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My first 5K was literally an uphill battle
March 16th, 2012
12:02 PM ET

My first 5K was literally an uphill battle

Editor's Note: Adrienne LaGier from St. Leonard, Maryland, is one of seven CNN viewers selected to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Each athlete receives all the tools necessary to train for and compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon this September, alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

At 6:45am, 15 of my yearbook students met me in 38-degree, windy weather to set up some registration tables and water stations for our race, "It's OK to 5K."

Not only was this the first 5K I had ever helped organize, it was the first 5K I would RUN.

A few weeks before this race, I began walking the cross country course to get a feel for the terrain. After heading straight up a vertical hill, I was having second and third thoughts about this being my first race.

When I ran into one of my students the next day who was on the cross country team, I asked her if that hill was really part of the course. She said, “Yes, and you get to run up it twice! Did I mention that our course is one of the toughest in our conference?”

Umm. No.

The night before the race, I had a dream that when I came to the starting line, I was turned away. They told me I had been disqualified for not attending the pre-race meetings. Dejected, I started sobbing on the sidelines. I called my trainer and he said there was nothing he could do for me. I started screaming, “But, I’m in charge of this race!” Didn’t matter.

When I woke up and realized that I did get to run in the race after all, a rush of gratitude overcame me.

As the horn blared and we all took off for the course, I took my spot near the back of the pack behind one of my former editors and her mom who were joining me in their first 5K as well.

All along the course my own students cheered me on, and others that I’ve never met shouted, “You’re doing great!”

The last mile of the race, my Garmin heart rate monitor topped 185 and all I could do was give the thumbs up sign and try to control my heavy breathing.

Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” kept replaying in my head: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

My editor-in-chief’s mom and sister stopped their race in their tracks to run me in. I could hear them behind me saying, “You got this girl.” Those words gave me the extra boost to get up the last big hill before the dash to the end.

As I crossed the finish line, I held back the tears and the urge to throw up. The clock read 38:31, which was good enough for second place in my age group.

“After your first race, you’ll either catch the bug, or you’ll be one and done.” That’s what my trainer told me the first time we met.

Now, I know it was only my first 5K, but if I’m going to have a 45-minute running workout every Saturday for the next six months, I might as well have the chance to get a medal for it. Or better yet, have peer pressure to do my best.

Next stop: Jefferson Patterson Park 5K on March 24 where I hope to finish 30 seconds to a minute stronger.


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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Rick Morris

    Congrats, Andrienne! Nice story.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Congrats!! I remember my first 5K which over a few years turned into 10k's most weekends then the half marathon several times a year. You are to be congratulated on your journey to fitness, to what ever level you desire. Ignore the negative comments. Keep on running.

      March 17, 2012 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • bill cogburn

      http://wwwdotebaydtcom/itm/150776036328?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649 remove the dot and replace with a period

      March 18, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
    • Chris C

      The negative comment about the Couch to 5K bothers me. I just started that program, I am on week 2 and I feel happy to see progress. I have exercised plenty in my life, but was never a runner. But after I was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years ago, I had become out of shape and I had lost a lot of endurance and strength in my recovery from that. I started this program as a way to slowly gain my strength back without injury. I hope to run my 1st 5K this year and I would recommend the Couch to 5K to anyone looking to start running. I am sorry that you think that program is a joke, but if it helps even one person get back in shape, what is wrong with that?

      March 18, 2012 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      To Caitlin, CNN: Ah! So there IS a wizard behind the screen! Yes, many of CNN's articles are admirable. It was on your network that I learned of Diana Nyad, for instance. So for those other articles, I commend CNN.

      To Chris C: I don't know why my comment would bother you. I have never written even one word critical of Ms. LaGier, or of running 5K's, or of any other commenter - despite the many nasty comments I've received. My criticism has been of CNN. Best of luck with recovering from your colon cancer. That disease killed my father, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

      March 19, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
    • Jamz

      Awesome 1st 5K Adrienne! What are you doing – trying to add 10 years to your life or something? : ) Cool tip I use: Carry a big hydration pack (with a waist belt). It is a great way to push yourself – when you are about to do a faceplant, dump most of the water weight.

      March 19, 2012 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • Angel L. Ramos

      Congratulations Adrienne!

      I want to thank you for sharing your experience with us! I’ve learned a lot from your blog and look forward to reading about your next race! I can so understand the feeling of accomplishment crossing that finish line. In fact, my wife and I raced our first 5K together last weekend “The Shamrock Jog and Jam. It wasn’t about the time, but the fact that we finished.

