How did you start running and when?
I started running when I moved to New York years ago. I was working for the Australian Consulate and some of my colleagues were training for a marathon. I picked up a training sheet from the NY Cardio Health Board and was impressed by the fact that they started with a 3 minute walk and then a 3 minute run and began and ended with a 5 minute walk. Slowly but surely they built you up to 5 mile, 10 mile races and then half and full marathons. I had always thought that running was an efficient way to keep fit – you can do it anywhere, don’t need equipment (except good shoes) and you can do it alone or with company. I couldn’t afford to join a gym at that time so it seemed like an easy way to start looking after myself. I also thought I would lose weight! I then got married and moved to San Francisco and discovered lots of wonderful places to run and I took part in my first 10k race. I also joined a gym and started to use the treadmill too. I adore running outside but the treadmill was a good alternative when I missed my opportunity to run in the daylight.
My weight has fluctuated all my life because of the craziness of the 60s and 70s when we all indulged in grapefruit and egg diets and living on thin air. I discovered that running for me is a joy and keeps my fitness level high – now it is no longer a means to reducing my weight but instead a way to clear my head, lift my energy levels and keep me healthy. Lately, I’ve been injured, suffered a couple of problems such as adrenalin fatigue and I let the running slide away. I miss it so much. Yes, it was hard to actually get myself up and out there again but when I did it, the feeling was simple euphoria. Like meeting up with an old friend again. I am busy building up my miles and time again and it is great fun. I will not even run with my dogs because running is MY time!
When you are doing as I am now, and building up my miles and times, or when you are training there is nothing better than working on the core muscles and feeling your strength supporting you as you run. That is where Pilates is irreplaceable. You can hone in on tension spots and really stretch out any problem areas whilst at the same time maintaining and improving your strength.
How often do you attend a Pilates class?
Not as often as I want to or should! I like to go to one class a week but two would be superb. When I am on holiday or don’t have access to a class/gym, there are plenty of exercises that I feel confident to do on my own.
Yes, I do! I love the camaraderie and the atmosphere and the sense of achievement. I am quite determined to enter another half-marathon very soon. I am not a marathon runner. I trained for it once but the training became a chore and was taking the joy of running away from me. I am also scared as I am not a young slip of a gal anymore!
How do you motivate yourself to get outside and run when it’s cold and wet?
Well, I grew up in Glasgow so cold and wet is par of the course for me! I suffer more in the heat. I simply look forward to the lovely warm bath or shower that I will get at the end and that wonderful tingling glow that I’ll feel when I’m bathed and dressed. I also verbally insult myself if I have second thoughts!
I am and since I have not been with that group I’ve felt quite bereft! When I said earlier that I was injured and had some ‘health’ issues, I was also very unmotivated and hid myself from the group because I thought I couldn’t keep up. Since then I’ve turned things around, the welcome from the group, the support and the laughs has made me realise what a twit I was not to have just gone along anyway. I also help out with beginners – Sarah B.mentioned in one of your previous interviews that she ran at the back with me and I was thrilled to bits that she remembered that! When I see beginners take off with their running it’s so rewarding and thrilling! And it is also nice to have familiar faces running at the back with me – nothing wrong with that!!
Yes, I feel that it’s always good to have an alternative form of exercise and Pilates and Running do go together like that old horse and carriage!
It is never too late and running keeps me young – another great advantage of being in a group is that if I’m racing sometimes people will hold back and run in to the finish with you or wait for you and give you a big cheer. And we all need a great big cheer now and then!
We do! Thank you Valerie!