Learnings of 2019

So many miles, so many smiles…that’s truly what my running life has been and continues to be.  And, memories too, oh the memories. :)

I’m lucky I’ve been able to run for more than 40 years.  Yep, slow and steady wins my race these days.   Our business of retail and producing run/walk events keeps us too busy to run locally and most of our vacations revolve around a race or two.  Our current racing fun may be a 5k or 10k, a 10 mile relay run with my daughter, or a marathon Jon runs (with me as Sherpa.) Over the years it’s been a marathon or a half in places including Berlin, Japan, London, even Mexico. But it was in the very early 80’s that I ran my first half in Micanopy, Florida. I had a wonderful friend during my UF years and we ran miles and miles together.  Mandy and I ran that half marathon together and Jon joined us too. That memory will forever be in our hearts now because sweet Mandy passed away in November, just a day after running a half marathon with her sister. Running for me and for Mandy truly was and is so many miles and so many smiles. Love you Mandy…

So 2020 is really here and how fun and easy it is to type and say this number (year.)  It reminds me that technology just keeps upping the game in all we do each day.  I always hope for a cooler holiday season; I think it seems more festive that way, but nevertheless I’m writing my Start Line letter on a warm December day.  Outside.  Yes, typing away on my laptop on our deck.  My first laptop and that means I’ve caught up a little with the whole technology bit.  Those desktop computer days are finally over for me. 

Technology and bling are two of the biggest changes Jon and I have experienced in our event management world.  I’ve come to the conclusion that receiving a finisher medal is more likely to entice someone to get off the couch and start training than anything else. It’s a strange phenomenon I’ve had to adjust to, and I must admit it has taken me awhile.  However, those medals really, truly make a difference in so many lives. Our recent OUC Orlando Half Marathon had the prettiest medal ever and was coveted by over 3000 runners!  Our 5k medal was smaller but just as nice and I heard great comments! Our first timers or newbies as we call them enjoyed this awesome 43rd annual event! We are thankful to all the sponsors of our running events and this year marked the 20th year of support from OUC.  These last two years of our half marathon were especially important to us after receiving very prestigious “sustainability” awards, thanks in large part to OUC and of course the hard work of many.

Every January our Zero to Fit 10 week program expands. It is a ten week training program for beginners and those who may already have set some goals and the group setting keeps them on target.  It makes my heart smile to know that some of these folks are exercising for the very first time!  Come 2020 they will have numerous options to run/walk their first 5 or 10k and guess what!  They will more than likely receive a medal at the finish line!  Our training program coaches make a huge difference in many lives.  Coaching is one thing, but more importantly is the encouragement participants receive from them. 

This past year marked a milestone for the Track Shack Youth Foundation, the beneficiary for most of our local events we produce. The 501c3 started in 1994. Grants totaling 2.5 million dollars have been awarded to area schools and youth programs supporting health and fitness since its inception.  The board held a fundraiser earlier this year celebrating its 25th year and my running hero Joan Samuelson was the guest and speaker.  It was a super special evening and another smile for my heart.  This fall the Foundation awarded 31 grants to organizations including the Winter Garden Gift of Swimming, the Lakemont Elementary School Mileage Club and the Winter Park Day Nursery preschool education program. 

Watch how our Track Shack shoe wall will change in 2020.  Every shoe company continues to make great changes and updates to already great products.  Do we miss our old shoes?  For sure, and that’s why we encourage our customers to get re-evaluated every year.  It’s not just the colors that change each season.  If nothing else, never assume your best friends’ shoe choice should automatically be yours too.  It’s also important to realize how our bodies change as we mature both in age and athletic ability.  I’ll bet you’ll be a stronger runner or walker after that training program ends J. Stop in for a visit and remember, shoes and feet are our business but people, you, are our specialty! 

One of my favorite learnings of 2019 was remembering the fragility of life, family and friends.  That and learning the term, “double cut” when ordering a pizza. 

Happy New Year and see you on the roads! 

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