Growing up, Carol Arsenault always knew she could run. She earned a varsity letter in high school, competing in the half-mile, shot put and discus.
“It always felt so challenging at the beginning of a race, and so rewarding at the finish line,” she said.
Life’s pace picks up
After her junior year, Carol set aside her running shoes in favor of a job – and eventually, a busy life with her husband, three kids and a career as a commercial banker. As her activity level dropped, her weight and cholesterol level climbed. At her annual checkup in 2012, Carol’s physician told her she needed to drop at least 25 pounds off her 5-foot-9 frame to get back into a healthy weight range.
“I didn't want to become that person on a million medications,” Carol recalls. “I realized I needed to make time for me if I wanted to be around for my family. Something had to give.”
Soon after her checkup, Carol made a New Year’s resolution to get back in shape. She took control of her diet and began walking on a treadmill. She succeeded in dropping 10 pounds, but then “It was like I hit a brick wall,” she recalls. “The weight loss came to a standstill.”
Rediscovering her inner athlete
Then a postcard arrived in the mail promoting HAP’s 5K Challenge. Carol signed up and rediscovered running. Designed to guide novices through training for their first 5K run, the 5K Challenge was the jump-start Carol needed.
“The cool thing about HAP’s 5K Challenge is that the training is spelled out – what to do for a half an hour, three times a week,” she says.
Carol also connected with other HAP members in the program’s online chat room and enjoyed the group training runs twice a month.
“It was such a supportive environment,” she says. “Everyone was there to encourage you, hug you and cheer you on.”
Her eating habits improved, too, as she began to view food as fuel. Carol’s cholesterol is back to normal, and she has dropped 40 pounds. She laughed during a recent stress test, when the medical team joked it was going to take a while to tire her out.
Today, the 51-year-old resident from Center Line, Michigan resident runs for something more rewarding than a varsity letter: her personal well-being.
“It feels good to feel in control,” she says. “I’m pretty proud that I’m doing something for my health.”
And now when she’s feeling stress creeping in or the pounds sneaking on, Carol can once again say with confidence, “Well, I know I can run.”
Carol now runs 15 to 20 miles a week on trails, tracks and neighborhood streets.
HAP can help you train!
If you’d like to run a 5K, we can help you get ready with our 5K Challenge program. The HAP Orange Strivers are training right now for the HAP Brooksie Way, a 5K race set for Sept. 25 at Oakland University. For more information or to sign up for training, visit HAP 5K Challenge. You also can sign up for the race at HAP Brooksie Way Registration. HAP and HealthPlus members get an exclusive discount!
Also see related posts:
Get Ready for Your First 5K
On Your Mark, Get Set, Run – in HAP’s 5K Challenge on Sept. 25!