Running – a Life-Long Activity

I do like to run. It’s not an easy thing to do, but there are tons of benefits. Some obvious, some not so. Now that I am sixty, it’s something that I MUST get back into for the health benefits, and for just getting back out there with my thoughts and nature.

I got into running because all three of my girls were great at it. Because of that they moved to the running sports in elementary, middle and high school, not just because they had the knack and will, but running sports are not nearly as subjective as other sports. You toe the line and show yourself, teammates, fans, and the coach what you are willing to do. I also became a coach of track and field and cross country, not only because of a love for the running sports, but because this was a great way to connect and do something with my daughters.

As I said before, I got into it because of my daughters. You can’t just run around the house and get good, you must put in the miles, and there is no better way than to get out on the trails or old country roads and run. I hated to see my daughters out there by themselves, so I started going with them. Now, let me say one thing, I am not a runner for speed and never will be, but I could stay out there with them, always finished well behind them, but I knew they were ok. When I started coaching girls cross country, I did the same thing. During practices I ran the routes to make sure the girls were ok, and that everyone was in.

My youngest daughter and her grandma posing after her last home cross country race as a senior

From all of this I started branching out to local races and runs with my daughters and friends. During the summers we would run numerous 5k’s and 10k’s to stay in shape and just to enjoy the camaraderie. Running is one activity and sport were nearly everyone cheers and encourages everyone, especially those running in the back of the pack where I normally was 🙂 We also got into some winter running – now that is fun. Years ago there was a yearly 5 mile run in January at a local state park. There is nothing like running in zero degree Fahrenheit on a January day!

Yours truly at a 5 mile run on a cold January day. Photographers always catch you with the perfect facial expressions during runs!

Eventually my daughters graduated from high school and I coached a few more years, but then decided it was time to get out of coaching, mainly because I decided to go the administrative route with my career. I did still keep running for a while. Before the administration stint I still ran with my teams and friends, doing numerous longer runs (those are the fun ones) eventually doing 2 half marathons. 13.1 miles seems and is a lot, but if you properly prepare for them, they are a blast! Eventually though – the running stopped!

Running is a lifelong sport, and even though I am sixty, I just started back into it. I haven’t run very long, but those old feelings are coming back. Yes, the pain is still there, but that goes away, usually very quickly, but the good feelings, getting better rest, and yes improving the health is coming back. I love it and now that I am retired, it is time to step it up – slowly though! My goal is to run another half marathon at a civil war battlefield. I will do it!

I have many years experience in running and the best thing I can say, if you are thinking about it – do it – BUT start off slow. If you want to hate the sport right away, just go out there and try to do a 5 mile run the first time, and when you wake up the next morning the soreness will make you quit right away. Walk what you can, increase that distance slowly, eventually add some running, and it is OK to slow down and walk. You WILL get out of breath, but that improves over time, and you will find yourself soon not concentrating on the hurt and heavy breathing, but what is going on around you and the thoughts you have while running. I have solved a lot of problems out there running!

Running is a life-long activity – especially if you do it right and don’t start too hard. I now have started a training program to run a 5k in 12 weeks by Garmin and it starts you off slowly and gradually picks it up. Find a program such as this, watch videos about beginning running (especially good form videos and drills), find someone for advice or to run with, don’t do too much too soon, and have patience! Before you realize it you will get better, you will enjoy it MUCH more, and your health will improve. Run by yourself, with friends, and with family. My entire household has done races together, I have run with my daughters and wife, will run with grandkids, and run by myself a lot! It is not something that happens right away, it does hurt some at first, but gets a lot better and I believe improves mental health as much as physical health. It is a lifelong activity. Nothing gives me more joy than watching my daughters and former team members still running long after being on the cross county team! Oh, and you may need someone to help you here – but get some good running shoes! Nothing will stop you running sooner that not having the right shoes to run with! Have fun – I do!

My family and I at a Race for Hope event in Washington DC a few years ago.

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to like or comment. I do this to record my thoughts to share with my family and friends. Thanks for being a part of that!

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