Articles for Women Running Over 50

I was putting together my training plan to run my first half-marathon next year and decided to look up articles on training for women over 50. I’m not really sure why, but it seemed like an interesting thing to do when the heat index in Northern VA was somewhere over 100 degrees. What I found, however, was not only depressing but rude and host of other adjectives that I’ll reserve for the time being.

I can’t tell if Running Training Marathon – Made Easy was the name of the website or the article, but it was particularly degrading to us fabulous over 50 runners (and yes I said runners – even if we are new). It started off promising enough, saying running was a great way to stay fit – then it swerved into crazy territory, (and I quote) , “There are a number of running programs which are basically suited to the needs of elderly women.” Elderly? Since when is 50 the new “elderly”?  Instead of stopping at that sentence, like the one commenter did, I kept reading.  Why? I have no idea because then it proceeded to say (and this is a copy and paste quote) ,  “If you have been walking for 7 minutes then for around 10 seconds you need to run very hand  that is also called as sprinting.” So now not only am I old and feeble, but I’m stupid as well because I don’t know what “sprint” means. I’m wondering who has the real issue when they say “run hand” instead of “run hard”.

Why do articles dealing with the subject of women over 50 make it seem like consulting the doctor before starting to run is a matter of life and death?  The last time I checked, it was recommended regardless of age. Every article I read, seemed to want to highlight this as if that magical five followed by a 0 (50+) seemed to spark extra special feeble care. One article told us not to run alone because we could get hurt and not be able to get help.

Oh well, enough of my rants for today. I do hope that you fabulous over 50’ers steer way from articles designed to make you doubt your ability. Run strong – there will be plenty of time for rocking chairs later – and what great stories we will have to tell!

Grandkids are so Precious

JD- 2

What is the most precious thing that could tug at a grandma’s heart? Without a doubt it’s my grandson. It was so precious today when I was leaving to come back to work after lunch.  Little JD gave me his little backwards wave (that’s the one when his fingers are actually pointed towards himself) and said “bye.” Granted he’s been making those “I’m about to start really talking” sounds for a while now, but to see him to put action into words with that sweet voice telling me “bye”  almost made me cry.  It’s time like these when it doesn’t matter that he’s made a mess of the rug, has taken every Tupperware container out of the cabinet or the house is a mess from all of his toys – you gotta love them.  These are the times you wish you had an automatic camera to capture the moments. Yet another reason to stay healthy, to watch this child grow.

The Biggest Loser Run/Walk – Washington D.C Style

1013144_10200143544380177_1950223140_nPicture it, RFK Stadium, or rather RFK Stadium parking lot 8A – filled with runners of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels. Picture it, Washington D.C. in the middle of July. I had planned to write this post yesterday, but spending an hour in the D.C. heat had zapped me of energy to do little more than sleep once I got home. The race was scheduled for a 9 am start, late by DC standards. By 9 am the heat is usually pounding off the pavement, creating a shimmering reflecting pool of light – or rather – heat.  Fortunately, a “cold front” had passed through and the temperature was still hovering in the high 70’s.  Wouldn’t you know it, however, just as the race was about to start, it seems as though Mother Nature suddenly remembered what the temperature was supposed to be mid-July and shot upwards. I was drenched before I even heard the starting horn.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the camaraderie amongst runners is amazing.  The organizers had a wave start for the race.  The “runners’ were told to move to the front of the line, the walk/runners in the middle and the walkers to the end of the line. As I stood back waiting for some real, down-home pushing and jostling D.C style, amazingly enough, there wasn’t any shoving or jockeying for place. It made me proud to be a runner (that sounds good!)

Think inspiration! I love inspirational moments and the day did not disappoint. To hear Gail from season 13 talk about running her first half-marathon at 51, then have run eleven half-marathons by the time she was 53, had me ready to race. While, I probably have no plans to run a half-marathon every month, it made me think…I can do this!

The details of the day grow foggy in this grandma’s brain, but it was obvious that the race organizers were not without their struggles, not enough volunteers – an eighth of a cup of warm water in the paper cups, dangerous collision areas between the 5K and 10K runners, all made for some unhappy runners as the day progressed. Even though I could probably sit here and list the trials along the way, I think they were minor when I put everything into perspective – once again – I did it! I ran another 5K. What a journey!

