When is it too old to run?

Image rights - AP Photo / The Canadian Press

I enjoy running.

Am I a fast runner? No. A long distance runner? Not really, my longest run was a half marathon, twice, and not without injuries. Does it come easily? I wouldn’t say so. But nonetheless, I enjoy it.

Every now and again I toy with the idea of running a marathon, but then I think about the time required to train, the injuries, and the … injuries. If I recovered quickly I wouldn’t mind them as much, but they often sideline me for extended periods of time, months, and it’s not worth it to me.

And then someone like Fauja Singh comes along and it makes me wonder if it’s in me. I mean, if he can do it at 100 years old, why couldn’t I??? (Don’t you just love his smile?!)

He ran his last marathon in 5 hours, 40 minutes, and 1 second … 8 years ago at the age of 92.

Mr. Singh is my hero. I love his story and youthfulness. The marathon may not be for me, but I love that he will motivate someone to lace up their running shoes and get out there.

Maybe it’s you.

UPDATE:

Mr. Singh completed his marathon yesterday at 8 hours, 25 minutes and 18 seconds. Pretty darn impressive.

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Track and Wait and Field

Like many parents, Palo Alto and I faced the summer with angst. The age-old question of what to do with the children during summer vacation came up, and just like last year we were back to the empty calendar before us and a list of summer camps to seriously consider.

One that rose to the top of the list was neighborhood Track & Field. It met all 3 of our requirements:

  • Close in proximity to our home (practices that is; meets totally different)
  • Reasonably priced (per class cost was alone reason to do it)
  • And it would do the work of tiring them out that would not include either adult having to breathe heavily or break a sweat.

To boot, our kids were interested (that always makes it a lot easier when you don’t have to drag them kicking and screaming).

We’re very fortunate in that the coaches for our Track & Field team are trained professionals, truly dedicated to sharing the sport with our children and helping them identify with the athlete in all of them.

My girls love it. They’re starting to learn some of the techniques involved with the various sports and have already found those that they know they’re good at (long jump, 100 meter, 200 meter).

When I say that we picked a camp that would exhaust them, I’m not lying. They have practices 3X a week at 6PM — which in Texas time that’s hot-as-hell-hour; and most weekends, for the length of the camp (6 weeks), they have a meet that are typically on Saturday.

We’ve gone to 2 meets so far. Last weekend the two youngest and I headed off to a meet in Lockhart, TX. Except for the unbelievable heat, the long, tireless wait, the disorganized events, my locking my keys in the car, and then having to get my car jumpstarted, we had a great time.

Did I mention the tireless wait? Lord help me, it was excruciating. The organizers were just ill-prepared and it showed. Here’s a picture of kids lined up in their heats, and waiting…

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Here they are waiting again…

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And these are the coaches waiting … (this wait was ugly, with tears and raised voices, and I’m not talking about the kids)…

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This little one was onto something. She just plopped down on the track! Waiting…

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But then there are moments like these, and I’m reminded of why I signed my girls up for this.

Look at her fly!

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And this. Here’s our awesome coach leading his athletes to their next event.

Coach Jermaine Cooper, University of Texas All-American / Image rights -allthingsana.wordpress.com

And our other awesome coach reminding said athletes that half the battle is trying, and next time will be better.

Coach Krysta Spring / Image rights - allthingsana.wordpress.com

That Texas heat knocks us around a bit, but it never breaks us.

New half marathon training

Half marathon / Image rights - fitnessmagazine.com

My favorite time to visit the mailbox is at the end of the month when my new magazines arrive. We have subscriptions to several great ones, sometimes making it difficult to find time to get through all of them in a single month, but my top 3 favorites I seem to get through TOO quickly.

Most recently I’ve loved my Fitness Magazine. The irony is that when I subscribed to it I was thinking I was subscribing to Women’s Health Magazine so you can imagine my surprise when I got my first issue. A few months later, I have to admit that I am so happy I screwed up! It’s a great magazine! Chock full of great exercises, recipes, useful information, and tips.

In this past month’s issue (February 2010) they have a great write-up on half marathon training schedules for beginners and advanced runners. I don’t consider myself an advanced runner and so I’m focusing here on the beginner schedule. What I love about  it is that it includes quite a bit of walking. A lot of other half marathon training plans I’ve come across online build up your running over the course of your week, but running — when your body is not really used to doing it so regularly, nor when you’ve trained your muscles and joints to withstand all that impact — can do more harm than good, moreso to your ego than to your body. One injury or set-back and it’s super easy to quit.

What I love about this training schedule is that you really can keep up. But you have to be alright with walking during your training. Some people aren’t. And for them, that’s fine. As for me, my opinion … don’t worry about walking part of your first half marathon! I’m always so proud of people who just get in there and experience the half. It’s incredible! I should know because I walked quite a bit of my first half, and trust me, I wasn’t the only one! And in the end, it didn’t matter because I was just as proud of my accomplishment as that first person who crossed the finish line.

So, my new favorite half marathon training can be found at this Fitness Magazine link. I do want to change it up just a bit. And this is purely based on my own personal preference for not running two days in a row. That being said, I will look to spread out my runs so there’s no back-to-back running on Saturday and Sunday. It worked out well for my first half and I’d like to try it again.

I’ve said it before, JOIN ME! I have yet to pick my next one this year. Or tell me which one you’re signed up to do and I’LL JOIN YOU!

Ellen Degeneres

I was at the gym today, had my earplugs in listening to some music while running on the treadmill. If you have an AM/FM radio in your playah you can synch up to one of the large screen TVs above and watch anything that’s randomly playing (at our gym it’s often ESPN or Fox News). I don’t have an AM/FM radio. I have an old iPod and so listen to my music but watch the TV (can we say multitask?). Ellen Degeneres was on the TV right above me and in my opinion, you don’t really need sound to laugh along with her.

