The choice to return to the very active life I experienced while growing up, has brought many good things into my life. This journey began with a few runs, while still a smoker, fitness classes at the YMCA which led to quitting smoking, cold turkey. With all the excess energy of being more fit and tobacco-free I began to run regularly, first a mile and then a few months later, a marathon in 4 hours and 11 minutes. In 2005, I celebrated 30 years of running for fitness and friendship with my 20th marathon, surpassing the Boston qualifying standard by 33 minutes. One of the good things was meeting my husband 33 years ago where he introduced himself in a YMCA cafeteria after the Peterborough Half-Marathon. He remains, my favourite running partner. We have a 30 year old son, 17 nieces and nephews and 5 grandnephews and grandnieces.
Highlights of my racing career came later in life; 1st place finish in the 50-54 category at the Chicago Marathon, 3rd place (50-54) at the Boston marathon and a time of 3 hours & 10 minutes at the Detroit Marathon, run at age 50. I like to refer (or brag) of having qualified for the Boston Marathon in the Open Men’s category at age 50. After retiring from racing the marathon in 2013, I began to focus on track distances and set a few Canadian indoor records and attended my first World Championship track meet in Daegu, South Korea. I raced the 3K and was surprised to end up with a Silver Medal.
This time also qualified as an Ontario 50-54 age group record for the marathon. The time I am most proud of from my younger days is having run my 4th half-marathon in 1 hour & 23 minute after less than 3 years of running and with low-mileage training due to chronic ankle injuries.
Over the years I have learned that advising people about how to train is tricky business AND that there is no formula. We are, as George Sheehan put it, “An experiment of one.” I’ve run while pregnant, run good times on low mileage, run great times on high mileage and run purely for fitness for the first 9 years of my son’s life, returning with a vengeance by logging more than 100 miles a week at times, with high-intensity workouts thrown into the mix.
Along the way, I’ve had to learn and abide by the “laws of the body”, George Sheehan again. I hope that providing some insight into how running fits into my daily routine might encourage you to commit to habits that will enhance your quality of life. I find the benefits to be as much (if not a little more) about mental well-being as physical.
There is an abundance of information available on fitness and training for the motivated and curious, and it is not my goal to spend a lot of time on the details of which others have expertly written. I would caution however that discernment is required as there are obvious paralells between “getting fit quick” and “getting rich quick”. I hope my observations about what has worked for me, while running close to 60,000 miles or more in my lifetime, might arouse your curiosity and point you in the direction of finding out what routines work for you, be it running or your heart thumping activity of choice.
As for all the non-running chit chat, I think of it as my side of a conversation, were we to share each others company while on a run — that being the most companionable of spaces. Consider this your invitation to comment and question.
All the best!