I first met Anne a few years ago on our regular Friday night sessions at the climbing wall. She was this ball of energy with bright red hair, always seemed to be having masses of fun and I loved bumping into her for a chat.
As the years progressed, we kept in touch via Facebook. When she started running, I never failed to be inspired by her enthusiasm for a sport which she maintained she was no good at (despite regularly entering races).
So when I decided to add an “Inspire Me” section to this site, chatting with Anne about running immediately sprang to mind.
In her own words…..
If you’d have told the teenage me that the 58-year-old me would be hurtling down hills, slipping and sliding through mud and running half marathons, I’d have laughed so hard I’d have spilled my Babycham over my leg-warmers.
I’ve never really done sport, not at school, not as I started my journalist career, not as I moved to the higher-flying world of PR. I played the odd game of badminton and did a reasonable amount of hiking. I also like aerobics, footless tights and leotards were definitely my thing.
I started running when I was 48, it was Ruth, a friend who wanted to get back into the sport after having a baby, she wondered if I’d like to try a gentle jog as that was all she was up for. Hell, I hadn’t run a step since I was at school, but what was the worst thing that could happen? Well, I could run 100 metres and nearly collapse with exhaustion, lungs bursting out of my chest, heart thumping its way to my mouth. But it didn’t put me off, in fact, I wanted more, apart from the nearly collapsing.
Ruth suggested we try a 10k, I roped in Noel, my husband, who has always been a rather good runner and we ran the Dewsbury 10k, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve joined a club, done more than 200 parkruns, run a lot of races, never won any of them and come last in a couple.
I’m not a fast runner, I’m too interested in what’s going on around me, which is why I prefer the trails and fells, but it just great to be in the great outdoors running on my own, with friends or in a race. And do you know what? I feel great.
I don’t think I’ve ever been fitter than I am now, maybe it’s because I am older and want to make sure I look after myself more, but I do run a lot, three or four times a week, I do circuit training once a week or so and also yoga, which is very good for keeping me bendy and stretchy. I also have an allotment, so consider all the digging I do to be a serious work-out, with the added benefit that I eat organic fruit and vegetables.
Having said that, I’m no spring chicken and I am definitely creakier, especially when I stagger out of bed on a morning, but it goes, usually with the help of a hot shower. And sometimes I do ache after a race, but that’s what compression tights are for (ooo I love them!). For me, though, the biggest barrier is motivation, sometimes I find it hard to just get up and go and I have to give myself a good talking to.
I know I’m never going to break any records, but I do want to get better and run just that bit faster, because it feels good, it really does. With the big 6-0 coming up I want to do something special, maybe run a marathon….
There are no age secrets when you run, your age category is there for all to see. I do a series of veterans’ races where we have our age pinned to our backs and I am so impressed to see how many over-50s there are.
I love running, it makes me feel energised both physically and mentally, I’ll do it as long as I can move one foot in front of the other.
I wish my teenage self had been motivated to be more active, I feel I could have done so much more, maybe even won a race. But it is never, ever too late.
Thanks Anne for taking the time to answer a few questions 🙂
To read more of Anne’s very witty musings, check out her blog: https://stripeyanne.wordpress.com