Gentlemen, Stop reading. This is a personal post for women only. Not meant for the likes of you. Sorry!
Since I was 19, I’ve been running. Jogging for exercise. I’m not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination. But I’ve been a consistent runner, until now.
Over the years, I’ve run only 2 half marathons, one flat, one hilly. I have run quite a few 5 and 10 K’s! When I was 27, I came in first for a 3 mile course in my age bracket. Ok, it was not a well attended race, but I won nevertheless with a time of 21 minutes. That was fast for me, a recreational runner.
And then in my 50’s, I came within inches of first place in two 5 K’s, two different times. Also not well attended. Close, but not close enough for bragging rights.
Here is what I’ve noticed. ( Stop reading guys, this gets personal). When I was running, despite good shoes:
My feet hurt.
My knees began to feel strained.
But mostly, I wasn’t enjoying it.
I began to dread it and looked forward to the in between days when I would do yoga or HITT workouts.
So, I stopped running and took up walking, walking fast enough to get my heart rate up, but not fast enough to look silly.
The odd thing is, I’ve actually put in more miles since I stopped running, 16 to 30 miles a week on average compared to the 9 to 12 when I was running three times per week.
Walking has been delightful! I look forward to it. I see things in my neighborhood that was never noticed when I ran. Beautiful gardens, interesting sculptures, sidewalk art, other people, dogs, many dogs.
I listen to podcasts with a keener level of interest. I listen to music. I talk with family. And sometimes, I just walk.
On the in between days, I have more energy to lift weights, something new to me.
Lifting partner (hubby) pumps right along with me, encouraging me to embrace my muscles, every last aching one of them. Side by side, he and she, back and forth we lift, press, push, and pull our hearts out. It’s fun!
And then… 60 approached. A new age bracket. I started to think of ways to ring in the new decade that would make me feel youthful. Less competition as I once again scoured the entries, looking for my competitors. And, the race was on my birthday. A good sign.
I began once again to train and felt great. The break reinvigorated me. And the training ensued with a determination to bring in the new year of my 60th year on earth with a first place finish!
Race Day! Birthday! Butterflies! More runners than before. Rats!
The run was hilly, but I paced myself to stay right behind my personal trainer, my very encouraging and supportive husband. With each exhaustive breath, I felt more determined than ever.
I’ve always been a slow starter, but strong finisher. And that last mile was when I kicked it up, keeping that motivating presence ahead of me always within my sight, the downhill helped I must admit. And, I did it! Finished with a faster time than I had in both of my entries when I was in my 50’s.
Out of breath, but quite satisfied, together we worked our way to the results booth. We breathlessly walked, heart rate decreasing in spite of my excitement. I was feeling very confident. And there it was, my results, a proud, but admittedly disappointed 2nd place! My consolation, the first place, 60 something year old finisher, finished a minute (not seconds) in front of me. Good for her! Truly, I respectfully bow then and now to any woman who has the stamina to keep up the kind of pace.
The days, weeks, months and now one year later, back to walking.
But my message to my fellow women pals:
Do what will keep you moving.
Do what energizes you.
Do what makes you feel strong, flexible, healthy.
Do what you LOVE!
And guys, if you have denied my request to ignore this, take heed. You may benefit from letting go of what agonizes you too.