Okay, I admit: I play favorites sometime. This week's momma, a newbie blogger but veteran runner, is one of my best friends in Portland. Ellison Weist, 53, even appears in Run Like a Mother a few times (e.g. she’s the runner who encouraged me at very end of Eugene Marathon). While Ellison is in a different phase of life than a lot of us are—her grown daughter just got married—I look to her for guidance time and time again, whether about running...or reading.
Best Recent Run: Has to be the eight-mile run I did about a month ago in Augusta, GA, across the river from where our daughter, Carol, was married. It was an eight-mile out and back through the Summerville neighborhood which features beautiful antebellum homes. The weather was amazing—mid-60s with low humidity--and the houses were lovely. An added benefit was coming away with an appreciation of living in Portland, OR, where runners and walkers are, for the most part, respected on the road. In the South, it’s runners be wary!
Hellish Half: This past week-end I ran my 10th half-marathon and my worst one to boot, the annual Run Like Hell race in downtown Portland. My time was a full six and a half minutes slower than last year, and I felt stiff and sluggish throughout the whole way. So I admit to feeling relief when my sports massage therapist told me this morning I was more out of whack than he’s felt me in five years. Lessons learned were: don’t neglect my core work, which I admit took a backseat over the last couple of months; don’t skimp on training and expect your overall fitness to carry you; and realize that life gets in the way. i.e., my daughter’s wedding across the country three weeks prior just might have been a tiny stressor!
(Wo)menopausing: When I started running, 30+ years ago, you saw very few older women running, especially in the South. These days I’m surrounded by women runners my age (53) so I thought it would be fun to start a blog about the challenges we face. What I’ve found is that many of my contemporaries love what running does for their bodies and enjoy being seen as younger than they are. But they aren’t happy about discussing the Big M because, as one woman told me, “that labels me as old and dried up and that’s the last thing I want to be seen as. Can we change the subject?”
Can’t run without: Two things: my Garmin Forerunner and a pair of gloves. I’m very anal about tracking my run time, splits, etc. [EDITOR/RUNNING BUDDY NOTE: YUP, SHE SURE IS!!] so I can’t believe I ran without a distance watch for more than 25 years. And I have Reynaud’s syndrome so 10 months out of the year it’s popsicle fingers unless I wear a good pair of gloves.
Running solo: In February 2005, I began running with a new friend, Monica, who at that time lived two blocks behind me. For the next five and a half years, we ran five days a week, no matter what the weather, no matter what was going on in our lives, and at times in spite of being annoyed with each other. Some days it was rainy, cold, and nasty but we never, as Monica once said, “left the other standing on the corner.” We ran the NYC Marathon together and did our first Boston side by side, even though Monica is much faster than I am. She became my best friend, someone I came to not only enjoy but love dearly. And then last July she and her husband, Jay, moved to Sweden for his job. It was like losing a leg, and I am still amazed by how much I miss her. Running solo has its perks (I don’t have to get up as early!) but I would go back to those 5:00 a.m. wake-up calls in a second just to have her around the corner.
Running versus reading: Sorry, but no contest here. As much as I love running, I would give it up in a second if I had to choose between it and reading. Years ago my daughter nicknamed me “The Book Bully” because of my tendency to approach total strangers in bookstores and recommend titles to them. I am the original book-geek, a true bibliomaniac. My maternal side of the family tends to go deaf while my father’s side of the family suffers from macular degeneration, a disease that robs you of your sight. I was elated the other night when my husband, Karl, noted that he thinks my hearing is going.
Follow this mother at: http://oldgalrunning.blogspot.com/