Editor’s note: Every two weeks, the Sunday Dispatch will provide updates on the progress of the Wyoming Valley Lady Striders Couch to 5K program. Will they have what it takes to cross the finish line this September? Stay tuned.
WYOMING — Catherine (Rose) Testa celebrated her birthday Monday and got married at dawn on an Ocean City beach Tuesday.
By the time Wednesday rolled around, she wasn’t thinking about the Wyoming Valley Lady Striders Couch to 5K program. However, her new husband Tony talked her into sticking with the program less than 48 hours after the two were hitched.
The eight-week walk-to-run exercise program entered its fourth week Aug. 1. This two months of hard work culminates with the first Book It Through Pittston Literacy 5K Run/Fun Walk, which is scheduled for scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. The 5K will be run through the same course as the annual Tomato Festival 5K.
Testa, 48, a Pittston resident who lived in West Pittston for 25 years, admitted she doesn’t do a whole lot of running. In fact, she hopes she gets through the program without dying, she laughed.
One of the reasons she decided to enter the Couch to 5K program is because of her son Tom Rose, who attends Penn State Wilkes-Barre. He recently developed a new workout regimen.
“My son inspired me to do this,” she said. “He went from doing nothing to working out five days a week.”
When Testa used to hit the gym, she would take on the elliptical, lift weights or just go for walks. The Couch to 5K program allows her to get the proper training, she said.
“I always wanted to run, but then you get that itch in your side and you feel like you’re going to die,” Catherine said. “This way I have good training and learn how to breathe and work slowly and work your way up. I don’t feel like I want to die yet.”
The program, coached by Back Mountain resident Karen Moskel, the co-founder of Lady Striders, has 15 women participating. The group meets three times per week, with the program changing each week. At the beginning, the participants alternate between walking and running, until it’s time for the 5K in September.
When the 5K does roll around, Testa hopes she can finish. She said if she were to do a 5K four weeks ago, she would have to walk nearly the whole thing. Now she hopes she can run more than she walks.
She also hopes the entire group can finish as one unit.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she said. “We’re all in the same boat. Not too many of us have really been running. It’s amazing to see all the different age groups.”
The most difficult part in the first several weeks of the program, Testa said, has been the heat.
But there’s only been encouragement from her new husband, she said.
“I think it sounds cool to say you ran your first 5K when you’re 48,” Testa said.
Testa has another son, Jay Rose, who recently graduated from King’s College.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick