One of the top excuses against getting into — or back into – running is age, “I’m too old to do something like that!” and I personally believe there is no such thing as too old. Sure, there’s the all-powerful “and,” such as if you’re 95 years old AND on oxygen AND need a walker to get around…that’s a lot of ands. If this describes you, you may very well want to stick to the cheerleading section. However, just because you’re 95 years old, doesn’t mean you can’t run – though you might want at least one and in there, like “and the doctor says it’s okay without any detrimental effects.”
For most people, the idea of getting into running, or being a runner, or becoming a runner, somehow implies that they intend to alter all their other daily habits and train to be a super-robo-marathon-runner. There’s nothing wrong with running marathons, or even just training for marathons in case you feel like running one – but there is also such a thing as a casual fun run/walk that just about anyone can do on a weekend.
Having said this, I very nearly made a hypocrite of myself when I got back into running last year – and here we get into the subject of old moms. Like most people, I’d made a lot of excuses to myself about running. When I was in high school I ran a lot, but since then I’d let it slide – sure I missed it, but that’s a lot of work to get back into! Then last year my mom told me she had started running, and my knee-jerk response was, “Really? Isn’t she a little old?”
Just to clarify, my mom isn’t old, she’s only in her 40s – but I think there’s some ingrained idea in every kid’s head that their parents are ancient, and encountering anything to the contrary can really throw you for a loop. I figured, “Well, if she can do it at twice my age and somewhat comparable fitness levels, I don’t have any excuses left.” Yep, you guessed it, I just couldn’t let the old lady show me up (love you, Mom!).
Not long afterward we did a 5K walk/run for the Pink Link in Sheridan, Wyoming. It’s a benefit sponsored by the Susan G. Koman foundation for breast cancer research, and was intended to raise money for a new mammography unit at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. Well, I couldn’t deny the merit in the purpose of the run, so I agreed to attend with Mom.
Being the wonderful, thoughtful daughter I am, I let Mom set the pace the entire way – you know, I can’t leave her in the dust, that just wouldn’t be nice. She was just getting over a cold and we had to stop several times in that three miles until she’d finished coughing, and we averaged 16 minutes to the mile.
If you think that was bad, the worst is yet to come – the one thing that I never mentioned is just how grateful I was for those coughing breaks. It truly was a challenge for me to keep up with my mom, even at that pace. I finished the run with a new desire to work on my running and get back into shape – if for no other reason than to prevent a repeat of such a pathetic performance on my part. I didn’t have a cold.
When I was 11 years old, I managed to run a ¾ mile in 5 ½ minutes. After a knee injury I didn’t run for a long time, and when I got back to it in high school I ended up running 12-minute miles, and eventually pared it down to a 9-minute mile. Last year I made my comeback, 5 years after high school graduation, with that 16-minute mile. Pretty scary. Time to strap on the tennis shoes and get my not-so-little rear end in gear!
For now this is going to be a non-running running journal. Why? Put simply, I have my own ands. I am a healthy 24-year-old, AND it’s -30 outside right now, AND I’m just shy of 41 weeks pregnant. What does this mean? It means that the running journal gets to start from the ground up again – as soon as this baby finally makes her appearance, I’ll have to start from the very beginning of fitness again and work back into running. With any luck, by this summer I will be able to report from the various charity fundraisers and other such running-related events in my area.
That said, there is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about themselves incessantly, and since I’m going to be learning and re-learning all this stuff for myself I will gladly answer questions for anyone else as we go along. Feel free to post a comment introducing yourself, we’d love to know who you are and where you’re coming from, and let me know if you have a running-related topic of interest that you’d like to see addressed here.