1

“I’m Still Standing ….”

It’s an old Elton John song about survival, so I scooped the lyric for my update here.

I’m still running about three days per week, 4-5 miles at a time. I’m using a new app callthumbnailed “Strava” which helps me keep all kinds of records.

Facebook gobbles up any interesting thoughts or events, like the time I recently met an elderly gentleman who stopped me to chat, and when we finished admonished me, “Hey, when you see me again out here, don’t stop me.” I found this terribly amusing, and I’m not sure what fate had in mind for us to meet, but we did. And my un-paused Strava shows that we had a nice leisurely chat.

I still love my 4 mile loop, never tire of the same sights, even find them comforting. And this summer, I didn’t run anywhere out of my comfort zone. I never even crossed McGalliard because in the early spring, I saw the collateral damage from a fatal accident on the corner of Oakwood and McGalliard, exactly where I cross. Something in me wilted that week, and each time I passed by the skid marks after the initial day, I grieved and felt vulnerable.

But this is only August 9, so I may decide to run on the BSU campus yet. We’re having really mild weather right, perfect for running.

I guess the highlight of the summer was the Indy Mini. I was just about two minutes slower than last year, which turned out to be an unexpected result, as I felt great in the last stretch, better than ever, and pushed myself. I’m not sure how much of the slowing is due to age, weather, shoes, etc. I’ll never know. But I’ll never quit, as long as I can run intelligently and avoid toes getting caught in concrete cracks — but that’s a story for another day.

2

New Kid in Town

Well. When I started this running-grandma blog, there was one grand; now there are two, two precious girls.

I am 54 now, still running.

Recently, in a meeting not related to running, a leader suggested we all consider the “whys” of what we do. That is, we were encouraged to remember the reasons we started a certain practice, review the reasons, see if they were the same, modified or needed to be completely rehauled.

So I’m asking myself, “Why do I run?”

When I started running, around age 32, I was concerned about my appearance. I simply wanted to lose weight. Slow and self-conscious, it took me years to say, “I’m a runner” because I couldn’t justify my form and speed.

In the mid-1990s, in a long season of depression, I ran because I found that vigorously pounding the pavement left me feeling … that’s it–left me actually feeling, no longer numb. I believe the exhaustion and the sun helped heal me. What a gift running was!

Throughout the years, I ran to prove something to myself and probably to other people. For instance, I have been proud to note that the little girl who hated phys ed and did not excel at athletics is now active daily and pretty fit, while many of my peers stopped moving long ago. Occasionally, I see my old gym teacher in public. He doesn’t remember me, but I remember him and his less than supportive comments. I’ve been tempted to approach him and tell him about the irony of my running, but that’s silly. It’s enough that I know what I know. I know what I’m capable of, and that makes me smile.

I also ran to meet tangible goals: distance, time, new routes, 5ks, halfs. I never ran to get faster. I just kept plodding along. I was competing against myself for the feeling of achievement, not winning.

I ran for the euphoria of a good run and for the pride of enduring when it was awful. There were years I ran faithfully, years I ran fitfully. But I never stopped, never gave it up.

So, have my reasons changed? There’s still a part of each that I mentioned above in why I continue. Right now I’m training for my 3rd or 4th Indy Mini. I just bought new shoes, and I’m in a really happy place: I’m fit, my weight is healthy, I feel good about being able to do what I do at my age, I still enjoy the euphoria and even the occasional disappointment. And I have no qualms calling myself a runner–simply because I run. It’s what I do, part of who I am.

However, there is one reason I run that is fairly new. Last week, we were playing with our 4-year-old granddaughter in the yard. She wanted to “run races.” Just like that, I was transported back to my childhood, when the neighborhood kids and I ran races all the time! Our granddaughter and we ran several races, changing our “teams,” changing the route (like around the house!) When each race finished, she grabbed us around our knees, squeezed her eyes shut tightly and hugged with all her might. We jumped, we cheered, we panted, we raced again!

