Monday, July 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Game Time!

// Pierce County Match-up weight loss contest is on

This is part four of writer David B. Hardt's report on his and his team's, The 5k Freaks, involvement in the Pierce County Match-up weight loss challenge.

On March 16, the 5k Freaks made their way to Lakewood YMCA to get started in the Pierce County Match-up. It was quickly apparent that the Freaks are not alone on their journey to weight loss, as over 1,200 people have joined the contest. With so much competition, the 5k Freaks realize it isn't going to be a walk in the park – more like a long, hard run in the neighborhood. The Freaks waited patiently for their official weigh-ins, lining up with creatively named teams like Bootylicious, Drop It Like It's Hot, Not-So-Thin Blue Line, and No More Man Boobs. During their wait for their weight, the Freaks had plenty to say about stepping on the scales.

Justeen Allen was excited to get things started, but she admittedly turned her back on her diet one last time before getting serious. "I think it’s going to be a really high number today. I went off my diet, so basically, after the weigh-in, it's back to healthy eating and working hard on my new, healthy life. I am shooting for 160 today,” said a laughing Allen.

The reality of the contest became real to the 5k Freaks member Cheryl Hasson after seeing the lines of people signing up and weighing in. Hasson, a bit camera shy, is slowly becoming accustomed to being followed by cameras during workouts. So many eyes watching her progress may be just the motivation she needs. “I am actually nervous about the whole thing. I hate being on camera, and I just still feel like a big cow. I really want to lose a lot more weight, so this is just another step in the right direction. Basically, I am going to work hard on eating, drinking the right things, and work out more with the team," she said, steeling herself for the journey she'll undertake in front of the lens.

The official weigh-in for the 5k Freaks was announced to a crowd of onlookers and a video viewing audience: Allen, 161 pounds; Hasson, 156 pounds; Hardt, 220 pounds; McCormick, 200 pounds; and Dejesus, 169 pounds.

After the weigh-in, the team celebrated the official start of the contest by taking a typical 5-mile run that didn't turn out so typical at all. As my fellow Freaks and I approached the last stretch, I suddenly experienced a slight cramp in my right calf, but even stopping and stretching did not help, for the damage had already been done. The strain of my right calf was discouraging, but I was confident I could maintain my weight loss in the gym and on the bike. Unfortunately, the injury kept me on the sidelines during the Freaks' participation in the St. Patty's Day 5k race at Fort Lewis, but three other 5k Freaks were still ready to give it their all.

On March 17, Mike McCormick , Ramon Wood and Cheryl Hasson took to the course, hoping the luck of the Irish was on their side. Hasson ran the 10k and completed it in 58:55, while Wood and McCormick came in at 20:00 and 20:30, placing in the top 10.

"I really felt good and light out there. I know all that work is paying off. I hope to get faster as we progress through the contest. Wood really helped me push it out there. He is a great asset to the 5k Freaks," said McCormick.

"Today's run with the 5k Freaks team was inspirational, and everyone should be out working as hard as this team does. I am proud to be part of this group. Mike really pushed it today, so I can tell we will be going back and forth in races real soon. Talk about teamwork!" said Wood.

"Today I ran the 10k, and I really wanted to break my last race time, which I did. This is great start to the racing season and contest," said Hasson.

Next week, as I recover from my injury, the team will spend some time in the gym on core workouts and pedaling the pounds away on the bike. The Freaks are looking forward to losing weight, striving for the prize, and having fun all the while.