Jeans Marines — Mission Accomplished!
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Older? Yes. Wiser? Perhaps. Sillier?...Most Definitely!
Have you noticed lately that you're getting older? Damned if I wasn't struck by this notion like a slap in the face recently. There I was at my fitness club the other day, stunned by the realization that I'd just experienced a truly "seniors moment" at the tender (everything's relative) age of 35. While hastily throwing on my workout digs in preparation for yet another "abbreviated-due-to-time-and-circumstance" aerobic training session, I overheard a couple of venerable septuagenarian club cronies in the next locker row (that have been members since just after the Great War) conversing fervently about their respective medication regimens. There they were going toe to toe, tit for tat, reminiscent of legendary bar room "show me your scars and I'll show you mine" showdowns. As I pass by their aisle, 3 very unsettling things occured:
First, I stopped and joined them, and before I knew it, I was proffering my own litany of pharmaceutical "aids and opinions" (i.e Lipitor 20mg...what about Crestor?, how's your liver function? Hemoglobin level? What does your nutritionist say about such 'n such? Vioxx is out now...how about Celebrex? Viagra?...don't get me started!), Secondly, and even more shocking...I'm holding my own in the discussion. Finally, and perhaps most shocking of all, I'm kind of enjoying it!
Cripes! I left feeling almost ashamed that I hadn't yet started with regular prostate exams! Ugh, OK, I admit it, I'm getting older--I supose we all are, eh?
However, that doesn't mean we have to surrender to the "corporeal infirmities" wrought by time's passage, does it? Our age is truly just a number...meaningless without context, its interpretation eternally flexible. Isn't it what we do with ourselves, how we think of ourselves, and who we are while around others, that defines our "real" age? We encountered a remarkable "real life" example of this idea (and ideal) of living "young at heart" this past year at Marathon Dynamics...Jeans Marines.
Jeans Marines...Mission Accomplished!
As many of you may know (and some of you may not), MDI accepted the honour and responsibility of coaching and instructing a "fitness phenomenon" known as Jeans Marines (see website at www.jeansmarines.com for more info), that in three short years, has taken the city of Toronto (and beyond) by storm. With it's charismatic leader and founder, Dr. Jean Marmoreo at the helm (and her equally charismatic sidekick, and husband, Bob Ramsay by her side), and with the help of the top-flight Marathon Dynamics staff to guide the 500+ charges this year through the minefields of marathon preparation, this program has helped hundreds upon hundreds of women (and a few good men) become physically fit, re-establish self-confidence and self-reliance, forge powerful social bonds, and accomplish feats beyond their wildest dreams.
When we started up back in January, no one knew what we were in for--participants and instructors alike. What a journey it has been, these past 9 months! Here's a quick update: 270+ of those 500 jetted off to Washington on Halloween weekend to do battle with the marathon monster, while most of those that didn't head south, successfully completed local half and full marathons. And here's a little fact we're particularly proud of…under race conditions nearly as fierce and oppressive as Boston '04, with the medical staff/facilities at Marine Corps overrun with ill, injured and incapacitated runners strewn along the sidelines-every single one of our Jeans Marines finished! (a couple took over 7 hrs, but they finished, damn it!)
I know I speak for all of our coaches, when I say how much we enjoyed the experience of working with Jeans Marines, and that we ourselves certainly learned a great deal from our students. I actually spent more time working with two JeansMarines "Alumni" groups (those that were JeansMarines members the year before), than with the "main" JeansMarines group that our staff so expertly managed--the "newbies" as they were affectionately called--yet we arrived at very similar conclusions. We were all very impressed by the collective spirit, and youthful enthusiasm of this crowd of relatively new "athletes" (what trouble they had referring to themselves as such!). The Alumni Group I worked with quickly and readily embraced the MD philosophy and practices--resulting in an average marathon improvement of about 30 min each by season's end-but along the way, and much more importantly, reminded us so clearly of what running should be all about: fitness and improvement yes, but also fun, teamwork, support, humour, self-discovery and empowerment.
Dealing as we do at Marathon Dynamics with increasingly experienced (and I suppose increasingly quicker) runners, season-in, season-out, year after year, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers, results, and objective science of running-as runners and/or coaches alike, and lose perspective on these "essential building blocks" of long-term running success. And so, we thank you Jeans Marines, Newbies and Alumni alike, for reminding us what running is all about, it's purpose, it's passion, and its proper place amongst life's many priorities.
We're just putting the finishing touches on the program for next year, so more info will follow shortly, but in the meantime, if you are curious about becoming involved, either as a participant or as an instructor, coach or assistant (or know of someone who might be), please do give us a shout.