Tag Archives: running addiction

Running past 50: 3 great points

I received a comment the other day (from Reva) on a Running past 50 post I wrote a while back, and really appreciated it so thought I’d share it with you all:

I am a 57 year old female and have been running, on the treadmill for about 9 months. The last time I ran seriously was in high school, many moons ago. I began running because of health related issues: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, over-weight not wanting to be medicated the rest of my life. Plus I wanted to live to dance at my grandson’s weddings.
I run on the average of 2-3 miles at least 5 days a week, and guess what? I am beginning to find myself addicted to running. One of my solstice goals this year is to run a half marathon. I’m on the verge of believing I can do it. Recently I have begun running on the treadmill barefoot and found my endurance improve and I do not need to hold onto the sides of the treadmill, not once. Within the next few weeks I will be taking a step outdoors and try trail running with my son. (I am blessed to have 40 acres behind my property that is wild) I am looking forward to more adventure, and better scenery than stored boxes in the garage.
I have also found that doing a little yoga, sun salutations, help in the ache department. One thing I have noticed since I started running is my hips do not hurt half as much, in fact I have stopped taking the ibuprofen. Part of the running barefoot is to see if I can eliminate the pain by ibuprofen on the balls of my feet instead of the heels. It’s working. I’m glad to hear others in my age category are learning to enjoy the movement of our bodies in the form of running. Thanks for a great blog.
You go, girl!  I thought of you yesterday during my run and your goal of a half-M actually inspired a little spurt of energy in me, thanks!  I tend to think of Jan/Feb as the “slack tide” time of year–that in-between period, not the bluster and blow of Autumn, not the urgent push of Spring, just a
quiet time; drawing some energy from Reva’s goal was a good thing.
There were three things about this comment that I found of real interest:
  1. Take back your power: sometimes this notion gets a little overblown and we think it needs to mean something huge.  Not so.  In this case, the 57 yo woman looked at the trends in her life–high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a little more weight than she wanted–and she decided to make some changes.  That’s it right there: take an inventory and adjust as needed.  That’s how you take your power back, and it’s enlivening, and it’s difficult, and it’s one of the few things worth doing on a continual basis.  Whether it’s running, or acting on that impulse to dance or learn to cook or take up photography, or even just change how you get to work, really, these things light up your brain.
  2. Start small and build from there: seems to me the best way to guarantee you won’t go as far as you can is to go too fast too soon. You’ll likely hurt yourself, set the bar too high and disappoint yourself, judge yourself too harshly…the list goes on.  A better path would be one where you set out to explore, just investigate what this running is all about.  Keep it short and simple, be aware, enjoy yourself and let your body do the rest. After all, this is a new thing for the old bod to adjust to–give it time, and it will not disappoint.
  3. Partner with your body: Reva has done several things of real interest in her exploration of running.  She’s kicked off her shoes and run barefoot!  She’s incorporating yoga, she’s moving from the treadmill to trails (huge difference!), she’s paying close attention to how her body responds.  Personally, I’d love to know how she came to the barefoot idea as I worked with that this summer and have found significant benefits to running barefoot, as well as letting my tennis shoes break down and the muscles in my feet build up.  But the point is: work with your body.  Those articles in Runner’s World mag, everything they tell you at the local running store, the stuff you find in blogs and whatever—all good and well, but bottom line, experiment and investigate with your own body–you’ll know soon enough what works, what doesn’t, what’s worth short-term discomfort for long-term gain, etc.
This past year marks my second year of running consistently outside; I didn’t realize that until I read my journal summary of 2008–when I quit the gym treadmill for streets, parks, trails, sidewalks. This past year also marks some significant changes in how I run and think about running:
  • it’s now an embedded part of my life.  Some days I resist it, most days it’s a high point of the day.
  • I believe as the title of the book suggests that we really are Born to Run.
  • Hills are where it’s at.  That surprises and pleases me since I live in a very hilly part of town, and I previously shunned them for an easier flat run.
  • Since hills are where it’s at, I also tend to take walk breaks–very short, but still…I used to judge myself about that, but now I just enjoy the hills and take a breather as needed.
  • I run a little slower, but I run a lot longer.  My body seems to like this a lot.

I’ve received a number of comments from women who are taking up running later in life and want to say: Thanks!  I love hearing about your adventures, tips and tricks.  Happy New Year and see you out on the trails!

Happy New Year!

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Running after 50: for the newbies amongst us

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.

running in the rain

running in the rain

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.