By: Grace Behrens, of myBergen.com
"A thousand mile journey begins with a single step." So said the Taoist philosopher Lao-Tse. For Wyckoff resident Terry Casaletta, that step took place in the parking lot outside of Fleet Feet Mahwah last year. The 56-year-old was set to join No Boundaries, a beginner's 5k training program that the Bergen County running store has been directing for three years. But as she sat in her car she felt some fear about what she was about to do and had to muster up a bit of courage to walk through the door and sign up.
"There was an informational meeting that day," Casaletta recalled. "I wondered who would be there. Would everyone be younger than me? Older? Faster? Slower? But then I said 'What's the worst that could happen?' and I walked right in." It was a move that would change her life.
Casaletta's decision to start running was not unlike most. She wanted to lose weight, be healthier and feel better. As a former recreational runner, Casaletta knew running could do this for her. She started running in her early 40s but an overuse injury brought on by doing too many miles too soon, not resting enough and wearing old sneakers side tracked her. Before she knew it, years passed. "I was suddenly out of shape but when my son went off to college, I thought now is the time–time for me. No Boundaries just seemed doable."
A Slow Build With Quick Results
No Boundaries is co-authored by Fleet Feet nationwide in conjunction with New Balance. "It's designed specifically for beginner runners or runners who may have dabbled in the sport for a bit but need to start from scratch," explained Joe Glotzbier, who owns and operates the Mahwah store with his wife, Jill. "In 12 weeks we take the runner from the couch to a 5k."
The program offers more than just running advice, Glotzbier said. "In addition to increasing endurance, new runners get educated about finding the right shoes, appropriate apparel for various weather conditions, proper nutrition and hydration. With New Balance as the sponsor, members also come away with nice goodies, including a New Balance running jacket."
Casaletta found No Boundaries particularly attractive because it seemed to be geared to protect against the kind of injury she had endured the first time around. "It's a methodical 12-week program that leads up to a 5k race," she said. "The program incorporates running and walking so the buildup is slow but you get results."
The fact that No Boundaries is anchored to a running store is very helpful to Casaletta who had already suffered the consequence of wearing the wrong shoes. But the most important part of the program was the support system she had in her fellow members. "They motivated (and still motivate) me to stick with it."
Friends for Life
After the program concluded, one would guess that the high point and real benefit of No Boundaries was the race itself. For Casaletta, it was much more than that. "The race was so much fun. I wanted three things to happen that day: to finish; to feel good; and not be the last one to the line. I was successful on all counts. But what I didn't plan for was how emotional I got after seeing and hearing my running partners–my friends–cheer me on. They carried me to the finish line. It was such a wonderful moment. I cried all the way home!"