My #IndyMini Story: Caren Bond

According to SmokeFree.gov, when a person smokes, damage is caused to nearly every organ of the body including the lungs, muscles, and heart. Smokers also have an increased risk of illnesses such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, as well as a reportedly higher incidence of shortness of breath and cough.

Caren Bond knows the severe damage that cigarette smoking can cause, personally. Her #IndyMini story is about overcoming an addiction to cigarettes. The willpower and perseverance it took to quit, and how she’s now living a longer, happier, and healthier life!

caren1

Around the time her father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago, Caren decided to quit smoking and make changes to get healthy. Being a two pack a day smoker, this was not an easy undertaking for her. But, she wholeheartedly wanted to get healthy, so she quit smoking and started exercising.

Her goal to get healthy led to a desire to start running, and with the support of her father-in-law combined with encouragement from her sisters, she did just that. She began running a mile at a time and before long she was adding more and more distance. In very little time, she was ready to run the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

After kicking a powerful addiction and sticking to her goal of improving her health, Caren felt that a celebration was in order. She got a group of friends together to run with her in the #IndyMini in a triumphant fashion.

caren3

“We wear fun outfits for the Mini. We celebrate us, our city, and we celebrate the Mini!” Bond said.

caren2

She regards her decision to get healthy and start running as a dramatic life changing journey. Since her first Indy Mini experience, Caren has run several half marathons and multiple full marathons. In addition to running the Indy Mini, Caren plans to run the Boston Marathon this year too!

When you see Caren Bond running the Mini Marathon this year, make sure to celebrate her successes with her and don’t forget to congratulate her for the strides that she has taken to be healthier.

My #IndyMini Story: Brett Braunecker

In 2014, I was the heaviest I had ever been. This was an extremely difficult time for me because I always considered myself a fitness enthusiast and took care of my health. The weight crept up over time, mostly because of stress, poor eating, and inactivity due to multiple knee surgeries. I was 75lbs overweight and desperate for a change, but I struggled to make a plan and stick with it.

The turning point for me came when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she began the fight for her life. Watching her battle to maintain her health through chemotherapy treatments, I realized how horribly I was treating my own body. My mom’s tenacity was the motivation I needed to take control of my health and start making changes.

brett2

It seems silly to say now, but I never considered myself a “runner”. I was discouraged by knee surgeries and what I thought was lack of natural ability. But, when I changed my eating and exercise habits my confidence soared, so I decided to give running a try. Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off; by August 2014 I lost all of the extra weight that I was carrying around.

My mom gave me more than just the purpose to begin my weight loss journey. She was my biggest supporter, and was behind me from the start. Watching her strength and perseverance through illness inspired me to push beyond my limits and accomplish my goals.

In 2015, I made a goal to run my first half marathon. I decided to run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in honor of my mom. Unfortunately, my mom passed away in February of that year, so she was not there to meet me at the end, but I was not alone.  In an emotional moment, my wife, kids, and friends surprised me at the finish line cheering with cowbells and wearing custom t-shirts.

brett3

My mom’s legacy is the reason I run the #IndyMini , and this year my brother is coming in from Missouri to run in honor of her too. My goal is to finish the Indy Mini in under 1:50:00 to achieve a personal best. I want to give my best for my mom who never gave me any less!

brett1