Trail Sisters Half Marathon & 10k

September 14th • Buena Vista, CO

Zero to Sixty

You can find me out on the trails; working at my son’s cafe; attending a mama in labor; or hanging out with my family. I started running ten years ago at 57 but lived a very active life before that, and I’ve always loved the trails. I also love to write, so this summer my goals are to increase mileage to prepare for fifty miles in 2025, and to write the second edition of my book on natural birth.

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Life has been very full over the past weeks and months. I have a big growing family, and stuff just keeps happening and growing. With five sons and a long-time husband, and three daughter-in-laws and a son-in-law and two grandsons… there is always movement and change. There’s all sorts of personal dynamics and sometimes conflict.

A few days ago, everything just sort of broke down for me. I realized that I was being pulled in six or seven different directions, but also that I was misjudging what people actually wanted or needed from me, and in my confusion, I ended up hurting the only person who has been my north star for over forty years, my husband.

And where does running fit into all this?
Two ways: first, during my very difficult and intense and heartbreaking days (in a nutshell, when I thought I’d actually broken our marriage), I kept on running. I only went out for a mile or two but I went out. I got the run done, and I felt very slightly better.
But the second way that running is so important to my personal life, my growth as a person, and my ability to survive and thrive, is that I have learned so much about persistence, endurance, discipline, self-control … you name it, I’ve learned it from running.

  • Getting out there for my daily run, even if I don’t want to, has taught me to do the things I don’t want to do. Of course, being a mother will also teach you that, but mothering is so much more complicated! Going for a run is so simple, and that makes it easier to learn from.
  • Putting one step in front of the other taught me that life continues, no matter what. I know that no matter how I’m feeling, I will still breathe and move.
  • It offered me an opportunity to learn more about nutrition, especially from the stand point of an older athlete. Ladies, we need MORE protein as we age, not less.
  • Running helped me combat my SAD(seasonal affective disorder, which we northerners can suffer when we don’t see the sun during the winter). I just decided one winter about five years ago that I was going to get out there throughout the winter and run. From snow to ice to sleet, in temperatures down to -25, I dressed up warm and went out for my run. And I felt so good!
  • Putting the training in for a big race? Reminds me that life, love and happiness don’t come for free. You have to work at them.
  • Getting a stomach flu right before a race that you’ve worked so hard for? Reminds me that life is always unpredictable, that stuff always happens, and responding with grace is a skill worth learning.
  • Knowing that there’s only one person who’s responsible for getting out there-me! – has taught me invaluable lessons about accountability and discipline.

I need to unlearn some bad habits I’ve gotten lazy about in my relationships with the people closest to me. And the fact that I’m a runner, and I know about training and how to create and keep habits, means that I’m going to have an easier time doing that. I know that if I decide to run at least a mile every day for a year, I can do it. So I can try to focus that kind of discipline into my personal habit-breaking plan.

But on the fun side! Running has also shown me that my body is a gift: a gift that I’ve been lent that I have to take care of. I’ve learned the practice of gratitude: it was what kept me going with a smile on my face for 50k. I’ve learned to extend that practice into my life, and I’ve noticed that things break down when I’m not grateful.

As a woman in your sixties and beyond, what can a practice of running offer you, and what can you bring to the practice?

It can offer you physical health; that feeling of being a very hardcore old lady; the chance to get outside in any weather; a possibility to be on your own if you want, or with like-minded runners if you want. Running can offer you community, companionship, or solitude. It can provide you with clear goals if you’re that way inclined.

And what can you offer running? As older women, we already know about endurance, stamina, discipline, moving through hard times, physical pain … all the things that we will encounter sooner or later, especially if we decide to go the ultra running route. We can also offer an example to our younger women and girls who will see an active, powerful old lady running along the trails with a big smile on her face. They will want to be us when they grow up! With all our scars, bad habits, and complications, running can only make things better.

About the Author

You can find me out on the trails; working at my son’s cafe; attending a mama in labor; or hanging out with my family. I started running ten years ago at 57 but lived a very active life before that, and I’ve always loved the trails. I also love to write, so this summer my goals are to increase mileage to prepare for fifty miles in 2025, and to write the second edition of my book on natural birth.

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Sept. 14th 2024

Buena Vista, Colorado

Half-Marathon & 10k

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