At several of our RLAM tour stops, women have told us we need to write a follow-up book called Run Like a Grandmother. If we did, Meghan Ling, 45, of Encinitas, Calif., would be our cover girl: This mother of two and grandma of one is training to set a personal best at the New York City Marathon this November.
Best recent run: Today! My husband and I did a trail run after work. It was an easy 6 miler, just cruising at sunset.
Best part about being grandma: Everything! I especially love just stopping everything when our grandson comes over. No matter what we’re doing, we just flop down on the floor to play with him. Sometimes, all I can do is just stare at him and watch him react and interact. As a mom, you’re always thinking about what you need to get done. As a grandma, it’s all about living in the moment. I know how fast it will go so I just want to appreciate every second of his life and his development. I slow down and try to notice everything about him and stay present.
It’s a helluva town: I’m just excited to run a marathon in a new and exciting place like New York City. I’ve never been to NYC, so I can’t wait to soak up the environment and the people. I’ve heard there is wonderful crowd support and it is even more exciting than Boston--I can’t wait. My greatest excitement, though, is the training I’m doing now and will be tackling throughout the fall. It’s more mileage than I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to see how my body responds. I tend to be more process oriented than product oriented which means that my training is about 70% of the whole marathon or racing experience, and the race is a fun culmination to the training.
Slow to warm up: The older I get, the more time and care I need to take in getting my legs, body, and mind ready to accomplish my goals. Most days, especially if I’m going to have a hard workout or I’m racing, I need to dedicate at least two miles or 20 minutes to a good warm up. I’ve made many mistakes in the past, such as going out too fast in a race. But then my legs exhaust more quickly. If I take the time to slowly wake my body up, it responds much better. I am now including some strides and fast sprints into the second half of my warm up for races and this is really helping me. It’s always worth it in the end: I never regret a good warm up!
P.R. at 45: Running for fun and enjoyment is still my priority but I am pretty competitive with myself, and I enjoy setting goals and working hard to reach my potential. I set a 10K personal best in July (42:15), and I intend to set another in New York [Meg is too modest to say she's aiming for 3:19], but we all know that in the end, we can only do our best. I can’t wait to see what that “best” will be for my 45-year-old body in November. Remember, don’t limit yourself or allow others to do so. Anything is possible if you are willing to work hard: I am living proof of that!
Running guru: It’s important to surround yourself with positive running role models. I run with two groups. One has people of all shapes and sizes, from high schoolers up to grandparents. I met a strong, tough, and friendly runner who was close to celebrating her 60th birthday. She suggested I try out a track club in another area. Her encouragement was all I needed to carry my running to a new level. The track club provided me the opportunity to surround myself with more positive running influences: a great and supportive coach, fast men and women of all ages, some elite runners and some ultrarunners, as well as triathletes. My Strong Friend continued to encourage my running for three years. She had won the Western States 100 a while ago, and her passion for running and her wisdom became my greatest inspiration. She is a living example that age is just a number and that power, strength, speed, and endurance exist and thrive to those who put in the effort to accomplish their goals.
Gotta-have-it: My hand-held Camelbak bottle. I carry water, and sometimes Ultra Fuel, one every single run. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found I can’t ever allow myself to get even a tiny bit dehydrated, so I’m never without hydration options. I’m finally used to the weight and sloshing of the bottle, but it took a while!
Follow this mother at: http://www.megrunsalot.blogspot.com/