Julie Tiesworth

Juli Tiesworth, Traverse City

So, this picture is of myself and good friend Kathyrn Baumann. We each have two kiddos that are 5 and under ... so this was a well-deserved girls trip!  I work for TCAPS [Traverse City Area Public Schools] on behalf of the Michigan Fitness Foundation, and I actually "won" the registration for two people into a race of my choice through a contest held by the Harvest of the Month program. Honestly, I chose the Great Turtle Trail Run on Mackinac Island since I knew they have good shopping deals on the island during that weekend in October, as it marks the end of their tourist season! I had joked about "what kind of prize allows for you to register to run!" I am an athletic person, but definitely not a runner. Kathryn was a cross country runner in college. I knew that she would enjoy the race, and I was just hoping to not embarrass myself. I am the varsity softball coach at TC West and I knew that if I was too slow, my (super fit, young) players would make fun of me!

Although I started running a bit in August, I would barely call it training. My husband is an avid runner so he tried to motivate me with new running shoes and fancy GPS running apps. I ran 2–4 miles maybe twice a week ... and would skip weeks occasionally. I really just made a conscious effort to run whenever the opportunity presented itself.

We had a great time at this race! The weather was perfect, and the scenery is beautiful. I do think that a healthy lifestyle can lead to a happy lifestyle. However, I think that people can be so hard on themselves. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a constant challenge for most, and even small improvements should be celebrated. Anytime I can fit in a run or yoga session—even if the run is slow or my posture is poor—I know that it's better than not moving! This race was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone since it was the first time I ran more than 5 miles at one time. However, it has motivated me to participate in more races. I guess it's never too late to make healthier choices!