Grandma Jogging Through the Finish Line!

resized Max 10K Large 12238715 - CopyWhy would a 70-year-old grandma run a 10K race, covering 6.2 miles? Because she wanted to, she set a goal, and she made a commitment.

Grandma jogging through the 10K Finish Line! And so did my Grandson (10) with his Dad, my son. But they ran of course! Andrew Max Oma 364x273 resize 10K April 2012 036

On race day the air is filled with energy, excitement and adrenalin rush. It is absolutely contagious. And the moment you cross the finish line is so awesome! You get hooked and want to be part of it again and again.

After a year of healing from a foot injury and training for three months, on March 31, 2012 I finally crossed the finish line once more: sweaty, huffing, puffing and thinking: “Wow, I completed once more” with 40,600 plus participants. It was a fun family affair of walkers, joggers, runners, and racers. The youngest tugged along in strollers with their parents while the oldest, age 92, competed with the young. At the end, everyone feels this ‘Wow!’

Why Would Any Grandmother Want to Even Try to Commit to Join a Race?

Oma 320x230 resize 10K Large Good question! I asked this myself many times during the training or in the middle of the race. Every race participant will tell you that it is not easy to train your body for that exertion. And an exertion it is! Just stand at the finish line and see everyone huffing, sweating, puffing, panting… Then why do it?

Ah, here are a few reward secrets:

1. Your Body’s Gift: A Sense of Energized Health

The day(s) following a race, you will enjoy an upbeat energy and a keen sense of well-being despite feeling some sore or tired muscles. I always interpret this as my body saying ‘Thank You’ for that thorough internal cleansing workout.

As we exert, our circulation speeds up and rushes through all our systems to give it a good flush of hidden waste products or toxins. We know the importance of drinking a lot of water while exercising. But we may not think about the greater benefits to hydrate our system to support this rinse and cleanse process.

When I huff and puff and sweat, I visualize all my internal pipes, the largest and smallest (veins and arteries), being shaken and flushed of debris (the nasty cholesterol plaques). I think about the after-rewards I have enjoyed before: more energy, an extra bounce in movements, and a positive attitude and overall outlook on life. That’s what keeps me going!

2. A Sense of Accomplishment and Camaraderie

Nothing feels better than achieving a goal. Whether it is walking, jogging or running to lose weight, strengthen the heart, or reduce the nagging aches and pains in joints and muscles. Whether it is just for the fun of testing our physical capacity or for the health of it, our goals are very personal motivators. And then, achieving those with fellow participants adds a high dose of spice and fun to stay motivated and push us a bit more to test our limits.

Oma K M 350x318 10K Large cropped12238733But the greatest satisfaction comes from the camaraderie or a sense of belonging to a group and finishing together. Though usually I enjoy training alone, this time I had joined a training group at the YMCA. It was the best experience and I asked myself, why hadn’t I joined a training group before? We immediately became friends who share a common bond: to train for three months and master the race. In addition, as we discover our own pace, natural ‘pacing sub-groups’ develop. Margret, Carole and I became a pacing group and jogging buddies. We enjoyed and encouraged each other through the weeks and finish line.

A fellow participant said it best: “Wow! The training made the event so much more exciting and memorable for me. I would not have experienced a fraction of the satisfaction that I did from setting and achieving personal goals for the run.”

3. The Power of Spectators’ Cheer

While in the race, you are showered with supportive energy from cheerleaders, rock bands, and spectators who are packed along the course. It feels like an extra energy wall pulls and pushes you along, especially when you hit an energy low. When you train alone, those moments test your own determination to not give in or give up your goal. But during the race, the energy of cheering spectators take over and push and pull you along. An awesome experience!

Are you ready to join the next race?

Three Simple Tips to Give Your Activity Program a Boost

It does not have to be race. But we always can benefit from an extra boost to appreciate the benefits of an exercise program of any kind or commit to an intentional activity with a goal in mind. Here are a few tips that have inspired me and still do:

1. Join a cheering spectator crowed at the next race in your town. It is a wonderful energy lift and motivator to become active and maybe a participant the next time.

2. Read comments of enthusiastic race participants like: “Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” -M. L. R.

3. Watch some inspiring videos: Dr. Volkow “Running Helps Me Cope with Stress”

It does not have to be running. Dr. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health is in his sixties and sees regular exercise as a way to maintain health and fitness as he grows older.

The more we can keep active, the more we can keep mobile, the better chance we have of continuing to act like a fairly young, healthy person as long as we possibly can.

Have Fun being Active!

 

About Ute Goldkuhle

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