Clarence Hartley has lived a full life. He is 81-years old and has fought in both the Korean and Vietnam wars as a member of the United States Air Force and served in the military for 24 years. He also fought and overcame non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a form of cancer, and later, battled prostate cancer.
Hartley has a passion for running and when he was originally diagnosed, he thought of the obstacles that Lance Armstrong overcame for inspiration to keep going. Surprisingly, he didn’t start running until he was retired, and ran his first race at the age of 68. This year, at 81-years old, Hartley was the oldest entrant into the Boston Marathon. Hartley’s desire for running shows us all that you should never give up on your fitness goals.
My marathon career began in 2007. My journey began as a slow and uninformed runner. Today I am proud to be a a two time Boston Marathon finisher. My journey may be unique, but I believe the lessons I’ve learned along the way could be of value to any runner or hopeful Boston Qualifier.
1. Respect the Distance
Every race distance must be respected. However, many gifted runners can water down the training for shorter distances. But not the marathon. The marathon is a beast that will eat you up and spit you out if you don’t properly train. The distance is tough enough, do not add insult to injury by not sticking to proper training. If the week day plan says to run 10 miles, a slap of the snooze button and a 5 miler will cost you. If the plan says your long run this weekend is to be 20 miles, 16 IS NOT 20. That choice could equal you pleading with your maker at mile 21 of the race to just “make it all go away!”
Bottom line. Keep the beast happy and train properly.
Many people begin to slow down in their 70’s, but Sister Madonna Buder, “The Iron Nun”, has done just the opposite. The Roman Catholic nun has garnered much attention for her athletic abilities, and she’s indicated that she will be running in the Boston Marathon next month.
The author of “The Race to Grace”, her autobiography about her journey to running, Sr. Buder is well known for competing in more than 40 Ironman Triathalons, a grueling race that consists of 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run. The Spokane, Washington nun is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community.
Sr. Buder began training more than 30 years ago at the age of 48 after hearing a priest speak on the benefits of distance running. “The priest told me ‘You’ve got to keep this up, it takes at least two months before you know what the runner’s high is,’ ” Sr. Buder said. “20, 25, 30 years later, do I know what the runner’s high is? No, but I sure know what the lows are.”
A double chocolate cupcake, or running almost 112,000 foot steps? What would you choose?
Although the former sounds more delicious, that is exactly why our great nation is in a state of crisis. And that is precisely the reason that inspired me to run a double Boston Marathon.
If you haven’t dropped over dead from that last statement, congratulations. The first question that probably raced through your mind, was “What in the world is a double marathon?”.
Let me try to explain.
I like to run. A lot. In fact some call my love of running crazy, insane, nuts, and even a bit freakish. Perhaps they are right.