Make a run for it!
At some point or another, we’ve all attempted to make positive life changes, such as quitting smoking, exercising more often, or eating our veggies. Occasionally we make the decision to embark on tough challenges, and I believe we can find hope and encouragement in each others’ success stories.
Tara Jones has been part of the AOC family for just shy of 15 years. She started out at the Knollwood office with Drs. Revels, White-Spunner, and Zarzour. What you may not know about Tara is that about three years ago, she decided to make a positive change in her lifestyle. After running “just for fun” in the 2008 Bayfest Run with Amber Bodiford, Tara decided that she enjoyed it enough to do it again, and this time, she recruited her husband. The following month, in November, Tara and Bubba participated in the Senior Bowl Run. I asked Tara if she was nervous at all before her first race, and it was a definitive “no”. “I had nothing to prove, it was all for fun,” Tara said, “but the sense of accomplishment at the end of the race was great.”
In order to keep up this momentum, Tara knew that a few other things had to change. She began exercising three times a week with a trainer and joined a local running group called the “Mellow Milers.” Tara explained that getting involved with this group and running with friends has been an essential element in maintaining her motivation. She says, “just knowing that someone else is waiting there for you and holding you accountable makes it so much easier to get out there.” Tara admits that it has not always been easy and gives credit to her running partners Philip Bradley, his wife Katherine, and also Robert Weeks in helping her keep it up.
It’s not only the sense of accomplishment that keeps her going, but also the goals that she sets for herself. “Goals keep me on track,” she explained. “Once I’ve trained and completed one race, I start focusing on another.” Tara explained that there have been several benefits to her new lifestyle, the most significant one being that her family has supported her and have also gotten involved. Tara and Bubba, along with their two children, Parrish and Noah, participate with the Mellow Milers each week. As any proud mother would, Tara also mentioned that Parrish recently competed in her first Kids Triathlon in Fairhope and also placed third in her age group in the Senior Bowl 5K.
“Endurance,” Tara says, “has been the best physical benefit. I’ve felt better and had more energy which also helps me stay on track.”
In the last three years, Tara has participated in several 5k and 10k races, as well as three triathlons. Her most recent accomplishment was the First Light Half Marathon in downtown Mobile. She has beaten the odds and has successfully made a positive change in her lifestyle. She advises anyone who hopes to get involved in recreational or competitive running to:
1.) Find a partner
2.) Get a good pair of shoes and
3.) Set attainable goals for yourself.
Submitted by Rebecca Sanders
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