I would consider running this race again next year, but hopefully the Biggest Loser will be prepared D.C style.

Running on Air – A Book Review

Running on Air

Why would you take a book out of the library and keep it for twelve weeks? Because it’s crammed full of information and I just can’t give it up. That’s how I felt about Running on Air” The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Budd Coates. Do you want to run longer? Cross-train? Strength-Train? There is something in the book just for you. Not only does the book give great advice on learning how to breathe while running, it also provides sample marathon training schedules for anything from a 5K to a full-marathon.

Illustrations – Who doesn’t like pictures?  They may be in black and white, but Coates also includes picture examples on how to do core-training exercises.  For those of us in the middle of the 30-Day Plank challenge, there is a pretty black and white picture of the CORRECT way to do a plank.

There were really only two small downsides I noticed while reading.  First, is that he did a lot of talking about RBE’s. I know if I plan to run, I need to learn the language, but it really had me confused I’m embarrassed to admit. The second is that all of the short “stories” scattered throughout the book seemed to be about younger runners and the over 50 examples were all seasoned runners who had a running background. I would imagine that’s not a real bad thing, but fI am a grandma after all..

All in all, 12 weeks? Absolutely, this book will be placed on my purchase list.

Finding Runners Everywhere

Since I’ve started running, I’ve noticed that I meet runners everywhere.  Yesterday I was at the grocery store chatting with the cashier as she slowly bagged my groceries. It’s so funny, I don’t even remember how the conversation got started, perhaps it was on my healthy food choices, but however it started we started talking about running.  She mentioned the Biggest Loser Race she was participating in next week; I’m running that race too! Then she talked about the Electric Race she wanted to sign up for in September, I knew about that race too! It was amazing how, despite our ages, we had a lot in common, including the fact that we both had just started running.

It happens everywhere I go… the mall, the library, work. I think it’s so amazing and so exciting that so many people share a bond that transcends all ages, body types, skill levels.. The best thing is knowing that I’m not alone.

Why am I Scared to Race?

smiley-face-scared

I was reading the blog of a new friend and it got me to thinking about sharing one of my fears – racing. What? Racing, mind you, not running.  Is there a difference? How do I plan to ever run that half-marathon if I’m afraid to race?  Let me explain.

Started with the treadmill. I started actually running on a treadmill. The view in front of me was always the same, the front of the employee’s gym and the television on the wall.  It wasn’t scary. I was safe in my closed in-box. No one would see how long or far I ran. It was a truly controlled, comfort zone.

The first time I raced, the Disney Family 5K was my first venture outdoors. I know, I know – a shocker. Faced with this wide open space, I remember being paralyzed with fear that there was a whole running world out there.  So many confident, looking runners!

Once we returned, I finally made the move to run outdoors in the parking lot next to the government building.  Running was a little scary even then, not race scary, just kind of scary.  While hundreds of other runners ran along the pathway by the road, I stuck to the parking lot; another attempt to contain my view. After that, I finally found the courage to locate an outdoor track.  It’s been fun, I’m use to this track and it’s frequent visitors – some walking, some running, even roller-blading. It can be a little intimidating with the wall gone.  The far end of the track sometimes seems so far away. But, what about races? Now, those ARE scary!

The difference between a race and a run is….I’m sure no one cares but me. I know it’s all in my mind, in fact, no one probably cares how I do in a race except for me, but it gets me to thinking. What if it’s too hot out and I can’t race.  What if I come in last? What if I get tired? What if…? A run is relaxed. I push myself when I want; I stop when I feel that I’ve pushed myself enough. A run has no pressure. I think the race scariness comes from the pressure of competition. I’m usually fine and excited about the race until I get to the start line, then my nerves take over and instead of saying, “Yes I can, it’s just like practice.” My first thought is, “Oh, no it’s 3.1 miles.” Look at the big, huge world between me and the finish line!

I guess the bottom line is that it’s fear of failure.  It’s knowing that no matter how much I train, I will look out at the vast space beyond the start line and think “oh, heck…what am I doing?” What I’m hoping is that each time it gets easier, not just the “running the race” part, but the nerves that will one day say, “YES, I CAN DO THIS!”