I never liked sports in high school. I wasn’t on any teams, and tried at least once a month to get out of gym class…
I married a guy who likes sports–all kinds of sports: football, soccer, tennis, running…
He tried to get me to run with him a few times, but I always felt awkward and knew I was holding him back, so couldn’t get that excited about it.
Then I turned 50. That day I went for a walk by myself, and I said, “I can run a mile. I am going to mark this milestone by running a mile…” And I did. Something clicked that day; not a runner’s high by any means (I’ve never been able to get there) but something that made me not hate running anymore.
I didn’t have a great plan to run a marathon right away, but wanted to do this running thing the right way, so did a lot of reading and research. Thus my running went through various iterations, or what I’ll call, mini-“things”:
- Apps. I’ve used Runkeeper, and when I got a Nike Fuel Band, their website to track my miles.
- Sprints. As a tool for losing weights, I played with the idea of sprints as a way to burn more calories in a more efficient workout.
- Barefoot running. This is my ideal, but given the dangers of foot injuries unless one is on a beach, I turned to using the Vibram 5-fingers shoes. These were great to use on trails, but not so good on road running.
- Triathlons. I did two of these, women only triathlon sprints. They were a lot of fun and great things came from it: 1) I taught myself how to swim the crawl 2) I learned to love bicycling (and got a new bike!)
- Marathon. On January 1, 2013 I ran a marathon. I committed to the idea and began training in September of 2012. Training was extremely difficult, once I got up into the 13-20 mile runs. I was still working full time and had to do these at 5 a.m. to allow enough time (no way I could do them AFTER working all day!) to get through them. Due to the season, these were often in cold, wet and always dark conditions. I had two goals for my marathon: 1) to run the whole distance, and 2) to finish under 5 hours. Came in at 4:53 having run the whole way, to the cheering of my 8 grandchildren. An experience to remember!
- Fuel. I learned about this optimal fueling drink for long distances about the time I began contemplating a marathon. Here’s my chia seed drink recipe that I swear is what got me through my first (and probably only) marathon:
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
- 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
- Sweetener, to taste (I like 1.5 tbsp honey. that way it’s easy to remember all the portions are equal)
1. Add chia and water into a jar or glass and stir very well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell up. I like to use a jar with a lid so I can shake it up really well and break up the clumps of chia.
2. Add lime or lemon juice (I prefer the lime) and sweetener. Stir (or shake) well to combine and enjoy!
Total investment: hard to say. Running doesn’t require a huge amount of equipment, but I’ve purchased at least 6 pairs of running shoes, two pairs of Vibram 5-fingers, various running outfits, a Nike Fuel band, and a bicycle since taking up this sport.
I don’t consider myself “a runner” but I do still run, maybe 4-6 miles a week as part of my regular exercise repertoire.