      Angel recently posted My First 5K Personal Growth Goal 2012

      March 19, 2012 at 20:24 | Report abuse |
  2. Alan S

    Maybe soon CNN will give us a detailed first-person account of someone doing a push-up.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fezzywig

      I don't know you, but I love you for posting this comment.

      March 16, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • Edith

      If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything.
      Maybe, just maybe, this article inspires others to get out there and run.
      The world is full of negative people doing horrible things. We don't need one more.

      March 16, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      Edith: You wrote a comment critical of me, so I could ask you: "if you don't have anything to say, don't say anything at all", but let me turn instead to the bigger problem. Thirty years ago CNN might have had an article about someone running her first marathon; now it's the first 5K. This article is yet one more example of how, throughout every aspect of American life, our standards have fallen. Now everyone is a success, everyone is always right, everyone is the best. In fact, most of us don't accomplish very much.

      Want an article about inspirational women runners? How about Helen Klein of Sacramento, who set world records in the marathon for women 70-74, 75-79, and 80-84, and who was running ultramarathons in her 70's? Or of Sarah Reinertsen who finished the Ironman Triathlon - with only one leg! No, such articles wouldn't be to our liking, because such an article would commemorate someone doing something really impressive. Instead we have a major article on the most-watched news source in the world, just because some lady trotted slowly for three miles.

      If my original comment appears negative to you, it's because I long for the days when people who accomplished great things were celebrated, and when mediocrity was not considered admirable.

      March 16, 2012 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • derkaiser

      This isn't a "major article" on CNN. It's a self-penned blog post by a high school English teacher from Maryland. Huh, you didn't find the biography of a record setting, one-legged marathoner? Shocker.

      I "long for the days" when people didn't read articles on subjects they don't care about, and then complain about the fact they just read an article they don't care about.

      March 16, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • Noocrat

      +1 Like to Alan S

      It shouldn't be considered impressive to do something that everyone should be inherently able to do.

      We evolved from persistent hunters that would chase their prey until the prey got too tired to run. Everyone should be able to run 3.1 miles whenever they want. The fact that "Couch to 5K" plans exist is embarrassing for us as a society.

      March 16, 2012 at 18:32 | Report abuse |
    • Cinic

      And when CNN publishes a story about somebody doing a push-up I will be inspired by the effort and the struggle. Because one push-up might be trivial for many, just like 5k in 45min might but it is one push up somebody did instead of sitting on their butt.
      One push up at a time. Maybe one a day. Just keep doing it. If you don't go beyond that, in a year it will be 365 push ups. And if you do, more than that.
      5K in 39min ROCKS!!!!!

      March 16, 2012 at 22:03 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Hey Alan, you are right that we all should be able to do a 5K but you may have missed the point. The article isn't celebrating mediocrity, it is celebrating that this lady is trying to better herself. I have to side with Edith on this one. We are all over-worked, stressed, and worried. Let's try to be nice to one another. Have a fine day Alan.

      March 17, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      To Bill: No, Bill, I didn't miss the point. I applaud the woman in the article for improving her physical fitness. My complaint is with the media mindset, and the reader mindset, that running 3 miles is worthy of national recognition.

      March 17, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Alan: WTH is wrong with you? First off, this isn't a major article, it's a human interest story. Second of all, this woman isn't a professional athlete. Do you follow her on a daily basis to know that she even has a scintilla of spare time to train? I'm a surgeon who's encased in a hospital 80 hrs a week and I'm quite certain that there are scores of others who can't run up to your lofty standards because they don't have the time to commit. It's not a matter of celebrating mediocrity; working full-time while still having time to train is a Herculaen effort. Until you have the faintest clue as to what your talking about, you should probably just keep your mouth shut.

      March 17, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      Dr. Ron: I would have thought a physician would show a bit more courtesy in his writings.

      March 17, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
    • TK

      Here's the problem: a majority of folks these days are obese. Running 3 miles used to be kids stuff, but if you're a 300 pounder, you cross the finish line literally thankful you didn't die during it. It's heart breaking, really, that this type of lifestyle–overeating and getting fat–is such the norm that we've had to lower the bar of what we think is real accomplishment. I think obesity finally needs to be treated as the emotional disorder that it is so that people can get proper treatment. People are freaking eating themselves to death....while trying to run 5Ks.

