's Akron Marathon community meeting aimed at brand new runners. Here's her report:


So now that youve started, this running thing is harder than you thought, right? Oh wait, thats about me. Im Leslie, a 50-something-year-old Akron woman in fairly good shape; I really thought when I joined this group that I would jump right in, no problem. But like all worthwhile endeavors, the following things seem to apply:

Thing 1: The people who do it well make it look easy.

Thing 2: When you start to dig below the surface of the desired activity, its really HARD and thats why NOT EVERYONE does it!!

At this point Im not exactly discouraged but dont feel super encouraged either about my progress. In spite of that, I did attend the Akron Marathon Tip Meeting at Acme in Green tonight, and now my juices are flowing!

The list of speakers was impressive and included:
Anne Bitong, Executive Director, Akron Marathon Race Series
Paul Hammond, Associate Athletics Director, University of Akron
Scott Barbone, Athletic Trainer, Manager of Summa Health Sports Medicine and the Medical Co-chair for the Akron Marathon Race Series
Laura McElrath, Operations Director, Akron Marathon Race Series
Vince Rucci, Owner, Vertical Runner
Brenda Runion, Coach, Northeast Ohio Fit
Carrie Washnock, Director of Runner Services, Akron Marathon Race Series

I came away from the meeting SO INSPIRED and anxious to be a part of this culture! Lots and lots of good tips shared tonight; heres a list of my takeaways:

1. Runners and the running culture are an encouraging group.

2. The Akron Marathon is special for 3 big reasons: Its a safe, secure route, its clean and it is super organized. I did learn, however that its kind of hilly, so be prepared!

3. Competition can help you stay motivated (thats with yourself or others). My current take on this is run to the next mailbox!

4. Use positive self-talk to keep yourself pumped up.

5. Cross-training and rest are both super important to build a good base.

6. Building hip strength, stretching and gradually adding mileage are important to help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis, runners knee and issues with the IT band.

7. Two running apps suggested tonight: Runkeeper and the Nike Running app.

Vince, owner of Vertical Fitness and runner of 84 marathons or ultra marathons (WOW!), encouraged us to figure out how running carves itself into our lives. It will be different for each one of us, but the fact that running incorporates fitness, friendship and can be done right outside our front door makes it a very fun sport.

Brenda, from Northeast Ohio Fit reminded us that a supportive group makes a world of difference and that sure seems to be what weve got going with our Blue Line Beginners Group!

At the end of this meeting, I actually felt like I could do this and you can too! See you on the trail Saturday morning!

- Leslie