As they have for years, Chandra Snively and Chrissy Lucas met New Year’s Day at Wichita’s downtown YMCA to take part in the annual Frosty 5K run.
Except they missed the 9:30 a.m. start of Wednesday’s 2014 event because they came a half hour late.
“I got the time wrong,” said Snively, a Winfield resident.
The YMCA branches were all having their annual New Year’s Day open house Wednesday, so the women went inside and worked out. Just as well.
Snively has multiple sclerosis and has had problems recently with her balance and legs, so she said it was better that she was exercising in a confined space this year.
Nothing prevents these two women from keeping their annual date on New Year’s Day. Shortly after Lucas had back surgery two years ago, they took part in the Frosty 5K on New Year’s Day 2012.
“It’s not so much a New Year’s resolution as it is recommitting to our health every year and our friendship,” said Lucas, of Clearwater. “No matter what we do the night before.”
Plenty of folks make getting physically fit part of their goals for the new year.
“We see a high volume in January, February and March,” said Jessica Rall, an associate executive at the West Branch YMCA. “Then it starts to slow down here a little bit.”
Some of it’s because people want to get outside after the winter. Others go to a YMCA branch with water parks.
And then there are those who lose their motivation to drop weight or get in better shape, Rall said.
“Sometimes you hear people say they want to lose 50 pounds in two months,” she said. “It takes time to get results.
“It helps to get into a regular routine – even if it’s for four weeks – to get plugged in.”
Nothing motivates like working out with a partner.
Over the past 14 months, Greg Williams and his wife, Deanna, have lost 100 pounds between them. They eat healthier and come to the Y four times a week, he said.
“We decided it was out of control,” Greg said after he and Deanna wrapped up a New Year’s Day workout at the West Branch Y. “We needed a healthier lifestyle.”
As high school referee for football and basketball, Greg said, “I wanted to be more fit. I wanted to be better at keeping up with those high school kids.”
Deanna’s mother started the push for the whole family to get in better physical condition about five years ago when the Williamses’ first son was born. Greg’s mom started walking regularly for exercise two years ago.
Now the whole family is involved. They play capture the flag and other outdoor games or just take a walk.
“We try to do more than just eat when we get together now,” Deanna said.
The results could be seen when the family was together at Christmas and watching home videos.
“I was thinking, ‘Most people look at those and wish they could look like that again,’ ” Deanna said. “And we were thinking, ‘Wow, we don’t want to look like that again.’ We look so much better and feel so much better.”
Jodi McAninch was working up a sweat on a stationary bike at the West Branch Y on Wednesday. New Year’s Day and resolutions had nothing to do with her being there.
Just being fit did. She got serious about it 2 1/2 years ago after having her first baby.
As a nurse, she knew it was important.
“I see all these bad things that happen when you don’t work out,” McAninch said. “How could I sit there and tell someone they need to do it when I’m not?”
She had mixed results at first.
“I wanted to lose baby weight and get active,” she said, “but I couldn’t get myself motivated on my own and it was hard to work out with an infant.”
So she took advantage of the West Branch’s day care and started coming three times a week. About a year and half ago she began riding a stationary bike and will start Thursday teaching a weekly bike class at the Y.
“It’s motivation for me to be here an extra day,” McAninch said. “So in that sense, it is a New Year’s thing. I took on the challenge for the new year.”
At the downtown Y, Snively and Lucas talked about also following their usual pattern and committing to doing a 5K run or two during the year. Or at least something fitness related every quarter.
“But life happens,” Snively said.
Both are married, have children and work in Wichita. Lucas is a life enhancement coordinator at the Kansas Masonic Home; Snively is a mortician.
“Some years we end up doing more because life allows it,” Lucas said. “But no matter what, we do this on New Year’s Day.”
Except for a few years when Snively lived in Kansas City, they’ve been doing the Frosty 5K since they met 11 years ago in Clearwater. Snively worked out at Clearwater’s wellness center where Lucas was employed.
Lucas ran marathons and half marathons until a degenerative back problem developed a couple of years ago.
“I gained weight,” Lucas said. “I can’t run again.”
Both women walk or jog the 5K, depending on how their health is at the time.
“My M.S. limits me sometimes,” Snively said, “but I do as much as I can.”
They keep things simple.
“We don’t do resolutions, like ‘I am going to lose 20 pounds,’ ” Lucas said. “That doesn’t work. You set yourself up to fail. Doing this 5K is our thing, and we go from there.
“My New Year’s resolution this year is to just live simply.”
Snively said: “My resolution is to be healthy. I always want to be healthier than I was the year before.”
Besides, Lucas added, “Happiness is being healthy and being with friends.”
Which is what they both were doing this New Year’s Day.