Barry Paschal is a Columbia County resident who serves as senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA - He retired after 30 years in Augusta media, most recently as publisher as The Columbia County News-Times. Follow on Twitter @barrypaschal
Posted February 20, 2013 10:03 am - Updated February 20, 2013 10:08 am

Let's hit the road together

Welcome to Paschal’s Pace, my new blog for beginning runners and those who are interested in information and inspiration for helping to improve their health and fitness.


First off, thanks to Donna Wasden Smith for coming up with the name for this blog, and thanks to the folks who helped talk me into it. Donna wins a $10 gift card from Starbucks, the official fuel of overcaffeinated couch-surfers and runners alike.


Many of those who know me probably think, "Gee, Barry is going to give fitness advice? Isn’t that sort of like Homer Simpson promoting a proper diet?"


Well, not really. I’ve been on a personal journey for a little more than a year to improve my own health since being diagnosed with high blood pressure and general slovenliness. I’d enjoyed running when I was in college and loved playing ultimate Frisbee – an incredible cardio workout – but since then had lapsed in middle age into bad habits, too little exercise and too much unhealthy eating.


Inspired by Dr. Paul Fischer, who told me I was headed to early death, and by Bill Kirby, who runs each year in Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race despite being a few (OK, many) years older than me, I started running. My first goal: To be able to run in the Run for Aimee 5K for Aimee Copeland, who lost multiple limbs to an infect.


I did it, and I was hooked. I made it a habit to run on a weekly schedule, sometimes almost to the point of obsessiveness. Several 5K races and a couple of 10Ks later, my health is better and I’m constantly looking for the next race. I no longer hope to just finish without collapsing, like I did with that first 5K; now I try to beat my time from the previous race, and to finish well in my over-50 age group.


Let me tell you: Even for a slow running like me, there are few things more satisfying that huffing past a 20-something straining to make it to the finish line.


My intent here (after today, that is) isn’t to talk about me, but instead to pass along running tips and occasional fitness information. Help me out in that regard: If you’ve found a particular program or regimen or resource useful, send me a note and I’ll share it.


I’ll also provide information on upcoming races so veteran runners can plan for their next victory, and beginners can set their next goal.


Let’s hit the road!