every runner has a story

Meet Roxanne Youngs

► from: Depauville, NY
► started running: 2013, at age 59
► first 5k 2013, first marathon 2016, first IronMan 2020
►volunteer race director for the LRC Mayfaire 5k

You may know Roxanne Youngs by her hashtag  #whatsyourgrandmadoingtoday and maybe you think of her as the little engine that could (do anything!).  In her story, she shares how it took her forever to get up the nerve to go the LRC group runs and how looking back, going is one of the best things that has ever happened to her. 

Roxanne’s story of her introduction to running and the Lakeland Runners Club is told via her journal entries.

January 26, 2013 I ran my first 5k at the Raging Races at Lake Parker. I won my age group and was so thrilled and liked it when people said, “You’re not even sweating.”  One of my students were there and his mom said, “Mrs. Youngs passed you on the first turn.”  I didn’t know that were fun events like this. I am hooked!

February 23, 2013  The big day is here for the Polk Senior Games.  God be with me. I met Debi Brightwell, she just turned 50 and said her parents always ran in the Senior Games.  She ran by me saying “You are fast, but you don’t know how to run.” I thought this would be old people having fun. They were out for blood!

Ran those races and got five silver and one bronze.  Legs hurt like hell! Especially after the 50 and the 100 meters.  Met lots of nice people though. Someone suggested I buy a running book.  Good advice.

February 24, 2013  Cannot hardly walk and can’t bend my knees.

March 9, 2013  The Senior Games 5k. This will be my second 5k.  Woke up every hour on the hour and it’s so cold out. I ran one lap to warm up.  Mary Beth Freeman ran about 6 laps.  She says she runs 7 times a week or every day.  I ran the course in 28:15 and Mary Beth ran it in 23.  I got the silver and Jackie Wallace got the bronze.

March 10, 2013  Joined the Lakeland Runners Club. Time to take my fitness in a new direction.

April 28, 2013  I finished reading my Running for Idiots book by Bill Rodgers and Scott Douglas. I could have never guessed that one day Bill Rodgers would kiss me at the NYC Marathon. I went to FitNiche to pay for the Mayfaire race.

May 11, 2013  Went to Mayfaire and there were a couple thousand people there.  Yikes, I felt like running away.  Some people said it was bad luck to wear your running shirt during the race. I ran my usual pace; the hills didn’t bother me and I really poured it on at the end.  My time was 29:05 which is slow for me but maybe okay for that race with the hills and turns.  When they announced the winners, I was faster than 3rd, then faster than 2nd, then faster than 1st.  They said I had not put my age on the application.  They gave me an award cup and brushed me off.  I am still going to try to get them to fix it on the web site.

May 13, 2013  Got a text from a gym partner that I had been put in first place for Mayfaire on the Lakeland Runners Club website.  Life is good.

May 14, 2013  Principal Hartley called me to his office and said, “We are getting a cross country team and you are going to coach them while you are practicing that running.”  Marc Zimmerman had gotten cross country put into the public schools.  I’m still coaching cross country at my school.

May 28, 2013 Reading the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  A rite of passage for runners.

June 15, 2013  Walked the Holloway cross country course with Mitchell Harvey because I had broken my rib two days before and it was too painful to run.  Mitchell said he had already run 6 miles this morning.  I met Alan Turney that day and thought “what a nice person.”

May 10, 2014  Mayfaire 5k.  Hope my legs are okay.  They sure feel stiff.  I have already walked 6 miles.  I came in third and was so disappointed that my time was slower than last year.  I have to train better.  Sonya was nice and took my picture.  Her husband Ken Steckert ran it in like 20 minutes.

June 7, 2014   Watermelon Series. Great Race this morning.  I wouldn’t do this race last year because I was worried there would be no bathrooms and of course there were no bathrooms.  I guess everyone got an email this morning that the port-o-lets were not delivered.  Debi Brightwell ran good considering she is in recovery from her snow skiing accident.  She is going to train with me at 6 AM at Mitchell’s Coffee House.  She is running the NYC Marathon and I am doing the Red Ribbon Half in November.

June 14, 2014  Up at 4:30 to meet Debi at Mitchells.  She’s injured and I had to push to keep up with her.  We ran around the lakes, 6.5 miles.  I felt great after even though my hair was soaked with sweat.

August 16, 2014  Ran 10 miles with Debi Brightwell, Kristi Lawrence and Gail Hardy.  Kristi said I could sit with her and her friends at Mitchell’s while Debi went out and ran four more miles.

September 13, 2014  Aching Quad.  The first race felt awful.  The second was better.  I am trying to hold onto first place.  I have almost a four minute advantage going into the fourth race.  I grabbed some ice packs at the house for my foot.  The top of my right foot started hurting really bad after cross country on September 4th.  I ran the 4th race at a steady pace and passed Rob Mason at the end.  I ran slower but I just wanted to keep my lead and finish well.  I couldn’t hardly walk afterwards.

November 11, 2014  Freezing outside.  Ran the Lake to Lake 10k and got female grandmaster because Rhonda Fosser didn’t run.  I wanted to beat last year’s time and I really tried but didn’t.  I never go all out anyway.  I want running to be easy.  I made some guy run his butt off trying to outrun me though.  He said thanks.  How sweet.  Couldn’t get warm after that race.