      March 17, 2012 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
    • CaitlinCNN

      Hi Alan: thanks for following our blogs and the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. You suggested we cover Sarah Reinertsen but you should know that we have – we actually interviewed her at the finish line of the NYC Tri in 2010 as part of that year's Fit Nation Tri Challenge. We also did a piece on Scout Bassett, another amputee who competes nationally. Sarah is actually her mentor. We produced a piece on Rajesh Durbal last year, the first triple amputee to race in Kona. And we followed Kyle Maynard's journey when he became the first congenital quadruple amputee to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro. And don't forget our piece on Dr. Joe Maroon, who had a mental breakdown in his 40s, discovered triathlon, and has since raced more than 70 races, including Kona at the age of 70. As you can see, we try to cover the spectrum of accomplishments, from Adrienne's 5k to Rajesh's Iron Man, because we believe that any person accepting responsibility for his/her health and doing something to change it is worthy of applause.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:45 | Report abuse |
    • Ricky Bobby

      Hey everyone – relax! Alan is an @ss, and he knows it. Don't let it get to you! Shake and bake!

      March 19, 2012 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  3. Jammo

    Congratulations on completing the 5K. You time was not bad for a first time run. As a runner myself, I know how it feels like. Hope you get to practice and finish better time in the Jefferson Patterson Park 5K on March 24. Maybe you you move up to 8K runs after that. Good Luck!

    March 16, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. WWRRD

    Go get em' 30:31 is pretty darn respectable!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fezzywig

      Considering the 5k world record for women is 14:11, no, 30:31 is not respectable at all. It certainly isn't worth an article on CNN, either.

      March 16, 2012 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      WW: If the woman had run the event in 30:31, that may or may not have been "pretty darned respectable", but the article says she ran it in 38:31.

      March 16, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • Noocrat

      You could power walk a 5K in 38:31.

      I'm impressed by people that run during races.

      March 16, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
  5. Swampcat

    @Fezzywig, have you ever run a 5K? Do you know what a respectable time is for the average adult, not an athlete in top shape? In my running, I compete against myself and don't worry about the people at the front of the pack. Would I like to run like the world's best do? Sure, but it's not going to happen. In three years, though, I've lost weight, improved my stamina, made friends, and gotten a whole new outlook on life. Never once have I come within 10 minutes of the WR for a 5K. It doesn't matter.

    Congratulations to Adrienne for getting out there. I hope you continue with your running and that your experiences inspire others!

    March 16, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Noocrat

      It does matter. 10 minutes within the world record doesn't even require genetic inclination. It just takes a little effort.

      We shouldn't celebrate sub-par performance. That is counter to the whole idea of American exceptionalism.

      March 16, 2012 at 18:34 | Report abuse |
    • derkaiser

      Nobody is "celebrating" sub-par performance (not even the author). This is a blog post on Dr. Gupta's website that is part of a larger series on seven individuals who aren't particularly healthy for one reason or another (i.e. obesity, smoking, etc.) and what they're doing to try to get in better shape (they're training to eventually run a triathlon, apparently). Presumably, the point is for readers who are in a similar health situation to get ideas on what they can do to get in better shape, and/or take some motivation from these individuals.

      If I read an article about an alcoholic and the steps he was taking to stop drinking, I certainly wouldn't take that as a celebration of alcoholism, nor would I be embarrassed that America has alcoholics. Why? Because I can understand the context in which what I read appears.

      If you want Steve Prefontaine's bio, go to the library. It's there (along with all the other "American exceptionalism" you can handle).

      March 16, 2012 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
  6. th

    38:31 is awesome for a first time 5k!! Great job Adrienne!! Keep it up!!

    March 16, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. NT

    ONE 45 minute workout every Saturday? Sad part is that you will likely be exercising more than most Americans. Pathetic reality...

    March 16, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trirachel

      I know this comment is a month old, but I have to reply to NT and let him/her know that Adrienne's 45 minute run on Saturdays is one day of her weekly training – the rest of the week includes a bike ride of over an hour, other runs and swims, in preparation for a triathlon. She does this while being a single mom of twins and working as a teacher. That's pretty impressive if you ask me!

      April 24, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
  8. Myto Senseworth

    I can't believe it....A good story for a change. Thanks, and good luck.

    March 16, 2012 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. pasha

    if it was last years hot dog eating champ running it in that "impressive time" i'd understand but....ahem...how about some real liife changing experiences which bring motivation to others..they exist!

    March 16, 2012 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mom in TN

    Wow. It is so sad that most of these posts were so nasty and negative. Don't we have enough of that in this world? All of us are just normal people doing the best we can. I recently ran my first 5K slower than this woman, but you know what? I am proud of myself for making positive changes in my life.

