An inspiring story from YWCA Club W member Jennifer S. Rennicks:
A decade of grad school + kids + working long hours had continuously supplied me with the ‘I don’t have time to take care of myself’ excuse. It was convenient but not helpful for my long term health. In my 39th year I decided it was past time to get in shape and committed myself to a year’s membership at a gym.
Which gym? I never really looked around because I’d long known about the YWCA’s commitment to community and sustainability, the solar panels helped seal the deal for me.
My early weeks were hesitant: I’d never made exercise a routine and wasn’t familiar with any of the equipment. Trial and error – plus two in-depth orientations – helped me establish my own routine and learn to enjoy the ‘Me Hour’ as 8am to 9am soon became.
After a few months of watching people on the treadmill from my predictable spot on an elliptical, I found myself curious to try running.
That may sound strange – who tries running? What was even stranger was that I’d had the thought in the first place. Other than forced miles in PE class, I had successfully avoided running unless I was forced to dash across an airport for a connecting flight. Those less-than-enjoyable experiences reaffirmed my sentiment that running was painful and to be avoided at all costs.
And yet there I was – watching runners on treadmills. My first try lasted only a few mins and I never came close to the runners high I’d heard my more athletic friends talking about. But over the next few months, I found myself running a little more each week until I could comfortably jog a slow pace for 20 mins or so.
I was reveling in this new-found fitness when my children rocked my world. They were signing up for Girls on the Run – a school based fitness and running program – and they wanted me to be their running buddy for the celebratory 5k race at the end of the semester. Me? Run a race? With only 3 months to train?
I threw myself into training alongside them but worried a bit on the side. They had vim and vigor; I had sore knees and a trick ankle from a fall in college. They had the never-ending energy of youth; I had late nights with my laptop.
Come December, the three of us ran and walked together for 3.2 miles in about 40 minutes and the race was over for us before we knew it. ‘Was that it?’ they asked surprised with race medals around their necks. I was even more surprised – the handful of Motrin and preemptive knee brace were unnecessary – I felt full of energy and excited to go again.
We’ve raced together since and plan to keep doing 5k races as a fun way to stay in shape and spend quality time together. And my 1 year gym membership? The financial commitment I worried about lest it proved to be a waste of money? It’s now a permanent monthly budget item because working out at least 3 or 4 times a week keeps me balanced and relaxed. In fact, my husband wouldn’t hear of me dropping it to save a few dollars by sweetly reminding me that I’m actually a more pleasant person with the YWCA’s Club W in my life!