Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions and a lot of people are planning to get in shape and eat healthy. Adoptions From The Heart, a non-profit, full service adoption agency based in Wynnewood, PA is planning their third annual Find Her Footing 5K for Sunday, April 12th originally with a very special addition.
Adoptive father, Chris Staehle was planning on running a 50K…that’s right…31 miles from the AFTH office in Delaware to the start of the Find Her Footing 5K at Delaware County Community College in Pennsylvania. A running accident and a torn ACL will keep him from running his planned course, but he is still dedicated to supporting the mission of AFTH. The inaugural AFTH Find Her Footing 5K in 2013 was Staehle’s first 5K and it inspired him to keep on running. “What better way to complete my first ultra marathon than to do complete it while raising money and awareness for the birthmother fund? If I can help make a difference for someone who is involved in the adoption process, then it will all be worth it,” he explained.
The Inspiration Behind the Man
Chris and his wife began working with Adoptions From The Heart in November of 2012 and adopted their son in December 2013. “My wife and her sisters are adopted, so we strongly believe in and support the work that Adoptions From The Heart does for thousands of families and the community,” Chris said. “In addition to raising awareness and funds for AFTH, I’m hoping to prove that average people working full time and raising a family can truly push their physical and mental limits with this sort of undertaking.”
Chris pointed to a quote from Neil DeGrasse Tyson that spoke to him when considering the upcoming 50K, “in whatever you choose to do, do it because it’s hard, not because it’s easy. For every hard thing you accomplish, fewer other people are out there doing the same thing as you. And in the limit of this, everyone beats a path to your door because you’re the only one around who understands the impossible concept or who solves the unsolvable problem.” With this 50K undertaking, Chris would have been doing just that. He hoped that he can turn this accomplishment into an annual event and that more people will dare to tackle the distance alongside him. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” Chris remarked confidently. Now… we call to you to make the 50K a reality once again, here is how.
How to Keep Up: On Social Media and On Race Day
Chris was planning on updating his social media accounts, @AFTH_50k on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and afth50k.wordpress.com, which you can be sure to follow for up to date information on his recovery and training process. AFTH wants to encourage other runners to consider taking on this long distance and Chris has helped to prepare you for the feat.
Chris’s Top Tips for Running a 5K (or a 50K)
1. Always remember, you get what you pay for. You don’t have to always buy top-of-the line sneakers and gear, but never go with the cheap stuff. Go to a specialty running store, like Bryn Mawr Running Company, to get professionally fitted for sneakers, or give a few different brands a try before you embark on a long-term training plan – some stores will have generous return policies, but always check before you buy.
2. The more miles you run and more time you spend running require more carbs, but try and give yourself at least two hours after a meal before running. Natural fruits and veggies give you much more energy than energy bars or gels, but may not be so convenient to carry during a race (that’s when the gels/bars come in handy).
3. If you need to run with music by all means, rock out as you wish, but keep the following in mind. When running on busy roads or in parks, you need to be aware of your surroundings (for your safety as well as safety of others). Wearing headphones/earbuds also cuts off the sounds of your breathing and your focus on body movements/stride/gait. Pay attention to your body.
4. Avoid stretching without warming up, so do a quick 5 minute walk or slow jog to loosen up first. Always build in 10-15 minutes into your workout time for stretching so you aren’t cramming your stretches in. Focus on your legs and lower back, but give your arms and upper body a chance to loosen up as well.
5. Be realistic! Unless you think you can win the race, don’t kill yourself with training. Shoot for a personal best. Overtraining leads to frustration, frustration leads to more overtraining, overtraining leads to injury, and then you may lose your enjoyment of running. Better to back off the training and live to run another day than get injured trying to run a 14-minute 5k.
6. It takes a long time for your body to adjust to the cold weather. Start with 1-2 runs per week outside, maybe for 20-30 minutes each, and do your remaining runs on a treadmill. Every few weeks, add one more outside run to your schedule. Always try to run outside as a first option! The treadmill is in a controlled environment so your body may not adjust to the elements as fast, but if the weather is nasty outside or if you simply don’t have the time to gear up, sometimes the treadmill may be the only option. It’s better to run on a treadmill than not run at all!
Are You Ready for the Find Her Footing 5K?
With Chris inspiring the community, Adoptions From The Heart hopes that local community will come together to support open adoptions and birthparents who are in need. Join in the conversation online through the agency’s social media or with Chris directly and don’t forget to register for the 3rd Annual Find Her Footing 5K by visiting http://tinyurl.com/FindHerFooting3. As an added bonus, if you use the code RUN4AFTH by the end of February you will save $5 off the registration cost! Happy Training!