    March 16, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. The_Mick

    I ran a weigh loss program for teens as head coach of our high school's cross country team and every one of them who stuck it out for the whole 16 weeks ran a 3 mile or 5K (roughly the same distance) race and it was often in the 30+ minute range. So Adrienne's 38:31 is nothing to be ashamed of. Congratulations Adrienne!

    March 16, 2012 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Lexi

    I never comment on news stories at all, but I just had to due to these sadly negative comments. I was actually browsing the internet while dreading my double digit run tomorrow morning when I came across this. I found this story to be incredibly inspiring! I am a runner and run 20-30 miles a week, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't take all the motivation in the world to get me out of bed each Saturday morning for my long run. Adrienne's courage to put herself out there and conquer this personal challenge has inspired me to stop my negative thoughts about tomorrow morning and instead be grateful that I'm capable of chasing my goals!

    March 16, 2012 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mary

    Congratulations Adrienne! That's a great feat to run your first 5k – don't listen to all the negative posters. I myself am a marathoner, and I can attest that the first 5k is always difficult – but I'm glad you caught the running bug!

    March 16, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. CB

    Way to go Adrienne for taking the first steps towards a healtier lifestyle. Also working on managing my own weight, I know the fears of wanting to be out exercising in public and also how negative comments can make YOU feel like crap about your own successes. Let these people say what they want- but keep up your hard work 🙂 This story will help to inspire others so thank you!

    March 16, 2012 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DUR

    Nasty, You're rude comments are unnecessary. Seriously? Adrienne is a strong woman, and this is big for her. Just because you can speed walk a 5k in 30 minuets doesn't mean everything. She just started working out. This is big for her, it takes a while to get used to everything. While you all are sitting here complaining that she is not running the 5k fast enough, she is out, not sitting on the computer not worrying about you. Your 'hate' is her motivation. She is doing this because she want's to change. Not so she can become famous. If you have nothing nice to say – Don't say it at all. I'm In shape and i can't even run a 5k in 30 mins; impossible for me. She has a life, she is a teacher. Do you honestly except her to work out every second of the day? No. Btw, 30 minuets is good for her first 5k. There was people way behind her when she came through. Next time you wan't to say something, think twice. Act your age and not your shoe size.🙂

    March 16, 2012 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SLO

    Adrienne, I am PROUD to say I'm the mom with my daughter that started out next to you that morning! Forget the haters. I'm going to assume they know nothing about the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge and just why this 5K was SO important to you! Congratulations to you, not only for being ONE of SEVEN members of this Challenge out of the hundreds that entered, but for completing your first 5K! You are a mother, a teacher, a yearbook advisor; kudos to you for wanting to make a change in your life in such a positive way! Keep up the good work and keep blogging!

    March 16, 2012 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Cover Artist

    Mean people find the oddest places to hang out. I'm so very proud of Adrienne for having the courage to be a beginner, and for taking the risk of publicly charting her progress. Haters are going to hate, I suppose, but I don't imagine that they spend their Saturdays at 5K races, spitting their venom at anyone who crosses the finish line after the 14-minute mark. They are cowards who hide behind the anonymity of the comments section. And while they may run faster than us, they clearly aren't healthy.

    Keep running races at your own pace, Adrienne. It will always be better than running your mouth on the internet.

    March 16, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. elfelf

    Great job Adrienne! Getting started on a fitness program is intimidating enough without internet haters ganging up on your first time. For those of you throwing stones, I think you missed the bigger point– she ORGANIZED this race. Maybe you can run faster than her, but what have you done for your community? She is using this opportunity from CNN to promote fitness in her community. Maybe it is embarrassing that we need couch to 5k programs, but far more embarrassing is shaming people who are trying to improve their health. Noocrat, would you prefer that people who end up on the couch just stay there? Alan S: if you don't like human interest pieces, don't read a BLOG! GO ADRIENNE!!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RunnerGirl70

    Adrienne-Congrats to you on your first 5k! My first was 37 minutes and change. I have been running for 5 years and STILL haven't broken 30 minutes in the 5k, perhaps because I am only 4'11" (short legs, short stride). But don't let those who are being negative get to you-You Go Girl!

    March 16, 2012 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. @TriHardCarlos

    Adrienne, you did great!! I am very proud of you and your 5k accomplishment!! Way to go teamie!!

