Hello, Lemon Grove!
My name is Mark. My family and I work, live and play in Lemon Grove. And now ... I run in Lemon Grove. As a matter of fact, I will be attempting to run each and every street within the Lemon Grove city limits. Let me tell you why.
Recently, Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), a San Diego non-profit, received a $1 million grant from Kaiser Permanente to fight obesity in Lemon Grove through eating better and living more active lifestyles (See Patch articles , and ).
The project is called a “HEAL Zone.” HEAL stands for “healthy eating and active living.” HEAL Zones are designed to help make healthy choices accessible to more people in underserved communities. Several other Southern California cities have taken part in the initiative.
A steering committee was selected to work with CHIP and the Kaiser Permanente team to refine project strategies and engage residents and businesses. Melanie Briones, senior project manager, says: “Together, we are working to create an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice for Lemon Grove residents. The vision of the Lemon Grove HEAL Zone is that the 26,000 people living in the community will be able to eat better and move more as a part of daily life.”
Among those participating in the steering committee is a short, middle-aged church pastor who likes to run. That’s me. At a recent HEAL Zone committee meeting, we were discussing ways to really begin promoting the project, engaging the community and heightening awareness. It dawned on me as a result of that committee conversation that I could combine my love for running, my desire for healthy living and our intention to raise awareness in the community by running in it!
I usually take my running outside the confines of the Lemon Grove city limits. I like to run routes that have as little traffic and as few stops-and-starts as possible. Especially for my longer runs, I will drive to places like the Silver Strand, Mission Bay, Mission Trails, Lake Murray, Santee Lakes, etc. But now, I am taking my running to the streets of Lemon Grove! So if you see a short, middle-aged man running down the sidewalk waving at you ... that’s probably me.
It really doesn’t take much to get outside and go around the block a few times. The air is fresh, the breeze is nice, the sun is beautiful and your body, soul and mind will thank you. Who knows, you might meet a neighbor you’ve never seen before or run into an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. That is what happened to me on my first “official” run around Lemon Grove, I ran into a friend that my wife and I were talking about just earlier that day and hadn’t seen in a long time. What a cool coincidence.
I will tell that story and many others in this blog as I run each street in Lemon Grove. I will share my running trials and triumphs and my observations and ruminations of people, places and things in the city as I endeavor to encourage Lemon Grove residents to live a healthy, active lifestyle and raise “HEAL Zone” awareness through this blog. I hope to post at least once a week so look for me here at the Patch or in Lemon Grove as I’m out “running the streets.” Until next time ...