After the race this young lady introduced herself as Lisa McCombs and gave me her card. Turns out she is the Marketing Director for a local running specialty store and she thought I may not have the proper shoe. Being the skeptic and the "thrifty" person that I am I did not take much stock in what she had to say, after all, "she just wanted me to buy some of her overpriced shoes, right?" Don't get me wrong, she was friendly enough, but surely her concern was a sales pitch.
The next time I saw Lisa, I changed my perspective. When I showed up for the Nutri-Hut 5k last weekend Lisa was not only assisting in organizing the event she was also leading and inspiring a group of people who were running their first 5k. She not only motivated them before the race, but was waiting for them at the finish line cheering as if they were her own children.
I stole only a few moments with Lisa that day, but it was long enough to decide this story needed to be told. I am doing something I have never done before on this blog and I am actually publishing part of an interview I conducted with Lisa McCombs; Marketing Director for Run-N-Tri Company
E- Lisa thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with me, It was nice racing with you; I was inspired by you, Run-N-Tri, and especially the Couch to 5K group that you were leading. I think my readers will appreciate the program and maybe some of them can benefit from what you are doing.
Lisa- Well, It is my dream to get the entire world off the couch and running one by one!!!!
E- Great goal, can you start out by telling us a little bit about Run-N-Tri?
Lisa- Run-N-Tri is a small locally owned walking, running, and triathlon shoes, gear, and apparel store.We also host different events like 5k’s, 10k’s, and triathlons, fitness and product seminars, and a variety of training assistance.
E- In the store you also offer free Gait analysis, tell me more about that?
Lisa- It’s a very personalized process that we pride ourselves in. During our free gait analysis, we evaluate pressure, arch, and width and length of feet and analyze stride with high tech video recording and treadmill equipment. This helps us understand what shoes are appropriate for your individual stride.
E- I made my first visit for my gait analysis today; but we can get into that later; for now, can you tell us about the From Couch to 5k program?
Lisa- The From Couch to 5k program is something we started back in December 2009 to get the Gulf Coast off the couch and running. The program is 8 weeks long, designed specifically for those who have never ran before, and there is an official 5k race at the end.
It is amazing, participants who never thought they could run are now running 5k's. "I can't do it" is a phrase no longer heard by the end of the program.
E- What is included as part of the program?
Lisa- The program is super affordable and consists of the program iself (developed by one of our owners Dean, who is a USAT certified coach), weekly motivational emails, tips, and nutrition advice, two weekly group runs (and one homework run), a technical t-shirt, race registration (which also includes a t-shirt), and the best, a new healthy lifestyle with “runner” status!!
E- So, the group I saw in D'Iberville was completing the program?
Lisa- Yes, that was the end of our second successful group.
E- Tell me more about this group?
Lisa-I started the program with 33 people. 2 had to drop out early due to some previous medical issues. While a few couldn't make it to the 5k, we had 24 who did and finished their 5k. Many of them have since signed up for another 5k (this weekend) and/or are planning to sign up for Group 3.
C25k Group 2
E- Some have signed up to go through the program again?
Lisa- Yes, even though they are ahead of the program, they use the group as motivation to continue to run. We can advance the program for intermediate runners and/or work on building strength and speed. Some of our members from Group 1 did the same and some increased their 5k time by over 5 minutes!!
E- WOW! That's Impressive, it sounds like the program is successful.
Lisa- Eric, this program has changed people’s lives!! It has turned couch potatoes into runners. Several people have lost weight not only from the running, but from the lifestyle it has created for them.
One member was 65 years old, hasn't ran since high school and is now WINNING 5k's in her age group. Every member has a story like this.
E- You seem very passionate about the program?
Lisa- I love hosting the C25k program. It is so rewarding seeing the progress you make from week to week. It is so inspiring watching these folks push themselves like they never have before!! When they cross that finish line, I get goose bumps. What an amazing sense of accomplishment!!
I know some of my readers are skeptics like me and will immediately think "of course she make the program sound good... that's her job." For those who are thinking that I wanted to provide a few quotes from the participants of the program:
“This is just what I was looking for. The program is really well done, not too stressful, and as long as you believe in yourself and keep up with the runs, you CAN do it.”
“I never thought I would consider myself a runner but thanks to Lisa and the couch to 5k program I can proudly call myself a runner. The program is such a great pace to get into running and it's a lot of fun. Lisa was by everyone's side cheering them on with encouraging words of running wisdom and positive feedback. I would recommend the couch to 5k program for men and women of all ages.”
“The C25K training has been one of my most rewarding personal accomplishments. It has been my goal for over 15 years to run a 5K. Having the planned, structured runs and the constant positive coaching from our leader, Lisa, helped me reach my goal.”
For me it was amazing to see these 24 people all lined up with their Couch 2 5k t-shirts on, knowing what they were about to embark on. I know from my own experience what a boost of confidence and self esteem it is to set a goal and achieve it. Even more awe inspiring than watching them all line up was watching them cross the finish line one by one and knowing how proud they had made themselves and everyone around them.
The Next group of C25k will will meet on June 1st for program details and sign up and will start running June 13, 2011. To sign up simply go to Run-N-Tri 9138 Carl Legett Road directly off of Lorraine/Cowen Road (2 miles south of I-10 the cost of the program is only $65.
In the second part of this post I will discuss my experience in my first visit to Run-N-Tri as well as with the gait analysis. As always thanks to anyone who may be following along.