I'm sure those of you who come out to our Saturday group runs have seen her with a camera strapped around her neck. Now learn more about Karen Schiely, our embedded Akron Beacon Journal photographer who will not only be recording our journey all spring and summer, but will be entering her first-ever organized races just like most of the rest of us!

Iím a little late getting into this, but here I am running/walking in the rain with these very positive and upbeat Blue Line Beginners. Which is very encouraging because running in the rain is NOT fun.

Running with people is an entirely difference experience for me. The only time I run is when my dogs make me run. Particularly, I'm talking about my dog Wilbur, who is not a typical laid-back-takes-a-day-to-muster-up-the-energy-to-bark-once Basset Hound. He runs. No, he bolts. After squirrels. So needless to say, I do a great deal of daily sprint training. I wish I could take him on the half marathon with me because he could do it. His normal trot is faster than my sad, slow jog. But Iím sure the marathon would think it cheating if I had friends unleash a few dozen squirrels near the finish line. Seriously, squirrels could use a job other than harassing poor Wilbur as he sits at the front window.

Iím surprised at what an overall positive experience it is running with other beginning runners. Especially the interval walking/running. I was a fairly consistent cyclist several years ago but I got away from it and found myself pretty sedentary. My 51-year-old body now wants to know what the heck is going on with this running thing so the walking/running training is helping me ease back into activity and hopefully the aches and pains will ease too. I hope.

Cross-training with cycling and swimming definitely takes some of the impact off of my knees. I canít really afford a gym membership (I have four aging dogs, an aging car, an aging house and, well, an aging me) so I train on my road bike from my cycling days, set up on a trainer and listen to a spinning app. Iíve also been throwing in some swimming sessions at the Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls. I am not a member but they charge an $11 non-resident fee for a guest pass so I only swim occasionally. Still, itís nice to do something different.

I also plan on participating in some organized bike rides this summer. A good source to find organized rides is: https://ohio.bike/bicycle-touring-events.

Anyway, Iím looking forward to a fun and active summer!

- Karen