Meet Linda Riley
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I have been married to Tom for 42 years, and our daughter Megan is a school teacher in Florida. Tom and I thoroughly enjoy retirement, and we love having more time to relax, travel, nurture friendships and read.
Tell us about your LAUGH journey.
I didn’t participate in LAUGH the first couple years because I thought it was only for runners. My friend, Jen, encouraged me to get involved and assured me that many women walked as well. I was still hesitant because I’m a slow walker, and I wasn’t sure I could keep up. After more reassurance from her, I finally decided to try it out. What a great decision! I found that not only are there various pace groups for runners and walkers/runners, but also for walkers as well. I walked in the slowest group that year, and with the encouragement, inspiration and positivity from other ladies and my pace group leader, Kerrie, I finished my first 5k in years. I look forward to LAUGH every week and know that I’ll be surrounded by positive, uplifting, inspiring women who cheer each other on in their own health, spiritual and life journeys.
What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs etc)?
The Whistler by John Grisham and I Am by Michele Cushatt. I’m a huge Karen Kingsbury fan so as soon as I finish The Whistler, I’ll be diving into her latest book. She’s written scores of books, and I’ve read every one of them.
What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?
Be still, and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10
What are some of your favorite go-to meals when time is tight and dinner MUST get on the table?
Homemade vegetable soup that is a staple I keep in the freezer or casseroles I make ahead and freeze.
What is a fun LAUGH memory you have?
Not specifically a fun memory, but a special memory. Kerrie, my pace group leader (a runner), knew I was concerned about finishing last at the 5k in Allegan that first year, and she selflessly gave up her opportunity to run the race and walked the entire race with me—encouraging me all the way and crossing the finish line with me. In addition, toward the end of the course, Jen came alongside to finish the last several yards with me as well. She actually ran the race but stopped just short of the finish line so she could circle back a couple blocks, cheer me on, walk with me, and cross the finish line with me. It was obvious to me that their goal that morning was to make sure I received all the support I needed to cross the finish line and not be alone. I was the last LAUGHer to finish, and I was treated with dignity, cheers and abundant support. The next year my friend, Carol, gave up her fast pace to walk the race and cross the finish line with me. I will be forever grateful to those women for their kind, caring, encouraging hearts. To me, that experience is what LAUGH is all about.
What music do you like to listen to when exercising?
I use my exercise time for praying, enjoying nature or conversing with fellow walkers, so I do not listen to music when exercising.
What is your favorite running apparel or must have?
My LAUGH t-shirts and high-quality walking shoes.
What one thing would you want the world to know about LAUGH?
You will find immense encouragement and acceptance at LAUGH and will be surrounded by positivity. Ladies exhibit every level of activity, including those recovering from an injury, women who are pregnant, and various speeds of walkers, combination walkers/runners, and runners. There is a place for YOU!
What does living a VIBRANT life look like to you?
Making sure I’m right with God on a daily basis. I need to be filled with the Spirit to find true peace and joy, which I think reflects in the way I live my everyday life. Even though I am not always successful, it is my desire to live my life so vibrantly that the love of Jesus shows through me.
What advice would you give to a new LAUGHer?
You are more! Start wherever you’re at in your journey, even if that means getting off the couch and out the door.
What is your go to source of exercise, your favorite workout or regularly scheduled workout?
Walking, preferably outside, and often with my neighbors.
What is your guilty pleasure food?