Well, an older gentleman sidles up next to me on the treadmill to my right, gets himself warmed up, just about ready to go, then notices that Ellen is on the TV directly above us. I can see out of the corner of my eye that judgmental look. He looked at the other TVs further down the row, looked up at Ellen, shook his head a little bit, then started to make a move to another machine. Before doing so, he stopped and interrupted me, asked me if I was watching Ellen. “Yep, yes, I am,” to which he mosied on over to another machine.

I dedicate the Ellen above to my friend at the gym who can’t appreciate the funniest lady ever to grace our televisions — one of the funniest Ellens ever. (You have to understand my humor. I laugh when people fall down. NEVER TO THEIR FACE (right Alisa?), but I do laugh. “Oh she’s young. She’ll be fine.”)

Goals for this year

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions anymore. Too much pressure. Instead I write down goals that I want to accomplish. I’ve been pretty good about doing this for my work/business, but now I’m extending it to my personal life too. I know, should be something I focus on anyway, but being a Mom, it’s easy to forget about yourself. It’s good friends that remind you. Thanks Genny!

This year I want to:

  1. Enjoy more time with my kids individually. I have 3 amazing little girls and I often wonder if I’m depriving them of quality time with each parent when we do stuff as a family or with another sibling. Don’t get me wrong, those are all special moments, but there’s something you discover about them when they’re on their own that makes those moments extra special. I love taking them out to dinner and asking them questions, talking to them about their classes and friends. I’m just always reminded of how incredible they are, their personalities, the way their minds think. Loads of fun!
  2. Grow my marketing business. This is my first year so growing it should be easy!
  3. Learn all I can about my new camera. Photograph, photograph, photograph so we can always remember how special these years truly are.
  4. And finally, run two half marathons. One is my goal, two is my stretch goal. I ran my first last year, and I’m hooked.

Go visit Genny at My Cup 2 Yours where people are Talkin’ About their goals this week.

Disappointment

Well, I’ve known this for a few weeks but have finally come to terms with sharing it with my online friends. Don’t be alarmed. In the whole scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, I know that, nonetheless it’s a huge disappointment to me.

I was looking forward to running the Zooma Half Marathon on March 27th in Austin. That’s not going to happen. I’ve been sidelined from running for a few weeks. I had a knee injury that was bugging me, then I had some terrible Cedar allergies that only until last week the meds have finally cleared up the congestion and asthma. On top of that I’ve been crazy busy with work. What does this all mean? Any form of exercise that I’ve gotten in the last few weeks has been my crawling into bed from a 12 hour work day, or lifting my head, a head full of a thousand pounds of mucus.

I’ve looked into other half marathons and the soonest to take place in the Austin area is not until July. That one’s a trail run. No thanks. I don’t want to get my shoes muddied  up. I know! Ridiculous, but seriously, I don’t enjoy mud on or in my shoes, on my legs, up my back! No! Then there’s another run a few miles away from here in August. Have you ever run in Austin in August? Might as well be renamed “Half Marathon in Hell” that’s how hot it is. No, can’t do it. So… that leaves me with October or November. Big sigh. Seriously, very disappointed. I could look into doing a virtual half-marathon with a random group of people online, but it’s just not the same thing. There’s something about that energy at a half-marathon, the crowds cheering, your fellow runners beside you, that propels you forward. I need that.

So, I’ll have to look into possibly other areas. I was hoping to stay close to home so I could bring my girls and Palo Alto to see me. That’s still the plan, but … I don’t know. Not many are popping up. Then there’s the ING half marathon in NYC. That would be a great one, but that’s not until November.

Uggghhh, so disappointed. Stupid allergies. Stupid knee.

ON THE UPSIDE!, I hit the gym  yesterday and ran a couple of miles on the treadmill. Felt incredible! I’m slowly coming back.

Barefoot Running

Vibram FiveFingers / Image rights - vibramfivefingers.com

When I ran the San Antonio Half Marathon in November 2009, I spotted a man in front of me at the start line that had these weird five-fingered sock-like shoes. They weren’t your traditional running shoe, they were flat, lightly padded, went up to his ankle, and, well … weird. He got a few stares and some people asked him about them but I was too focused on beating the front-runner in the race to listen to his response (the front-runner who crossed the finish-line just about the time I crossed the START-line).

Time magazine had a recent write-up about barefoot running, then I came across this article on ABCnews.com again on the barefoot running and minimalist shoes.

Many of you are probably hoping that I’ll go out and test the waters for you, give you my own perspective on whether or not you should pick up the sport (or sock shoes). Well, don’t get your hopes up. I just spent too much money on New Kicks, and more importantly, it just doesn’t seem safe. Is it just me, or is no one worried about the glass or rocks on the road and sidewalks? The article mentions that your feet toughen up, but … I don’t think any “toughened” foot, coming down on a piece of glass at twice your body weight could avoid the pain or inevitable cut. And frankly, I don’t think callused or “toughened” feet are all that attractive on people, especially if you’re female (or male; we’re open on this blog) when you’ve got a pretty little pedicure going on!

The other option is to go the minimalist shoe route, which is what my running friend above was sporting at the half marathon. Again, nope. I can’t be seen wearing that thing!! Thats’ a fashion road hazard!

But seriously, it just seems like a fad to me. It may work for some — and more power to them, I’m all for everyone finding a running method that works for them — but intuitively, rationally, it just doesn’t seem like our feet were meant to run with little to no support. In truth, were we really meant to run at all?

Note that the study they reference in the ABCnews.com article, on the benefits of barefoot running, was partially funded by a minimalist shoe maker. Imagine that?