Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Beverly, 56 years old

How much do you run?
4 to 5 miles a week.

How long have you been a runner?

More than 40 years.

How did you start running?
I signed up to compete in a 600 yard race during our school's annual Field Day when I was in middle school and again in high school for broad jump and the 50 yard dash. We lived on a farm, so I measured out a route around our house to practice on for a few weeks before the race.

I didn't run much again until I was in graduate school, as my extracurricular athletic activities at that time were focused on tennis.  Running as an adult has always been a social activity. There were 5 of us living in group housing. My roommate Grace and I had a routine of going to the track a few times a week.

Best running experience
The first time I ran in Palisades Park in Santa Monica.  The park is built along a cliff and it has always been a favorite location for my husband to run. There are views of the beach and Pacific Ocean. There are the huge palm trees and several shade trees as well. You feel so charged when the weather is in the 60s and low humidity, few clouds; I felt as though I could run forever. We make it point to go running there whenever we visit LA.

Unexpected benefit of running
When traveling for work or pleasure, going for a run is a great way to become familiar with my surroundings. Using the GPS information from the Nike+ app makes it easy to know where you are. We were in Charlotte, South Carolina recently and before going for a run from the hotel, I had no idea where we were or how the city was laid out. Going out for a run changed all that, and enhanced the enjoyment of the trip.

Running-induced crazy story
I was a postdoc at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Many people on campus were active duty military, and had to pass routine PT tests. As a result, there were lots of social opportunities around staying fit. There were 5 of us who would run in Rock Creek Park (Beach Drive and a weekly trail run) during lunch. 

This is when I participated in the longest run I have ever done - one gorgeous day we ran 7 miles through the park. Every year each of the departments in the medical center would compete against each other in a Field Day race through the woods on and off trails and across streams. I was cajoled into signing up for this event.  Not only did I need to run as fast as I could through the woods, but we also needed to do 50 sit ups and 50 push ups before starting this race. Did I already mention -- most of the other people were in the Army?

Advice for new runners

Only run in shoes that really fit your feet.

Using a running app, with GPS, for your phone is a great way to track the miles you rack up over time, and can help you find your way back when you are running in a new location.

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