For the love of middle aged running

I’ve been running all winter, second winter in a row. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I have only recently fallen in love with running. In fact, I was out running 8.6 miles at my first Run Minnesota Spring Half Marathon Training Program run, I realized several times on the run how much I love running. 

Run Minnesota Spring 2022 Marathon & Half Marathon Training Program – first run!

Old pain

This week has been a particularly emotional week for me as a family member had an emergency that resulted in a short hospitalization. The event triggered a lot of unresolved, so far, old pain for me. Thankfully, I had time and space to feel my emotions and sit with the pain and allow it to move through me instead of again stuffing it down and not feeling it, which I did as a child, for survival. 

In fact, this past week I cried more and felt more deep old pain than perhaps I’ve ever in my life thus far, cried and felt. Yes, the pain was old and since I was feeling it with new awareness, the amount of pain in my heart and body was nearly debilitating. 

Two good things, I have an excellent therapist and I can at long last sit with difficult emotions with self-compassion, forgiveness and patience. 

Running love brings tears of joy

As a result of the tears being at the surface, when I was out on the Run Minnesota run, and realized again how much I love running and how new it is for me to love running, it caused me to start crying as I was running. At the moment the love burst in my heart and the tears started falling on my cheeks I was running alone. I am a Team Leader with Jenny and Katie for the 12 minute milers and Katie and Jenny were ahead with the group of runners doing the 12 minute mile pace.

Running with a fellow runner with diabetes

I had hung back with Greg who joined Run Minnesota’s Spring Training Program because he’s going to do the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 18th in Duluth. I’m doing that half marathon too! Greg is newer to running and like me he has diabetes. It was a big deal for Greg to be out there running and we shared a wonderful two mile connection and conversations, sharing about our health journey’s, our diabetes stories and our commitment to fitness. After two miles, Greg turned back as he was doing an out and back 4 mile run. We bid adieu and I continued on, running faster than usual with the goal of catching up to the others. 

Running alone

Thus I was alone for part of the run. During the alone time, as often happens for me, I tune into what’s happening in my body. Tuning into my body made me think about Atomic Habits, as the habit of running can only become mastery when: Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery. I can claim that running three times a week, doing a long run on Saturday mornings, has become a habit, all of which is reinforced by my running, athletic friendships with Jenny, Marie, Nadine and Monica. 

Atomic Habits for habits insight

I’ve been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and his book is blowing my mind in that so much of it is how I have built healthy, good habits in my life. You know, the way I cook nearly every Sunday for the week ahead, that I meditate every single day every morning before I get out of bed, that I write at least 15 things in my Gratitude Journal every evening before I go to sleep, and that I lift weights two times a week. These are just some of the good habits I practice in my life on a consistent basis.

I just finished chapter 19 in Atomic Habits and in it James Clear says, “The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.” I rarely get bored, so that statement got me thinking. Perhaps I have fallen in love with boredom, so much so that I don’t recognize when boredom settles in. And that made me laugh! 

Cadence and breathing

Back to that 8.6 mile run last Saturday. I focused on my cadence and my breathing. It was 4 degrees Fahrenheit when the run started and it was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit when it ended, so the air was cold, activating my exercise-induced asthma, making it harder to breathe. After Greg and I parted ways, I started sprinting, thinking that would catch me up faster to the group ahead. All it did was wear me out! That too made me laugh, not too much laughing, as I was already breathing heavily. 

I slowed down and tuned in again, keeping my pace steady and consistent. I went back to my run-walk-run rhythm of 3 minutes running followed by 30 seconds fast walking. That felt familiar and I realized I could see the women in the group I wanted to catch up to. Seeing the group caused a wave of belonging and joy to fill me. Right then I got a text from my co-Team Lead Jenny telling me she would wait for me at the Lake Street bridge. That too brought tears of happiness to my eyes. I was feeling the feels out there running! 

Never too old to love running

Here I am, a 56 year old woman who will be 57 in two more months, and I only started loving running this past year, despite participating in running consistently for more than fifteen years. Go figure, falling in love with a sport can take a while to happen. I am super grateful that I have virtually zero pain when I’m out there pounding the pavement and that I have a pack of running friends who remind me to keep finding the joy in moving my legs forward.

How about you, do you love running? I love hearing from you, please tell me about your relationship with running. I love learning from the community!

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4 thoughts on “For the love of middle aged running”

  1. Don’t love running, so I don’t do it. Don’t love lifting, but I do love the time to think or what I’ve come to think of as “scatter focus” from the book Hyperfocus. I do find lifting boring, but I do it anyway. I have come to love the dumbbell chest press however. This morning a virtual coworker inspired me to go back to handstands – something I gave up during the pandemic to cut my time in the gym.

    Thanks for all the inspiration and indeed the laughs.

    I appreciate your openness about having a hard time and the tears. Lead on.

    • Linda, you don’t love running but you are a champion walker!! And your passion for the boredom and repetition of weigh lifting is inspiring to me and many others! I love it that you call the mental time during weight lifting “scatter focus” great way to describe it. That’s a bit of what happens for me when I find myself running or cycling when I’m alone. And handstands, AMAZING! I have a FeetUp trainer and that’s as close to a handstand as I will get, due to dizziness! I’m extra impressed that you’re adding that back into your routine. YOU INSPIRE!! As you say, lead on amazing human!!

  2. Thanks for writing about middle age running. I have been running on and off all my life and love it, just like you Mari! Currently I am injured and feeling discouraged, telling myself my body may be too old to run. And then I see your blog and it brings new motivation.
    I would love to run with you, Jenny, Nadine, Marie and Monica sometime.
    Long live running!!!!!

    • Oh no, you’ve mentioned the injury you’re dealing with Sheila and sport related injuries are THE WORST. Hang in there! Keep seeking the medical/physical therapy support you can find and hopefully they will offer relief. Another resource is Carrie Jackson. I know Carrie and she’s super insightful and helpful around injury and recovery. Here’s her website: I really want you out there running with me, Jenny, Nadine, Marie and Monica! After all, you are a member of Team Looking Sharp!!

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