Not the “Greatest Generation”. That was my grandparents, God rest their souls.
I mean the best generation… the one trying to clean up the mess that the Boomers made and preserve things from the destruction of the Millennials. (Kidding, parents and kids! I love you guys!)
We are Generation X, so I’m JenX. I get asked this all the time, but no, I’m not related to MalcolmX. He was a member of the Greatest Generation.
I live in Michigan with my husband of 25 years and our seven children. Yes, we’re Catholic. Yes, we know what causes that. We homeschool because I’m sensitive to noise and clutter and chaos. Yeah…
It wasn’t until I was 42 and had six children that I first took up running. I was in the midst of losing weight and getting fit so that I could keep up with my kids. I didn’t want to be the mom who sat on a bench at Disney World and watched her family have fun.
To stay motivated I I would switch things up with a new challenge every few months. Our town hosts a 5K that I usually watched from my couch, so I began the Couch to 5K plan.
I learned two things: I loved this running thing and I was not a natural at this running thing. I was slow; really, really slow. My foot hurt. My hip hurt. Let’s not even talk about the delicately named “pelvic floor”. Yet somehow great joy coexisted with great frustration.
It’s five years later and I’ve gone from a 5K to a marathon and I still experience great joy and a fair amount of frustration. Every step of the way I’ve searched for reading material that relates to what it’s like to be a runner, especially an average midlife runner.
Most of what I found was technical (which was enormously helpful!) or geared towards either end of the running spectrum and I could NOT relate…
“How to Run a Sub-20 5K the Morning After Fraternity Initiation”
Okaay… I’m never running a sub-20 5K even if I get plenty of sleep and swear off alcohol.
Photo Caption: “Five of my gal-pals and I lined up in front to start the Super Sparkly UltraMarathon. (#notimetotrain) We walked arm-in-arm the entire time singing show tunes (#sofun) and didn’t finish, but that’s okay because they gave us medals anyway. (#nextyearbeachinit)”
Argh, respect the distance!! (And the other racers!)
So I’ve decided to write what I wish I had found more of. I hope that it’s encouraging to other GenX runners who are average-to-speedy and average-to-slow.
I wanted to know things like: What do you do when you have running sunglasses but you get prescribed your first set of bifocals? Is there such a thing as athletic bifocal sunglasses? (Yes, and they’re expensive!)
How do you handle an increased need for potty breaks during a long distance race without it killing your time? (I stopped three times and didn’t even really need to go.) Are you ever too old for a running mini-skirt?
There is nothing I like more than going for a two hour jog on rural dirt roads, except maybe the fun of a race. Whether running or volunteering, I’ve had some amazing race experiences. My PRs are as follows:
13.1: 2:39:31 (potty breaks!)
Yeah, about that marathon… I’m not impressed with the time, either. I am super proud of myself for gutting out some rough weather conditions. Quite a few racers dropped out. But between the weather, a migraine, and some rookie mistakes my performance did not reflect my abilities.
Granted, my abilities still would have placed me in the back of the pack, but I anticipated finishing about an hour and a half sooner than I did. Sooo… I want redemption. I was going to be “One and Done” with the marathon. Now I’m saying “Two and Through”.
Thank you for visiting! I’d love to hear from you about how you became a GenX runner! What happy discoveries have you made and what worries or frustrates you? Email me or comment on the posts. Your perspective is valuable, regardless of pace or distance run.
Then please share this with a friend who could use some encouragement. Together we are in this for the long run!