    March 16, 2012 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Mommy558

    Go Adrienne!! I am a life-long runner and I think 38 minutes for a 1st 5K with a hill that you run TWICE is spectacular! And I bet that the "snarkies" on here have never run a compettive race in their lives or they would know what it means to cross the finish line to you and every other runner. Runners support each other, because we've been there. I once was running a half marathon at an event which had a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon and saw the marathon winner (who has competed in the Olympics) run BACK to the 10K course to jog alongside an Iraqi vet who had lost his leg and was struggling to finish to help him get across the finish line because he KNEW what that would mean to the vet. THAT'S what runners celebrate...not PB's or WR's. Just finishing with the best time that you can on that given day. Alan S, Fezzywig and Noocrat would have been mocking the vet's course time. Shameful...

    March 16, 2012 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Mommy: You wrote that I would mock the wounded veteran. Nothing if further from the truth. Remember that I, in my post of March 16 at 1530 hours, celebrated the success of Sarah Reinertsen, the first woman amputee to complete the Ironman Triathlon. And, may I add, I'm a retired Army officer. It would be a cold day in Haydes before I mocked any veteran, and especially one with a Purple Heart.

      My heavens, Mommy, don't you understand what I've been writing? I ADMIRE people who accomplish that which is difficult. I even respect the woman in the article for improving her fitness. My problem is with the media, and the readers, who applaud even the most trivial accomplishments.

      March 17, 2012 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
  22. glioblastomarunner

    Congratulations!
    First 5K race and it was a cross country race!
    Man, open cross country races are rare..I wish there were more...
    I have run races all over the world for 34 years, ran over 80,000 miles and can think of only a few races I found on school cross country courses....
    Get into the sport whole heartidly...start reading about the sport, it is a great and inspirational sport.
    And just remember, the key is endurance.
    it's the training miles that count.
    The more miles you run in training, the more your calves will begin to look like steel cables, the more your calves begin to resemble steel cables, the better your races will be..at any distance..800 and up!
    Good luck.

    March 17, 2012 at 00:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Chris Clay

    Great job Adrienne! The reason I love running so much is because of the support and encouragement you get from others in the running community. It helps you keep going when you really just want to quit. Keep it up!

    March 17, 2012 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Andy H

    I came here to get my morning laugh and thanks to Alan S and replies i got it, thanks guys have a great day!! Lots of good posts, Alan Instead of using others as an inspiration go do something great yourself. We have to stop looking for others as role models and become one ourselves. We can change the course one person at a time, at 46 im in the gym workin on getting to 3% bodyfat, i got tired of always wanting that great body and decided to get one myself. Its painfull, but worth it.

    March 17, 2012 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Andy: You suggest I should do something great myself. I'm trying. I've run 14 marathons and two ultras, and now, at 61 years old (62 next month), I'm training for my first 100-miler.

      March 17, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Ricky Bobby

      he says from his mom's basement while eating his third pizza. Shake and bake!

      March 19, 2012 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
  25. Patrick

    I woke this morning to prepare to head out to a race. It is our local St. Patrick's Day Dash which averages about 13,000+ runners/walkers every year. This was the event where I ran my first race three years ago. I have been feeling down this week knowing that my speed has fallen by over a minute a mile in the past 8 months since I completed my first marathon. I knew I might run today even slower than I ran it my first year despite setting a PR last year. Your story reminded me of my first race and how it felt. It inspired me to get out there and run my best. Whether I average a 7:30 mile, 8:30 or a9:30 mile it is about the journey, the lifelong commitment to change and the experience, not the time. Keep running, Adrienne, congratulations on starting your journey and best of luck in the triathlon. Thank you for reminding me about what is important and inspiring me to get those shoe on and hit the road today.

    March 17, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. luvmydogs

    "I ADMIRE people who accomplish that which is difficult. I even respect the woman in the article for improving her fitness. My problem is with the media, and the readers, who applaud even the most trivial accomplishments." - great, Alan S, but by saying this, you are implying that the writer's accomplishment *is* one of those "trivial" ones with which you have an issue. Wonderful, you are doing things with your fitness that are admirable, but just like everyone's problems are relative, so are everyone's accomplishments. I actually agree with you that much mediocrity gets applauded in our society, but I also don't see the point of trivializing other peoples' successes.

    March 17, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Luv: Few commenters have understood the point I have been trying to make. You even quoted me and still misinterpret. I cannot make Ms. LaGier's 3-mile jog either trivial or grand; it is what it is regardless of what I think; that is not the point. To me, the point is that Ms. LaGier's success is not worthy of national publication. It is a minor thing that should be just one unremarkable step on a long journey. If and when LaGier's journey leads her to do something most of us can't do - like Helen Klein, or Sarah Reinertsen, or the unknown "disabled" vet in the post by Mommy 558 - THEN I will be delighted to see Ms. LaGier's accomplishment on the national media.

