As I posted in my first blog post, The Rest of Us, I'm not an elite runner, nor do I aspire to be. I'm a professional photographer and business owner whose passion is running. But, like my passion for photography, the desire to improve and be the best runner I can be has lead me to dig deep to find out how to be that person. At one time, I was a photographic hobbyist, but God planted a desire to go further in my heart and lead me to some wonderful teachers and opened doors to allow that to grow into my profession. I spent many hours and much money (and continue to do so) studying with the country's best and brightest photographers in order to improve my skills and become a professional. I bring a lot of that same passion to running. I want to be the best I can be, while knowing this will never be a profession for me. The good news is, it's much simpler and less costly to improve my running skills than it has been to improve my photographic skills.
The two things I'm asked most often is why I run & how do you start. I'll answer the why first. I love the way running makes me feel. Don't misunderstand that. I didn't say I love how running feels. The truth is, it hurts more often than not. That runner's high you hear about all the time? Yeah, with me, not so much. Maybe on race day, seldom on training runs. It's how I feel when I'm done that keeps me going back again and again. Focused, strong, fit, bulletproof. Like I've really accomplished something. I love that. So, that's what I seek. I love being almost 50 and knowing that I can outlast most 20 somethings I know. I also run because my husband and I lead very active lifestyles that don't lend themselves to being out of shape. We're avid scuba divers, we hike, bike, swim, and generally love all things that allow us to be outdoors and enjoy God's amazing creation. So, I run to keep up with my man. He's pretty fierce. Especially for an old dude.
The second question is how do I start? A lot depends on your level of fitness when you begin. I've run off and on since my mid 30's, but was unable to maintain a constant level of training until 2 years ago. That's when I decided to train smart. Getting older does have its benefits, learning from unfortunate past experience is one of them. I started strength training with a personal trainer and worked with her for about a year, building my strength and getting a running base established. (Love you Michelle Banks!!) Then, it was off to the races. I ran and trained and raced all last year, paying careful attention to my body and adding stretching (even though I HATE that) to each run. This year, as I look forward to the NYC marathon in November, I've added weekly yoga, massage, and chiropractic to my routine.
Don't think that you'll start running this week and run a marathon by the end of the year. You can definitely walk one if you train for it, and there are a lot of walker friendly races around. Start small, run for time goals (30 minutes to start), and gradually build up. Find someone knowledgeable to help you add strength training and balance to your routine.
The good news is: running is simple. Not a lot of eye/hand coordination involved. Thank God. The bad news is: distance running takes time to build to. That's not really bad news, we're just a nation of instant gratification junkies who think it is. But, that's another post.
"We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10