Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cathy, 56 years old

How much do you run?
I recently broke my wrist hiking in Minneapolis the day before a half. I'm still coming off that injury but running 2 - 3 times a week. 

During the week, I do 3 - 4 miles and one long run each weekend. 6 - 12 miles is enough to stay ready for a half marathon. 

Texas is really hot this time of year. During the cooler months, I normally run 4 days a week.

After my first half-marathon, I found the Jeff Galloway run-walk method. By running for 5 minutes and then walking for 1 minute, I took minutes off my time and enjoyed myself more the next time around. I adjust the ratio but find it has made the difference between running one race and wanting to complete a half-marathon in every state. I'm up to 18 now but wish that number was19 on account of Minnesota.

How long have you been a runner?

I always had in my head that I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 50. I actually started running when I was 48. 

Around that time, I was visiting a friend in Connecticut for the weekend. We went into a bagel shop and there was a group of four older women who were talking and laughing over bagels and coffee after running together. I thought to myself "That's how I see myself. I don't want to be one of those people who knows more about what is going on in television shows then anything else. I want to be out there enjoying my own life." My kids were teenagers then and I didn't have as much time as I do now but having that life for myself became the goal. Within in a year, I had joined Team in Training to begin the work towards my first half-marathon. Having breakfast with my friends after runs is now part of my routine.

How did you start running?

When my mother was 50 (about 40 years ago), she was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away at 84.  She was able to live much longer then the doctors originally predicted ( they said less than 10 years after diagnosis) in part because of all the advances in treatments. Team in Training taught me how to run while raising money to finance research that helps people like my mother live longer.

Best running experience

My mother passed away when she was 84 years old-- 34 years after being diagnosed with cancer. That year, I ran a Nike Women's Race in San Francisco in her memory instead of in her honor.  I felt her with me for every step of that race because she had spent some time in that area in the 1940s and loved it. 

Unexpected benefit of running

The goals I've set and accomplished for myself were huge reaches when I came up with them but I put in the work so I can say that, yes, I've done what i set out to do. 

My first marathon was in Alaska and it took me 6.5 hours to completed it. That is such a long tim to be on your feet. It was a cold and wet day so my lips were purple when I crossed the finish line. During ht moments of struggle I kept telling myself to pay more attention to the views, as it was so beautiful. "I'm running in Alaska!" I reminded myself.

More recently, I set a goal to run a 5k under 30 minutes and endup up being closer to 28 and a half minutes.

Running-induced crazy story

I still can't believe I completed the Extraterrestrial half marathon in Area 51in Nevada. It started at midnight with a full moon  and the Perseid meteor shower providing the light.. Well, that and all the green glow-in-the-dark stuff people were wearing.  You could see nothing but outlines of cows and cactus. 

With it being so dark and so late, it was harder and harder for me to stay awake. There were moments where it almost felt out-of-body, because I was walking but I was also sort of sleeping. I had a friend on either side  so if I swayed a bit too much in one direction or another, I'd get propped back up. We finished in just under 4 hours (normal time is about 2.5 hours) so feel we perhaps were abducted during the run.

Advice for new runners

If you can just make it out the door, you've already done it. Just go out and start walking. Maybe run for 30 seconds in the middle of the walk. That's all it takes. Those 30 seconds make you a runner. You will rarely regret going for a run but often regret not going. 

Find some people who already do it so you'll be held accountable. At first, nothing else can make you want to get out of bed at 5:30 or 6am but knowing there is someone else waiting for you. You keep each other in check.

Get good shoes. If your shoes don't fit right, they can create all sorts of pain and can turn anyone off running forever. 

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