By LoVie Schmidt
My name is La Verne, but everyone calls me LoVie, and with 80 years around the sun under my belt, I know that staying active is one of the most important things in life. That’s why I walk.
I remember reading the newspaper at my home in Appleton, when I saw an article about the Fox Cities Marathon. While 13.1 miles seemed out of reach, the ThedaCare Half Marathon still piqued my interest. That week I started walking around the neighborhood and eventually signed myself up.
With all my kids out of the house, it was a perfect activity to get me on my feet and give me something to do.
That was 15 years ago. Today, taking on the 13.1 miles in the half marathon is a little bit harder, but it is something I have continued to push myself to do. It has helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. When my husband Ronnie passed away, my walking was there to get me out of the house. When my sister got sick and was confined to a wheelchair, training for the half marathon helped me to keep my head up.
With the half marathon coming up again, I try to walk at least 3.5 hours once a week, which is about how long it takes me to walk the half marathon. I also try to do little exercises through the week to keep myself limber and maintain my balance, as many of my family members have died from heart complications.
I’m learning that while we can’t control everything, we can control what we put into our bodies, and what we do with them. I’ve also learned that the saying “use or lose it” is very true, especially as you get older. So, making a point to keep active as long as possible, helps me be able to still get around on my own.
I hope that my story inspires others to keep their health in mind and get out and walk. Lord knows, I didn’t think I would be walking marathons at 80-years-old, but here I am. While I won’t be the fastest on the course, and I’m not trying to be, I will be out there with all of you and I’m cheering for each and every one of you on race day!