Starting out the #NewYearHSV Journey
January 4, 2017
My Running Story – Chelsea
February 7, 2017

Running with Age!

By: Tina Lockhart

I was never a runner and always thought I could never be a runner!

Four years ago I joined a local physical fitness group to empower health and wellness for women.  Some of the ladies had registered to participate in a 5K and I decided to go as a cheerleader to offer support and encouragement. So afterwards, I expressed how I would love to participate in a 5K but I’m not a runner. That’s when they introduced me to a whole group of lady 5K walkers. I registered for the next 5K as a walker and because my ankles were hurting, I came in last place.

After talking with my co-worker, she instructed me to go and get measured for the better running/walking shoes. Well, I figured the exam is free and I’ll get the shoes later but of course, I came home with my new running shoes with cushioned inserts and a size and half larger than my normal shoe size. I was amazed at the increased shoe size but astonished by the cushiony comfort of my new shoes.

Now that I had the right shoes, each month I registered for a 5K race. To set my goal to participate, I had to set walking times on my calendar…you know like when you schedule getting up to get ready for work, eating lunch, going shopping, bedtime, etc.  It required a schedule.

With encouragement from my favorite coworker, six months later, I signed up for the Couch to 5K at the Marshall Space Flight Center.  I’ll have to admit, it was harder than I had imagined. The first class, you walk 2 minutes and jog/trot 60 seconds which at first seemed more like 60 miles. As the program advanced, each week they added more running than walking time and by the end of the training program I had registered for three 5K’s which I completely ran all three winning second or third place in my age group in each of them. My best placement of all time (38 minutes and 18 seconds) was the 3rd placement in my age group in the Cotton Row Run. WOW, I won a medal in the Cotton Row Run. Oh, I forgot to tell you! When I started the couch to 5k training…I was 65 years old.

Can you believe it? It took me 65 years to pick-up my feet and start running. Now I must admit, I had some ups and downs, a shin splint, a swollen knee and learning proper breathing. I had to prepare for tackling different weather conditions; cold, hot, snowy or raining, after all, on race day you have to take whatever the weather is on that day. Also, good clothing will determine a good run whether it was long pants or short pants, knees socks or ankle socks, a hat or a jacket with a hood or sometimes in really cold weather, all of them.

My goal is to register, show-up and finish the race. I have never entered a 5K race to win a medal but sometimes along the way, I manage to bring home a little “bling” which has included some second and third placement wins in my age group. During the past four years, my collection consist of the following medals: two Rudolph Runs (2nd/3rd place), Cotton Row Run (3rd place), Give it Back Track (3rd place), and She Day MSFC (3rd place), just to mention a few. Sometimes I participate in a Virtual 5K where you can walk or run with a group or alone at your own pace and location which has included some memorable runs; the Olympics 2016 Brazil, Veterans Day 2016 and Martin Luther King Day 2017.

At the age of 68 years young, my motto is still “Get Up…Get Out…and Get Moving”!

It’s just that simple! I’ll be looking for you on the running track, path or race! Enjoy the Run!