I’ve spent the last few years on this blog focused on environmental changes I can make by myself (My Life with Car series) here in my own home and my own life.
Oddly, among the changes my own environmental experiments have wrought, I count my three year old passion/torture: running.
For one year, I tracked my driving habits in order to reduce needless driving, use my bike more, use mass transit, combine tasks, what have you. While lots and lots of changes–big and small–came out of that year, one change was completely unexpected: my addiction to running.
I’ve never been a runner–not ever. And some would say, with my paltry collection of 5K bib numbers, I’m still not a runner (my neighbor has indicated that a 5K is not a race, as she can do it in her sleep. Oh well.). I recall back in high school going through the motions required for 100 yard dash tests and such, and not enjoying one second of it.
But that’s not to say I’m not athletic at all–I’ve been an avid bike rider for a long time, commuting to work, touring, stuff like that. And then there’s hiking, river rafting…I’m not a total couch potato, but running just has never, ever been on the agenda.
So how did this start? I used to belong to a gym, and used to drive to the gym. I really enjoyed the gym but over-use taught me the value of using different muscle sets. One day I tried the treadmill and was astonished to find I liked the sensation of running–slowly, for sure, but still.
I kept at it and a 10-15 min run on the treadmill was soon part of my normal workout. About this time, I realized there was something uncomfortably ironic about driving my car to workout at a gym when I live a block from a gorgeous park on the Puget Sound with great running trails. One day I tried running down along the beach front–hello. Running on ground is REALLY different from running on a treadmill. But I liked it! I felt great afterwards.
And I was totally pleased with myself that even though I was over 50, I was sort of kind of picking up this new sport that seemed to be the realm of the long and lean (definitely not me.) This was three years ago.
After about a year of splitting between outdoor runs and the gym, my attendance at the gym had really started to decline. I made the decision earlier this year to cancel my gym membership and focus solely on running outdoors. This was huge–especially since I view the Seattle outdoors during 6 months of the year to be uninhabitable. But I did it.
This past weekend I decided that this journey which has honest-to-god changed my life was worth sharing with others who are over 50 and learning to run, or thinking about it, or curious or whatever. So begins a new chapter in this blog: Learning to run after 50.