Running for Life

Running has been a catalyst for me, most of my adult life. Running has taught me to set goals, be flexible and to put things in perspective. Thankfully, running has always surrounded me with people I love.  As the new year approaches and I reflect on not just 2015 but how today came to be.

I’m one of six kids and grew up in a military home. Mom stayed home and was busy raising us, dad sailed the seven seas in a submarine. When he was home, our stern dad expected us to stay quiet, use as little water as possible when showering and dinner was always served at 5:00. I started running about the time he retired and started teaching. Running gave me a voice and the confidence to finally make some of my own decisions. Dinner was still served at 5, and by the time I was a senior and running more, there was a little more flexibility in our schedule. In fact, I started missing some evening dinners while working at this new store called Track Shack; I rode by bike there after practice a couple times a week.
My lifelong friends I met through running. I continue special relationships with a teammate from high school as well as my college roommates. 

Oh yes, I met my best friend running too, you know him as Jon. We married young, I was just out of college; all our running friends came to the wedding and then off we went to watch the state track meet. We always thought running was a normal way of life. I was running with Emma in the jogger when she was six weeks old. It was years later she let us know that her home life was different than her friends. Oh well…must have been a good different because last October she and her husband ran their first marathon!

Natalie and Tom started working with us at Track Shack almost 30 years ago. Both of them met their spouses through running and all of us have logged many many miles together through training and various marathons. Running gives you an incredible work ethic and these two have worked at least as hard as Jon and I to create Central Florida’s running and walking headquarters. Running teaches us patience and how to deal with challenges. 
Natalie and Mark lost their home to a fire in August; none of us can fathom what they experienced but their running and triathlon friends were there for them. 
Friends for life…Tom met the love of his life at 50 years young while traveling to Japan with the Orlando Runners Club. Michele is now working with Track Shack Events full time.

It has been a joy to watch other runners like Natalie and Tom meet their spouses through running and Track Shack. Mike and Susan, Nathan and Megan, Andres and Theresa are just a few of our running marriages. Running inspires a community.  I could fill a book with friends and customers who met through running. More recently our son Chris was helping a cute customer with some PowerGels and she asked him for his number! 
Another wedding is on the horizon for our family! Welcome sweet Allie! (pictured)

“Are we busy?” We get asked that question at least every day and I always reply, “yes and we make our busy.” In the small business world it is necessary to create new opportunities for our staff and our community. Jon and I have surrounded ourselves with awesome employees both at the store and the event company. They are creative and love the nurturing environment that keeps us all healthy. We continue to improve all we do from being the best at fitting feet to producing amazing events. Track Shack was honored last year with winning the Florida Retailer of the Year because we truly have the best team! 
The successful RunNona 20k Challenge took place in November. Runners loved it! In February we are hosting the Run 4 Love Four Miler in Winter Park. A new PR for you! But don’t miss the ever popular Park Avenue Seasons 52 5.2k and the 39th annual Lady Track Shack 5k in January. Watch for some incredible bling!

This year we are excited to introduce the updated beginning walking/running program called Zero to Fit! Coach Susan Paul and Natalie have created new opportunities to get fit with Coach’s Bob and Amanda. 
Whether at 5 am or 6 pm four days a week; there is something for everyone whether your goal is a lap around the track or your first 5 or 10k event.

Running reminds us to never give up, to reach for that challenge. 2016 is an Olympic year and Track Shack Events has been selected to time the marathon trials in LA this February. 
This is better than a victory lap for Jon and Mike Zwer, our timer for over 30 years! What makes this even more amazing is that Jon and Tom were in LA in 1984 to watch the first ever women’s Olympic Marathon event.

Let’s all reach for those victories this year and I’ll see you on the roads!


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