Resolving to be healthier in Bremerton

Ruby Moss, left, and Dee Tuttle, part of Bremerton Family YMCA’s morning running group, go on a run last week.  - Kristin Okinaka
Ruby Moss, left, and Dee Tuttle, part of Bremerton Family YMCA’s morning running group, go on a run last week.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka

For someone who not too long ago ate fatty foods and watched TV in bed, completing her first 5-kilometer race is a big accomplishment.

For 50-year-old Carol Lara, there was no better time to do it than New Year’s Day with the Bremerton Family YMCA’s Resolution Run Series, that hosts a run the first Sunday of the month beginning Jan. 1 and each month until April.

“I felt exhilarated, I’m not a morning person but I made myself get up and do it,” Lara said. “It was a positive spin on starting my new year.”

Seventy-eight people ran in the first run of the series — either completing a 5K or 5-miles. The next run in the series is scheduled at 9 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 and will begin and end at the Bremerton Family YMCA.

Each month, participants can choose to increase their distance or stick to the original 5K course. Lara said she aims to complete the 10-kilometer course in February.

The events are not officially timed and are open to both runners and walkers. Non-YMCA members are also welcome to participate and can register on run days.

Lara began working out at the YMCA in December 2010 and since then has lost 116 pounds. For her, this equates to wearing a men’s size 44 and now wearing jeans that are a size 28. She added that she had been taking diabetic and blood pressure medications for 15 years but as of last August has been able to stop taking them because she is healthier now.

“I like the way I live now,” Lara said. “The more you do it, the easier it gets.”

The Bremerton resident is at the YMCA six days a week. She begins her routine in the weight room lifting and then either cycles for about an hour or is on the track running and walking. When she first showed up at the ‘Y,’ she walked a quarter of a mile around the track.

Now she is able to run with intermittent fast-paced walking for a continuous eight miles.

Lara’s father died at the age 59 because of his diabetes. Her partner had walked out on her and she didn’t know anyone else in Bremerton since she had moved from California.

“I had to decide to sink or swim,” she said. “I decided to be a survivor.”

Lara’s resolution this year is to maintain her healthy eating and exercise habits — as well as bring art back into her life through painting and writing.

Every new year is a time when many like Lara either continue to live healthy or make a new resolution to do so.

“This is the line-drawn-in-the-sand moment,” said Dee Tuttle, members services director at the Bremerton Family YMCA.

Tuttle said that the ‘Y’ always gets a surge of new members at the start of the year because many make resolutions to get fit. The Bremerton Family YMCA had 89 new members as of the evening of Jan. 3, she said.

Over in Silverdale, the Haselwood Family YMCA had 1,058 new members join between Jan. 1 and the morning of Jan. 10, said Clayton DeNault, associate executive director.

All YMCA facilities in the Puget Sound area have waived the joining fee for the entire month of January. In past years, the joining fee had only been waived on the first day of the year.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but you always see an uptick in January,” said DeNault.

The feeling of camaraderie, in that everyone is working together for their own fitness goals, can be a motivator, said Tuttle.

“It’s contagious,” she said of most people’s “can-do” attitude at the beginning of the year. “They feed each other. It’s like a frenzy.”

Getting them to stick around and continue their healthy ways can be the real fight. Tuttle said that if a person can sustain whatever form of exercise they are doing for at least 90 days, a habit can be formed and they will typically continue to do it.

At the Bremerton Family YMCA, one way people can maintain a new year’s resolution of exercising — and getting motivation from others — is with a running group. The ‘Y’ has a morning and afternoon running group that meets every Tuesday and Thursday year-round, no matter what the weather is outside.

“I just like being outdoors and feeling the fresh air up my nose,” said Ruby Moss, volunteer instructor for the morning running group. “I very rarely if ever run on a treadmill.”

Moss has been running for nearly 30 years and is planning on running the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon in June, which goes from Sequim to Port Angeles. Although she runs about four times a week and enjoys running half marathons, Moss said she started running when she was in her 30s as a way to lose weight and feel better about herself.

“I don’t know what else to do now,” she said.

Tuttle herself has a resolution to get back into running. She was out with the running group at 10 a.m. Tuesday with Moss and others.

“It’s hard but it’s worth it,” Tuttle said.

For Lara, who describes her former self as being a “bed potato” — rather than a couch potato because she didn’t even get out of bed to watch TV — taking exercise one step at a time without pushing too hard too soon is key.

“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away,” Lara said. “You can’t change everything at once. It’s the fact that you show up and do anything.”

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