Housekeeping: Forecasters say thunderstorms may start rolling in today (Thursday) right around the lunch hour. Check the radar before you head out for our Downtown Walkers outing. I know I've said rain or shine, but, well, nobody wants to go back to work looking like a drowned rat. If the rain can hold off just a bit, I'll see you at 12:15 p.m. behind Spaghetti Warehouse!


Today's guest blogger is our BLB teammate Carolyn Politano, writing on that pivotal moment when she became a runner instead of a walker. Carolyn shared a video after her first run on our Blue Line Beginners Facebook page, so hopefully many of you have seen it. At my request, she graciously agreed to share more of her story and submitted this eloquent account of her experience:

"For years I've had dreams that I was running. Running for fun. Running for exercise. Running in a marathon. The dreams always felt so amazingly real, and while they were occurring I remember thinking, "Wow, this isn't so hard after all!"  I would tell people about these dreams and they would laugh, which always annoyed me. Did they think that I couldn't do it? Ultimately though, I didn't think that I could or would do it. Then a series of events occurred though that helped me believe in myself:

 After telling him of my recurring dreams, my amazing City of Akron coworker Paul Couch offered to run in the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon's half marathon with me in September. I told a beautiful lady that I'll call my guardian angel, Antoinette, about running in the half marathon and she told me about a book called "Running With Curves" that helped me realize I could indeed run. (Before she told me about this book, I really thought that only thin people could start running!) Finally, inspired by my dear friend Kris and amazing sister Jeanne - who had both done the program and have had great success - I joined Weight Watchers April 1st and have lost 13 pounds (and counting).

Coincidentally that was the day that my friend Darletta called me and told me about the Akron Marathon Blue Line Beginners Group. Suddenly, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do it. I went to the first group outing at Firestone Metro Park and I knew that I was in the presence of a group of people with whom I belonged.

I walked for a couple of weeks on my lunch break with my friend Liz and then decided this past Saturday that it was time to start running. I went down to Second Sole in the Merriman Valley and got my very first pair of running shoes along with running socks (which was something that I never even knew existed)! With a plan to start running this past Monday, I laid my running clothes out on Sunday night, along with the socks and shoes right next to them. I rose bright and early at 6 a.m. the next morning and headed to the East High School track.

I chose that location because, to be quite honest, I'm not confident enough yet to run around my neighborhood or in one of the metro parks. So I walked onto the track, picked up my speed, and started running. Suddenly, there were a million questions going through my head. Is my posture ok? Is this how I'm supposed to hold my hands? Are my feet hitting the track correctly? Why in the heck didn't I wear gloves?!  Above all though, the thought that stood out in my head was "Wow, this is really happening, I'm really running!"  I did a lot better than I thought that I would.  I was 99.9% sure that I'd never be able to do each of the running increments for the full 30 seconds, but lo and behold, I succeeded!

Afterwards, when I climbed into my car, I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment and knew that I would continue going back each day, and be ready by September for the half marathon, and possibly even that 8k in June. When I got home, after I showered and started getting ready for work, the tears came. I REALLY JUST RAN! I thought of my mom and dad, who have both passed on, and wished that they were here to witness this transformation. But I somehow knew in my heart that they're aware."

- Carolyn

Images from Carolyn's post-run video.