      A year ago 61 year-old Diana Nyad tried twice to swim from Florida to Cuba, and failed twice, after swimming maybe 50-60 miles each time. She is planning to try again this summer. I read about Ms. Nyad and my heart races. The failures of Ms. Nyad are a thousand times more impressive than the success of Ms. LaGier, and yet it is LaGier whom we celebrate. It is this ... injustice, these low standards, that cause me to cry out.

      And, to Andy H who suggested I do something great myself: I'm a day closer to the Heartland 100, and not getting any younger, so now I'm going out to pound the pavement for a few hours. I'm trying, Andy. I'm trying.

      March 17, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  27. jewelgirl

    Alan S,
    You should call yourself Mr. Perfect...I will turn 59 this year and I just started the program "couch potato to 5K in 2 months. I found her story encouraging and maybe she will be running a marathon at 80. Americans are so over weight with no decline in sight that even if one person's life is touched or motivated in a positive way then it is worth the air time.
    Get a life!

    March 17, 2012 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Yes, jewel, we as a nation are terribly overweight. We should all try to be better than we are. My point, which has resulted in so much personal ugliness from so many commenters, is that we should set our standards high, and admire people who do great things, rather than admiring people who do modest things.

      Unstated but running through many of the comments hostile to my point of view is a relativism that contends that each person's accomplishments are just as good as anyone else's. But I don't believe that. I believe that Helen Klein, setting a world record by running a marathon in 4:31 at 80 years old (something like 10:20 per mile) really is better than Ms. LaGier running 5 K's in 38:31 (maybe 12:30 per mile? At maybe a third of Klein's 80 years?). To my way of thinking, Ms. LaGier accomplishing her goal of running 5K's is not as significant as 80 year-old Ms. Klein accomplishing her goal of setting an age-group world record in the marathon. Some accomplishments ARE better than others. Let's admire the best.

      As to your allegation that I think myself perfect, I never wrote anything at all about myself until Andy H told me I should try to accomplish something myself, at which time I responded to him regarding my own running efforts. Mommie558 told me I am the sort of person who would mock a combat-wounded amputee, so I told her I am retired from the Army and would never conceive of doing that. Tell me, Jewel Girl, what is it about those comments that led you to think I consider myself perfect?

      March 17, 2012 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Alan, maybe someday Adrienne will be running a marathon in 4:31 at 80 years old...and at that point we could have read about her when she started, and also now see how far she has come. I understand not wanting to applaude mediocrity, I do, but by you commenting on this thread- you are bringing attention to all of these people who have celebrated GREAT feats. For that, I am thankful. I wouldn't have known about these other people if not for your comments 🙂

      March 17, 2012 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
  28. bjw

    Alan,

    When I finished my first marathon my daughter called me and asked "Daddy, did you win?" After finishing in a time that was far off the winner's, and having left every ounce of energy on the street and pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do that day, my response was, "Yes, I did!" The purpose of this CNN series is to show that ordinary people can be motivated to better themselves physically. If they set their goals to be elite runners, they will soon quit. If they set a reasonable goal, then they can achieve it and next time set a higher one. If you need to lose 100 pounds, you can't, unless you do it one pound at a time.

    I will never break 4 hours in the marathon but I challenge myself to be better physically and mentally. Yes, I don't expect my story to be a national headline; I don't deserve it. I am discouraged that many standards are lowered. I am not a fan of the trophy for every kid philosophy or the don't keep score crowd. You can't have winners without losers.

    This Dr. Gupta series, however, does not address that. It is not a news story. It is a special interest story about ordinary schlubs like me who are tired of the unhealthy rut they have fallen into and have decided to take the first step to better themselves. I took that step 5 years ago and in that time have finished multiple marathons and half marathons, lost 30 pounds in the process, made many new friends who support each other, come back from serious microfracture knee surgery to run again, and am not discouraged that I'm getting older (heck, this year I turn 55 so I get to move into a higher age group!) and slower. My PRs are probably behind me, but I still fool myself into thinking that maybe I can (if I just do a little more hill work....). In fact, instead of the races, my favorite and most memorable runs are the training runs that start at 5:30 a.m. where I watch the sun come up with my friends halfway into the run at mile 10.

