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"To put Christian principles into practice through programs which build healthy spirit mind and body for all."


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November 28, 2016 @ 12:00am

Manitowoc - Two Rivers YMCA CEO Steve Smith after a race 


Happy post Thanksgiving.  Our hope at the Y is that you had a great holiday shared with family and friends, stories and laughter, and just a little bit of food.

15 weeks ago, I made an offhanded remark to one of my staff that I was thinking of running in the Festival Foods Turkey Trot.  The 5 mile race, no less.  I have been working on my health, more to come on that, and felt like I needed to work towards something.

The Y has participated in the race since its inception in Manitowoc.  I have had the pleasure to greet participants both at the JFK and then greet them as they crossed the finish line.  I have heard great stories over the years, like the time that a participant told me that they had 45 family members in town for a family reunion and how all of them were there to exercise together including her 90 year old mother.  I was looking for my own story.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when you start to tell people what you are thinking, sometimes they run with it faster than you had planned.  That was my case.  In the following weeks, we had a 12 week plan for me to get to the distance and started to post pictures of me exercising around the building.  There were lots of coaches and people who helped me along the way with encouragement and advice.  There was no way that I was going to let those people down.

Fast forward, after 12 weeks of training and one outdoor run with Mary Junk, local running guru, I showed up to the event on Thursday morning.  Thankfully, the weather was great.  I was able to do my participant greeting before heading on out and met up with my running partners, Rob and Jacob Herda.  We were off and suddenly, 50 minutes later, we were done!  I finished!  Not only did I finish, I ran the whole thing!  Thanks to all the people who helped me get there: Candy, Mary, Rob and Jacob, and many more. 

Here is the real race that I have been racing for the last year.  As I have said before, I have had some health issues and knew that I needed to live a healthier lifestyle.  I have gone through diet changes and have increased my exercise.  I have worked hard, sometimes with success, to leave work at work.  And the results have been paying off.  A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to run the 5 mile race, I was barely running life’s race.  This year, 5 miles down and new goal to come.  I have lowered my blood sugar and cholesterol scores so that I don’t have to take any medications.  I am healthier and moving in the right direction.

Now the morale of the story.  Where are you at on life’s journey?  How do you need help?  How can we help?  We can be healthier when we are in community with one another.  I can speak about that from personal experience.  The results are showing and they can for you too.

If I can set a goal and complete it, anyone can.  We are here to help.

See you at the Y!

Steve Smith, CEO

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.