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Updated: 11/14/2013 08:00:00AM
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Journal publisher Barb Sheasley heads for the finish line.

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If I have not motivated you to get off the couch, listen up. To all you couch potatoes with your excuses not to exercise, I say “if I can do it, you can, too.”

I have been working on my running for 16 months. The Sebring Chamber of Commerce race was held Oct. 19 at Highlands Hammock State Park. My time of 38:16 was more than my prior best by almost a minute. I was thinking, “where did I lose a minute?”

A younger women approached me after the race. She had been following me for the first mile and a half. Then she dropped back and came in five minutes behind me. I asked how long she had been running; she said three years.

She introduced herself and explained why she started running in the first place. She said a doctor’s visit revealed she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and she was almost 200 pounds overweight. Then he delivered news that would change her life. The doctor said she would not see her 10-year-old son graduate high school in her then-current condition. Even three years later she gets choked up telling her story.

She sent me a Facebook message recently to say she won her age group in a 5K last weekend. She is an inspiration to all of us.

Ken and I went to the Naples Crab Fest last week to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. I ran my first 8K (4.97 miles) race that Sunday. Usually the water station is located at the half way point. As I approached the water station I was feeling good. I ran awhile longer thinking this is not going to be too bad. Then I passed a sign for the two-mile mark. I yelled to one of the traffic volunteers and asked where I was in the race. He confirmed I was, indeed, at the two-mile mark. It was then that I knew I had a long way to go.

Before I made it to the actual halfway point, faster runners were coming back passing me. I like not knowing. I finished at a slow pace of one hour, four minutes.

One family stood out at the 8K race. A mother, father, 7-year-old daughter, and a 10-year-old son arrived in bright yellow shirts with their family name printed on the front. They did not look like athletes. The parents were carrying 200 pounds each over a healthy weight. The children were also heavy but very excited to be there. At the starting line they chanted, “we will finish the race.” When I arrived at the finish line I only saw the mother standing, staring at the finish line. The race organizer was giving out prizes to the top finishers.

At one hour and 30 minutes, the father with his two children were coming towards the finish line. The race organizer stopped and announced their pending arrival. Everyone in the crowd applauded and yelled to welcome them across the finish line. The smiles on their faces told the whole story of what they had accomplished.

Some of us are slow but we finish the race and in the process make ourselves healthier. Come join us.