    If this special interest story about a person who is proud about getting off the couch doesn't interest you, then move on. You're too good for Adrienne or me. Pick up your medal, and I'll make it to the finish line soon enough.

    Thank you Dr. Gupta for taking the time to educate ordinary folks about how they can be healthier and happier by committing to take that first step. The cheers for them mean so much more in my book.

    March 17, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Tip of the cap to you, bjw.

      March 17, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • bjw

      and best of luck on your 100 miler! That's a heavy 2 weeks for me!

      March 17, 2012 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
    • JenBE

      Beautifully said, bjw! I would add just one thing: different people are motivated in different ways. Some look at the incredible accomplishments of a few very dedicated individuals with admiration, and find inspiration in that...Alan seems to be one of these people, and that's great. Others however, can relate much more easily to people like themselves, doing things that perhaps aren't so extraordinary, but still positive things to which they can aspire. It's just a matter of personality, and how you find your own motivation.

      By no means should we celebrate mediocrity, but I do believe that any effort made by an individual to better themselves and their health is a good thing, something to be encouraged. One good way to promote this idea to more people is to get stories just like this one out there.

      As for me, at 37 I've managed to run two marathons so far, with the third one planned for later this year. No 100 milers in my future I'm afraid however – I'll leave that exceptional feat to you Alan!

      March 19, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Alan S

      To JenBE: Thank you for writing a comment that disagrees with me but doesn't accuse me of mocking combat-wounded amputee marathoners, or other ghastly acts. And no, I didn't blow up the Hindenburg. JewelGirl wrote a message that began "Alan, you should call yourself Mr. Perfect..." Ironically, I would be the last person to suggest any of my life's accomplishments are very significant. It is because I am painfully aware of my many severe imperfections, and my many failures, that I set difficult goals for myself, goals that I often fail to achieve, and why I respect people who accomplish very difficult goals. Who accomplish feats I haven't been able to. Most commenters hereto accuse me of being negative for thinking that way, for admiring excellence, which puzzles me.

      March 19, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • JenBE

      You're welcome Alan, thanks for coming back to read my comment and respond.

      I'm generally of the opinion that we get much further in efforts to convince others of our views, or at least get them to listen, when we approach them with respect and a rational, reasonable argument. That would be my only criticism of your first posts, the ones to which I believe people have reacted so strongly. They came across (at least in my reading) as a bit 'flip', and I think for many people overshadowed what were otherwise some very valid points you had to offer later on.

      That said, your subsequent posts have proven you to be a reasonable, intelligent person and not the internet troll many people probably thought you were at first (and I guess some still think so). My two cents, it's time to stop the bashing, perhaps agree to disagree about whether this article warranted publishing on CNN.com Blogs, and move on to the more important discussion of the obesity epidemic that efforts like this FitNation Triathlon Challenge are trying to overcome. On that topic I think we can find a lot of common views and concerns.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
  29. CB

    Something that is beautiful about this story, to me, is that each of us looks to make our own fitness goals. Alan S is looking to add to his workout resume with the Heartland 100, which is quite impressive, bjw started on marathons and keeps going, as well as many other posters who have shared their stories of personal successes (big and small). I would love, if for this series, that we could follow people on their journeys– wherever they start...and see where they decide to finish.

    I also think that "running" is a different animal. I do Zumba 1-1 1/2 hours each day, but struggle to even run one mile because it is just not how I like to exercise. Reading a story like this, motivates me to take the steps to maybe walk a 5K and then run one. Thank you Adrienne for being a part of this segment by Dr. Gupta. If even one person reads this stroy and decides to get off the couch and do a jumping jack, push up, run or walk a 5K, we are one person closer to being a less-fat-more-active society. 🙂

    March 17, 2012 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Mich

    Thanks for the great article. I'm a 50 year old female currently training for my first 5k. I won't set any world records either and chances are pretty good that I won't turn into a marathoner. This was a human interest story that this human found interesting.

    March 17, 2012 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Wil's Mom

    I would personally like to thank Adrienne LaGier. She is setting a wonderful example for her students and others in the community. She gives150% to her students while raising her girls.She teaches her students not only the curriculum but life skills as well. I wish more people were inspiration for young people in our community.
    Ms LaGier THANK YOU for all you do and for the example you set on a daily bases.

    March 17, 2012 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jennifer

    Great Job Adrienne! You've inspired me to get out there again today.