She doesn’t know we’re old. Well, she knows we’re older than she is, yes. But I asked her once to guess my age, and she said, “five.” So she thinks we can run just like she can, run like the wind. I do not want to disappoint her. I want to run and play with her as long as I physically can.

And now there are two. The second girl is not yet crawling, but soon she’ll be on the move, and one day, she’ll say, “Let’s go! Let’s run!” and I intend to do just that. I’ve always said, “I want to be the reading, baking, rocking, running grandma.” I hope our girls will always remember the joy we shared in the times we grabbed each others’ hands and ran through the spring grass like we were young, all of us.

 

3

Crankles: Cranky Ankles

grumpy_cat_by_flicker_dolls-d77hxa5New shoes, scary twinges of pain. What to do.

I’ve only run on the treadmill, so they’re still ok to return, not many miles on them, but I can’t bear the thought of returning them. I lurve them.

Yesterday I ran 5 mi total, 2.5 in old shoes, 2.5 in new shoes. This morning, I stepped down one step into my family room and felt a pain in my ankle. This isn’t the first time since the new shoes.

I’m wondering if it’s because they’re stability shoes and my ankle is angry about being stopped from going where it wants to go. I can relate to that. I’m wondering if it’s because of my age. I’m wondering if I’d be having this injury at any point in my life regardless of shoes because injuries just happen. But I’m not ready to call this an injury, yet.

How do I tame this ankle?

Most articles I’m reading suggest returning the shoes. Boo!

Some suggest breaking new ones in is a big deal.

I can’t give up on them yet. I’ll try more breaking in. As per the picture above, I’ll tend to the cranky, grousing ankle before it starts screaming, “Get off my lawn, you blasted kids!” Getting old stinks. Feeling: Crankle-y.

 

0

Sniffles: To Run Or Not to Run?

Sneezing, honking, tearing through Puffs like they’re soap bubbles … it’s a new year’s cold, everybody! This is putting a big wet Puffs blanket on my plans for getting started in 2015 like gangbusters. What do you do?

0

2014, Over and Out

IMG_0498Happy to record that I met and slightly passed my running goal for 2014. The average pace and number of miles is not exactly staggering, so I’ll hide refrain from posting the numbers. Let’s just say the mileage is between 300 and 1,000. But I think I have a fairly challenging life regarding finding time for running. I’m either watching my grandgirl or helping my mom. Or doing the usual things like bathing and laundry, laundry and cooking, and laundry and laundry. Plus, I’m 52, so aches and pains are more prevalent now than 20 years ago. Despite eating pretty well and taking supplements, I have less energy. There is a difference between 32 and 52. And I just can’t run at night. Physically, it’s nearly impossible.

I didn’t meet my half-way mark at June 1, like I planned, so I used the second half of the year to play catch up. That was rough, too.

But I did it!

And maybe more important than the number is the fact that I set a goal and met it. I actually set a new year’s resolution on this date last year, and I kept it. So now I know what I can do. I know what is possible. I’m looking forward to attaining more goals in 2015, small and large, one literal and figurative step at a time.

0

Tricks of the Grandma Running Trade

IMG_5422

Every day my granddaughter takes a nap, sometimes for 30 minutes, sometimes for 2 hours. I never know what to expect. Since she arrives in the mornings, it’s difficult for me to get a run in before she gets here. Thus, I’ve been striving for a nap time run for some weeks because I just can’t run in the evenings after she goes home. I think my perfect hour of running (I was going to say, “Hour of Power,” but that has been taken by a TV pulpit)  is about 10:00am, which only happens on the days I don’t have her. 

The problem is, her room is directly across from the exercise room, and the treadmill is noisy. OK, my footfall is noisy, too.

So once I rock her and lay her down, I haul an air purifier from the other end of the house that I use at night mainly for white noise. I crank that thing up just outside her door so that the air in her room doesn’t get dry. 

Then I either turn on the TV, muted with closed captioning on, or I listen with buds to music. So all there is to hear is the hum of the purifier mingled with the whir of the treadmill. So far so good. Many times I’m able to get in 3 miles, so I can’t complain. Well, I can always complain about the Midwest winter weather, but that doesn’t count!