Took the day off from running, figured I needed a break. Instead, I went to the Sanderson Center and did some weight training, which I actually like more than running in some ways. Did some dumbbell military presses, arm curls, overhead triceps extensions, lateral dumbbell raises for the back of my shoulders, dips, leg extensions, and a few other things. I love lifting weights, it really makes me feel good!
I’m not sure that I really think of myself as a runner, even though I have been running since I was a kid, well over 30 years. Oddly, I never ran track or cross country in high school or college, but was a decent runner at the time. 5ks in the low 15’s to low 16’s were not that hard. But, I also starting lifting weights when I was 12. Probably too early, but it satisfied a much needed way of relieving the stress of our less than perfect family situation. My brother Steve (1 year younger) and I would go out in the yard and lift all the time. We stayed skinny because we walked, biked, or ran everywhere. We could both bench press twice our weight in high school and do heavy squats and all of that, but we never gained much weight. I really started running more after high school and at one point was running 100-120 miles a week and biking about three times that! Also continued lifting a lot and I loved to play basketball. Those were the days! I worked part time and played full time for a while. Ironically, at that time period when I was in my best shape, I never ran a race. I did not even know about them. I finally started running some races here and there. In one of my earliest, I ran a 3 mile course in 15:07 after having been directed the wrong way and doing two extra blocks at the start. I started taking my youngest brother Mike, who is 10 years younger than me. He was 12 at the time. The first race I took him too was the Gum Tree 10k, which he finished somehow. He really got into it after that and was a distance star at Starkville High before running two years at Mississippi College and one year at MSU. After he got in college, I pretty much stopped running races. To be honest, I have very little desire to run races, even though I really enjoy running. I did keep running, but only about 20 miles a week, and I never looked at a watch. Then, when my son turned 12 and showed serious interest in running, I started taking him to 5ks, and now the cycle is repeating! During that 15 or so years in between, I had really got into the weight lifting and weighed 200 lbs at 5’9″. I could bench around 400 lbs and all of that, but that weight is really useless for running!! My first 5k back was 23:30! His time was 24:30ish. That was a wake up call! The last time I had timed one it was more than 8 minutes faster. After running with Joseph for the last two years, I am 25 lbs lighter and the last 5k I did was 18 minutes flat. That was last fall, and I feel a lot better now. I hope this trend continues and would love to run in the 17 minute range or better again. I may or may not though, as I don’t really want to lose any more weight. I enjoy being in overall good shape, rather than just being in good “running shape” or “lifting shape” or whatever, and love doing sports like volleyball way too much, and mountain biking and kayaking and, well, you get the picture.
At this point in my life, I don’t have any real goals for running, other than I love to run and want to continues doing it for many years to come. I like being outside, looking around, taking it all in. I suppose that is partly do to the fact that I am an artist. I don’t plan on doing many half marathons in the future, as I think in general running that far or farther is hard on the body and defeats the purpose of trying to be in good shape and good health. My main goal right now is to push Joseph for as long as he is interested in competitive running. So, trying to hang in there with him a bit will be the thing to aim for. Good luck with that! Joseph can already run under 17 for the 5k now, so there is obviously a big advantage to that whole youth thing! At least I can sort of keep up with him on easy day! I really enjoy running with him and the other kids that train with us. They definitely keep me feeling young.