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Discover Your Reason to Race

Advice From a Former Olympian Marathoner


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    Last Sunday at the ripe old age of 56 I ran my first race EVER!! I ran in a half marathon and while I didn't finish in the first half of the pack or even the first 75% of the pack, I DID finish!! My time was an entire minute per mile faster than any training run. The 13.1 miles was 5 miles further than I had EVER run/walk. I stuck with my plan (walk 50 seconds, run 40 seconds) and I am hooked!! I do notice a huge let down - because it's over. The worst part was the anticipation and the self doubt. But once the race began in the pouring rain, and I had ascended that steep hill which was the first mile - I KNEW I could do it. I encourage anyone who is second guessing themselves to give it a try. Even if you have to walk it, you CAN finish and isn't that the real goal? Good luck!
  • Just what I needed to hear this morning. I started a C25K programme on August 1st, ran my first 5K on October 23rd, and last week signed up for a 5 miler on December 17th. Today's run felt slow and sluggish and I was starting to second guess whether I "deserved" to be out there in a race with serious runners. I forgot that important part about it being what *I* want it to be. Thanks for the reminder and the motivation. Looking forward to my next training run ... for ME!
  • Excellent motivational article! I started running because walking was getting boring. Then I decided to do a virtual race here on SparkPeople. So I decided to train with one of their programs. In the middle of the training was a race for our local humane society, so I figured I'd do the training there & help them out. Well, my dog and I ran that and we took 2nd place for women over 50!

    If I didn't have the bug before, I do now!
  • Just loved your article! I walked a 10K last spring and this coming Saturday I will RUN my first 5K! For the past year, I walked 5 to 10 miles 5-6 days a week but as for running, I always put up "walls" saying to myself, I'm too old, my joints/feet can't handle running, etc. I've been training and feel confident I can do it. I'm 61 years old and have NEVER been a runner or an athlete. I'm excited and anxious!
  • SJM2002
    I completely agree that training for a race keeps me motivated, I always have one in the works! Great read!
  • I run local races for all of these reasons. Once I'm registered for a race, chances are I am more likely to stick with some sort of regular running routine. Some say its an expen$ive habit...but I tell them, hey - I don't really eat out and a proceed of the profits go towards charity. I enjoyed this article. I never knew there was such a fun-filled community amongst runners.
  • I am turtle, but I finish
  • Loved reading this article. It confirmed what I felt when I ran and completed my first half marathon last weekend. Yeah for us runners! (I can't believe I just called myself that!) LOL : )
  • I am a "late bloomer" runner and this article is so true of me! I remember in college I worked up to running around the track 4 times, but often struggled with a "stitch" in my side. Then in my 30's I started running again and for many years, ran 3 miles. One day I told a trainer that I was bored in my workouts, and he told me to train for a 10K. I thought I could never do it, but felt such a huge satisfaction when I completed the race with a decent time. Then I realized that if I pushed myself, I could be a "contender." In my 40th year I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. When the young marine put the medal around my neck and saluted me, "Job well done, M'am!", it was a huge high for me!
  • Being in a road race is so much FUN. In '00, I walked in 9 races, from 5k to a 10 miler. Yeah, sometimes I came in last, but so what? I got the t-shirt just the same. You can't believe how proud I was to wear that 10 mile race t-shirt. There were 2 of us walking, and yes, we were last and the goodies were all gone, but we trained just the same as the runners and we did it! 4mph race pace, not bad.

    I made a race singlet that said "Walkers are athletes too" on it. I never was a runner, even when I was at a normal weight. I always think the runners look miserable and standoffish anyway (if you're a runner, no offense, JMHO). Walkers always have more fun since they're not trying to "win".

    That was my best year ever I think. Reached my goal weight, walked for hours and loved it.
  • I just finished my first 5K! It was so fun!!! Please don't hestitate to try out racing. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to finish the race but I placed 5th in my age catagory. You can do it too. Training is harder than actually running the race.
  • This was a fairly interesting article.

    By the way, it's "hordes of runners," not "hoards." A feature article should be proofread.
  • Great points about motivation. And it doesn't have to be a race to challenge yourself. A few years ago I was invited to join a group of Scouts for a two-day backpacking trip. About 20 miles of hiking rough trails, with packs. I had made a lot of progress in my fitness and decided to see if I could do it. One of the toughest things I've done, but I felt like a champion because I made it.
    My boot camp instructor challenged us to enter a 10k race. 4 weeks ago I couldn't run 1 km. I am now running/walking 7 km. Race day is 3 weeks away. I am really scared. But this article helped set my goal in perspective and helped motivate me for the next 3 weeks of training!
  • I would love to be able to one day soon take part in some of our charity road races.I know that i'll have to build my core strength,and work on muscle strength,before I do any of this.I would definately feel overjoyed to be able to complete the course............. This is a future goal.

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