    March 18, 2012 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Beth

    We need more Adrienne's in the world! She is inspiring and models what effective teachers model -that she's willing to do what needs to be done to set goals and work towards them. I am a mother and mother-in-law of runners, a grandmother, a teacher and also a runner who has surpassed the age of 55. To any naysayers, what matters is that you set a goal, start, finish and focus on what matters to you with each race. A healthy lifestyle does not mean medals & media recognition but peace of mind.

    March 18, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Lena

    I think you did a fantastic job!! I did a 10K once years ago and I am still very proud of myself🙂 I hope you continue doing races. Forget the people who try to bring you down and say such terrible, negative things. Focus on the fact that you tackled hills, big, big hills and my yourself, your family and your students very proud. You are showing them how important it is to lead a healthy active life and that is definitely something to be proud of!

    March 18, 2012 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Kent

    Congrats to Adrienne on the first 5K. Some of my best memories came from running cross country, track, and other races. Finishing always is the first goal. After the first race, it's also about improvement.

    March 19, 2012 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Marv

    I used to run & the 5K was my favorite run. I just had to have my right knee replaced and can't run any more plus I've gained alot of weight. Run for us who can't do it any more.

    March 19, 2012 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. irunner

    Way to go Adrienne! Most of us started exactly the same way. Don't worry about your finishing place. Your ahead of most of the negative commenters in this blog. Keep it up! See you at the races.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. TrollPatrol

    Hey Alan,

    You keep saying that you celebrate the achievEments of Sarah Reinertsen, yet all your negativity and belittling is exactly the kind of thing she detests. She encourages EVERYONE to get out there and live an active, healthy lifestyle. In fact, if you really took some time to read about her journey, you'd learn that she didn't just transform herself into a triathlete overnight. It took time, dedication and yes, she even *GASP* struggled with the first few 5ks she raced in.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Patrol: Thank you for your opinion.

      March 19, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
  39. Kamer

    Good Job Adrienne! I'm running my first 5k on May 6th and I've been training for about two weeks. This is such a great way to exercise willpower and thanks for sharing your experience.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kat

    Good job Adrienne!!! Way to go. I couldn't run 5K event, ever. I walk 5K almost every day, but no running, ever. No way. I have a neurological condition that causes excruciating pain and I cannot tolerate high impact activity at all, esp., running.
    Am I angry I cannot run a 5k? Sure.
    Envious? Of course.
    Am I glad I can walk? You had better believe it!

    Again, way to go!

    PS-To all the 'Negative Nancys" out there-FYI: I work in the PACU on a very busy Ortho floor in Los Angeles. I see more knee and hip replacement surgeries on people between the ages of 45-60 (only because they refused to slow down their high impact activity per MD advice).

    So for those of you beating yourself up that YOU can't do those 250K runs under 16 minutes, just remember this-you also won't have the pain prior to surgery, the limping due to a painful/knee/ankle/hip, the painful surgery, the poss. life-threatening complications of the surgery, the months of excruciating recovery, the handfuls of meds. and then perhaps the news that you may never, ever be able to do any high impact activity, ever again.

    Two sides to every story folks.

    March 19, 2012 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Nathan

    I disagree with the idea of exercising to lose weight. I run a lot, and also have a personal trainer. You should do it because it makes you feel great, not for cosmetic reasons. Compared to what I was 2 years ago, I feel like Superman. I go for 20-25 miles weekly myself, and I don't time myself or have any real goals. It is addictive as heck, you will get to the point where you won't feel right without it. For me, each run has to be 5.5 miles. Any less and I don't feel accomplished, and any more and there's nothing left for tomorrow.

    March 20, 2012 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Kai

    Congratulations, Adrienne! Go get 'em girl!

    March 20, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Scott

    Congratulations Adrienne! I've always been slim and so everyone thought I was in shape. But when I first started running in 2006, I could only run from driveway to driveway in my neighborhood. Then I got to where I could run longer and longer and then next thing I knew I was running hundreds of miles in a year. A couple of years ago, I nearly ran 1000 miles in year and I didn't/don't run everyday. I just completed my 2nd marathon and improved on my 1st marathon time by a minute and 40 seconds. So, keep up the great work and hope to see more of your articles and times! Great job!

    March 20, 2012 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Carlyn

    Well, I'm sorry I didn't stumble onto this page in March; I might've started a running program back then instead of three days ago. There's nothing wrong with celebrating a person's accomplishments; positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator, and oftentimes, small increments or baby steps are not only the most direct path to major accomplishments, but the only path. Congratulations, Adrienne! I'll be thinking about you when I'm slogging up and down the hills of home.

    June 1, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.