Runner adds core strength through Waynesboro YMCA

ymca fitnessMoments after Gloria Howell crossed the finish line at the Fall Foliage 5K, she was texting her personal trainer at the Waynesboro YMCA, Trish LaGrua.

Their months of hard work had paid off, big time, was the gist of the message.

“I was looking at my times, and I’m at the same pace I was 13 years ago when I started running. Which is just remarkable. I think there’s a lot to be said, especially in my age group. Most people my age are getting slower and slower,” said Howell, who joined the Y in February.

Howell finished second in the 60-69 female age group at the 5K, but it wasn’t race medals that got her to the Y.

She was looking to freshen up her health and fitness routine, and she’s tried practically everything the Y has to offer.

“If you want to come and be by yourself and just pump some iron in the weight room, you can do that. You can go up in the cardio room and do the bike or elliptical or treadmill and be by yourself. If you want to come up here and take some classes, there is such a variety of classes, and you can also be a little more social. There is something for everybody, literally,” Howell said.

“Just try things. That would be my message to people. I’ve even tried some of the water classes, and I’m not a swimmer. But I tried it. I tried the cycling classes. There are things that I don’t like, but I’ve tried everything,” Howell said.

Howell has run 43 road races since picking up running back in 2004, including five half-marathons and one full marathon.

Before joining the YMCA, running and walking was the extent of what she did in terms of fitness.

Now, she is in two group fitness classes a day, six days a week, at the Y, and she has seen vast improvement in her overall fitness.

“I’ve never had the upper-body and core strength that I’ve had now,” Howell said. “I’ve always walked and run, but I’ve seldom done anything else. I’ve really built up my core and upper-body strength, and that helps.”

Story by Chris Graham

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