Call Me Crazy But I’ve Taken Up Running in my Mid-Late 40s
I just participated in the Mother’s Day Classic 8km Fun Run. In the pouring rain. And I came middle of the pack and I’m happy with that. I competed last year too and managed to shave about 5 minutes off my time which I’m pretty happy about. Last year I felt that everyone was passing me, and that the only people I ran faster than were walking. This year I passed heaps of runners.
I could never run as a kid (well not more than 100 meters at a time. I loathed “cross country” running. As far as I was concerned it was pure torture and I was terrible at it.
My whole life I’ve avoided running as much as possible. Until, the beginning of last year.
Well firstly I’d lost some weight (which you can read about here) and even though I’d been going to the gym for years, I was finding it hard to find the time to get there and with the pressures of work building up (along with home and family life and responsibilities) it was hard to find the time that didn’t eat into my work day.
Secondly, I saw a program about “fast exercise” which talked about becoming fitter by doing very short interval training bursts. So I decided since I’d never been able to run (and I’d been trying to run on the treadmill at the gym but couldn’t make it past about 6 minutes – well 4 minutes if I’m honest – without wanting to die) that I’d give it a go.
After 3 weeks of spending 3 minutes a week (3 times a week) doing 3 x 20 second sprints on the local oval I then got back on the treadmill. Lo and behold I ran for 20 minutes, and I could have gone longer if my bra underwire hadn’t rubbed a blister onto my chest.
Suddenly I could run. I then started running the local streets in my neighbourhood. First thing in the morning I’d go out before my shower and getting the kids to school. I started running 2.5km – 3km then gradually built it up to 5km. It wasn’t a fast run, it’s what I’d call my Cliff Young Gumboot Shuffle, but it was a jog.
Getting a really good sports bra made a big difference to my ability to run. A really big difference. Once I’d had my breast reduction running became easier to do. Much easier. Even now if I don’t wear a really supportive (read ‘restrictive’) sports bra, I still find running exhausting within a minute or two.
Gradually I’ve managed to get a little faster which was proved to me with my Mother’s Day Classic result this past weekend.
I gave up the gym as finding the time to run was so much easier than finding the time to go to the gym (and a bunch cheaper too). I can be up and out and back home and in the shower in under 40 minutes, fitting it into my day before my day really starts.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually enjoy running. I don’t find it fun. But I do enjoy the feeling of being fit. I don’t think I’ve ever been this fit in my life (well not since my late teens and even then I couldn’t run any distance). It’s nice as I get older to feel fit and healthy, as the older I get the more I appreciate my health and mobility. My kids are proud of me too.
I also think it’s really important as a mother to be a good example for my kids. To show them that you can be active all your life and that your health is important. To show that it’s never too late to start something new. To show them you can, with effort, achieve what you set out to.
There is lots of research that shows that being fit and healthy reduces the risk of cancer plus heaps of other diseases (such as diabetes). I’m all for that as I’d like to live to a ripe old age in a healthy way.
My next venture will be a 10km run. That’s a distance I’ve never done before, but I’ve decided that I’m up for the challenge and will be doing it in the Run Melbourne event in July.
So I’m programming my Runkeeper app to give me a training program to do that. I’ll get there one step at a time.