November 7, 2014  Red Ribbon Half Marathon this morning. I saw Betsy Slay just before we got to Highlands Boulevard. Robby was at the finish line.  I took 2nd but I could have taken first had I known that I even had a chance.  I got beat by two minutes by a gal that I always outrun by six. First half marathon though and I was sick all week with a virus.  I need more training.

November 29, 2014 Up early to go to the Christina 5K.  It was great to see Debi Brightwell, Joe Del Valle and so many familiar faces at the race.  Fritz Elmhorst outran me for the first time.  He’s usually a couple of minutes behind me.  My legs didn’t hurt but my body felt pushed.  I’m his rabbit.

January 5, 2015 I finally got the nerve to go to the Santa Fe track workouts with the Lakeland Runners Club.  Milton Lyons coaches there and works at FitNiche.  Felt like I ran around that track a zillion times.  People were really nice, and it was a small group.

January 8, 2015 Went to the Red Elephant with the Lakeland Runners Club for the first time.  I sat with Kristi Lawrence and Debi’s husband Scott.  Chuck McDanal is amazing and anxious to make the club better. The man has lists!  You gotta love a man with lists.

January 13, 2015 Went to the Red Door Wine Market for the first time and ran with the Lakeland Runners Club.  It was so much fun and I ran pretty fast for not knowing where I was going.  I did well on the hill and a guy was running in his bare feet.  There were about 150 people there.

January 24, 2015  Signed up for the first Holloway Park Half Marathon on February 7, 2015.

January 29, 2015 Right foot is still hurting.  I went to Florida Southern College to run the hills for the first time with the Lakeland Runners Club.  Dave Quarles was telling me how to get back after I couldn’t go any further, but he ended up taking me through all 10 hills and he said I had a great VO max.  Nice.

February 6, 2015 Rotary Twilight 5k.  Foot hurt but I got first place because Rhonda Fosser got Masters. Georgie Gillis got Grandmaster.

February 7, 2015 The Holloway Half Marathon.  Wore the Fila Skeletoes that Robby bought me and took 15 minutes off my Holloway Park time.  It was about 40 degrees and I took first in my age group .

February 8, 2015  I renewed my Lakeland Runners Club membership for another year.

February 12, 2015 Went to the Lakeland Runners Club meeting again at the Red Elephant.  I had to sit with strangers, but I will probably go again.  It is so hard for me to fit in, but Debi Brightwell wanted to talk to me afterwards about getting some creative ideas for the van they are using in their Key West relay.

March/21/2015 Promise Run.  I took first place and Cookie Quarles took second.  Someone from the Lakeland Runners Club ran with me for a bit offering encouragement.  I wish I knew who they were.  Went to Mitchell’s for breakfast.  Everyone is so nice.  I enjoyed listening to Vicki Powell sing TV theme songs.  Sharon Nance said you don’t remember me, but I went down in the Aching Quad and you pulled me up and encouraged me to finish.

March 28, 2015  Loop the Lake 5k.  I got overall female masters because all the ladies from the Lakeland Runners Club were volunteering for the race.

April 7, 2015  Coached my first track meet.  Had 40 kids on the bus.  They did great and I had a lot of happy parents.

May 9, 2015  Mayfaire 5k.  I took 3rd and felt like I was running so slow but had a PR for that course.  Robby introduced me to the Lakeland Brewing Company.  Linda Snavely and Rob Mason were there.

June 6, 2015 Watermelon Series Lakeland Runners Club.

June 29, 2015 Signed up for the Tick Tock Ultra Relay Team.  Jason McCollum, Betsy Slay, Kathy Cargal, and Mary Ellen Mendoza.

July 9, 2015 Lakeland Runners Club meeting at Cleveland Heights.  I ran with Betsy Slay.  Kristi Lawrence asked me to sit with a new member, Pamela Smith.  Bob Pfeiffer sat with us also.

September 26, 2015 I ran the Tick Tock Ultra with Betsy Slay

March 5, 2016 Amanda Speakman took me to Albany, Georgia Marathon.  My first day off work in 17 years.

September 3, 2016 Pinellas Trail Challenge 46 miles

September 24, 2016 Tick Tock Ultra

January 29, 2017 Ran the Celebration Marathon with Pamela Smith

March 25, 2017 I ran the Tomoka Marathon

September 2, 2017 I ran the Pinellas Trail Challenge 46 miles

September 23, 2017 I ran the Tick Tock Ultra

October 8, 2017 Sarah Kozul took me to run the Chicago Marathon with Yvonne Robinson

January 7, 2018 I ran the Disney 25th Anniversary marathon with Pamela Smith.

September 16, 2018 Sarah Kozul took me to run the Berlin Marathon with Amanda Speakman.

November 4, 2018 I ran the New York City Marathon

December 1, 2018 I was elected to the Lakeland Runners Club board of directors at the annual member meeting. 

January 7, 2019 At the January board meeting, Byrl Arnold and I volunteered to be the race directors for the Mayfaire 5k.


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