“You have to be the one to choose to live a healthier life. No one else can do it for you. Running is definitely a mental game. Don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t finish, because you can. The biggest part is you have to decide you want to do it.” Kobee Turley
‘Off to the Races’
A choice to begin running helps friends discover new hobby
By Sarah Gooding
Friends Cassee Hulsey and Kobee Turley were workout buddies at the Joplin Family YMCA for quite some time when they decided to give running a try in fall 2018.
“A lot of my friends at the Y run,” Hulsey said. “They helped motivate me because I was always that person who said, ‘I can’t run.’”
Turley knew she could run – high school sports taught her that, along with cultivating a distaste for running in general.
“I’ve been an athlete my whole life,” she said. “I’ve always hated running. In school you’re always told, ‘You have to do this and you have to do that.’”
But together, the friends opted to up their workout game, adding cardio to their regimens of lifting and ZUMBA.
“A few months ago, we decided we both needed to do some sort of cardio, so we got this running plan and decided to try it,” Turley said. “It was not easy, and it was sort of a mental thing.”
Having a plan to stick to and the encouragement of friends helped, and Hulsey said once she got up the guts to try it, she was able to lean on her own sports background to keep going.
“It was the competitiveness,” she said. “If all these people tell me I can do it, surely I can do it.”
She also said it helped to be surrounded by other friends who were doing what they also once thought was impossible.
Just a couple months after starting to train, the pair signed up for the Turkey Trot 5K, which, once they got past the starting line nerves and onto the course, helped cement a passion for their new sport.
“I was so nervous,” Turley said. “When I started, though, it was fun. I wasn’t running because someone else told me to do it. I was running because I wanted to.”
Hulsey also said she dealt with pre-race jitters, and then found the course to be hillier than expected, but she still beat her initial goal time.
“They reversed the route so there were hills, and I had to walk the hills,” she said, but added that crossing the finish line was a significant milestone and one that will keep her pursuing new goals.
Both friends turned around and signed up for the Ugly Sweater 5K in December, and Hulsey said she tentatively has set a 2019 goal of running a 5k each month.
For Hulsey, this is continued progress stemming from an initial decision in January 2017 to quit smoking after 12 years and to join the gym.
“I lost 45 pounds just getting off the couch and quitting smoking,” she said, adding that she’s given every excuse in the book along the way, but has then overcome them.
“If you feel discouraged, just keep going, because anybody can do it,” she said.
Turley agreed, noting the most challenging part is overcoming internal hurdles.
“You have to be the one to choose to live a healthier life,” she said. “No one else can do it for you. Running is definitely a mental game. Don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t finish, because you can. The biggest part is you have to decide you want to do it.”