Lifetime Activities

When I was in high school, one of the gym class options was “Lifetime Activities.” Lifetime Activities was marketed as a class that would introduce students to a range of activities that we could enjoy over the course of our whole lifetime: golf, tennis, badminton and archery. Yes, archery. Don’t you know lots of silver foxes out there doing archery? My friends and I thought of it as the gym class that wouldn’t get us sweaty and ruin our hair or makeup, so promptly signed up. Because, while we all played on sports teams and may have been Sporty Spices after school, we weren’t about to let a gym class interfere with a good blow dry or meticulously applied blue eye liner during the school day.

It was the 80’s, after all.

A few decades later, it is National Running Day and I ‘m psyched to see that running has become a lifetime activity for a lot of people. Certainly more so than badminton. Who plays badminton, by the way? The only badminton players I can think of are the Chinese cheaters in the 2012 Olympics. I think I’ve seen more people playing bocce in my ‘hood (that would be 1 person) than badminton (zero people). Just Sayin.’

I met an older gentleman at the last 5K I ran – he didn’t share his age, but he placed in the over-70 category, so I know his decade. He came up to me because I was wearing a Boston Strong headband and he wanted to know if I had any information on qualifying for the Boston. He just ran his first (!) marathon last year in Florida and loved it but wasn’t thrilled with his time. He now has a goal of getting a BQ time in the next marathon he runs so he can run Boston someday. So very cool, and I hope he makes it. (He’ll need a 4:40, BTW). I was so happy to see him medal in the 5K.

Then, of course, there is Harriette Thompson, who, at 91, just set a record for her age group at the San Diego Marathon. Harriette started running marathons when she was 76 and has run one per year ever since. (I officially feel like a lazy sloth.) A cancer survivor, she is currently battling cancer again and underwent radiation therapy on her legs shortly before the race. (I officially feel weak of mind and body too. Did I really complain about the heat on my long run the other day? For shame.)

When asked for some words of wisdom by a reporter, Harriette responded, “I guess I could say it’s never too late.” Wise words indeed from the second oldest marathon finisher ever in US history.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

So there you have it. Running: The New Lifetime Activity. Start anytime you like and no need to stop until your body forces you to. No fancy equipment, no special techniques. Just you and your sneaks. Truly an activity that can follow you wherever you go. For A Lifetime.

Colby and I talk about running races together when we’re older – chicabands placed firmly against our perma-sets, compression hose on our legs, big wrap-arounds covering our crow’s feet. I love seeing and meeting older runners who are paving the way for us to tear up the courses in a few decades. I don’t ever want to give up running and am grateful for every older runner who inspires me to believe that I never have to.

Plus, we’re planning on it being a heck of a lot easier to place in our age group once we hit 70.


28 thoughts on “Lifetime Activities

  1. I hope to still be running when I’m 70 too!

    High school gym classes are so strange. My school offered summer gym, so I got to get it over with in the summer and not worry about getting sweaty during the school day. I know someone who took ONLINE gym in high school. What???

    • Online gym? ‘Splain, please.
      We had a lot of gym options, and by the time I was a junior, I could do “independent study,” which meant signing up at a local gym and getting my card stamped every time I went to show that I worked out at least 2 times per week for 45 minutes. Much better than having to try and keep my eyeliner on during gym class!
      Cannot understand how online gym works in high school.

      • The idependent study idea is a good one.

        For online gym, he was required to wear a pedometer and reach a certain step count a day, and I think he took quizzes on different sports? I’m not sure what else was involved..

  2. Ahhhh T-Bone. Of course you and I will be running until we’re old and gray. Although I may be still rocking a pony. Not sure I can pull off a “wash n set” look. The best thing about Harriett? She’s 91. A Cancer Survivor. And she ran that bitch with a full face of make-up. I LOVE HER.

    And. In honor of National Running Day, I have decided to run everwhere. In the hallways. In the lab. Across the street. To my car. EVERYWHERE. Screw walking. 🙂

    • Harriette was not concerned about her eyeliner. I could learn a lot from her. And we both know we won’t be the permaset types. I don’t think I could wrestle my mane into that kind of style anyway.
      Love your idea to run everywhere, but please refrain if you are wearing the killer wedges from the other night. I would be awfully sad if something happened to them.

  3. 90 frickin ONE…she looks incredible. I know people in their late 70’s that look worse for the wear…oh and she’s battled cancer once and is battling it again…insanity. Looks like I need to step my game up. One marathon a year for the rest of my life, its settled.

      • Still pondering Santa Rosa. Most likely it will be something small since I would have to figure out my level of seriousness this late in the year! It wouldn’t be as aggressive a plan as New York was…but still aggressive enough to ensure that I don’t hurt myself. When is Philly?

      • Philly is November 23. Unfortunately, the Spartan Fenway race is November 15, so I may be a broken-down shell of my former self if I run it. I think I’m just going to go for it, though, because otherwise it is the fall marathon that makes the most sense for me. Would have been a great year to run NYC. Damn lottery.

  4. Great post. My husband and I plan to be running until we pop our clogs hehe but I am also planning to be a very trendy old running-grannie. Lots of pink, tutus and sparkly stuff for me. Loved your post! Running sure is a life-time activity even if for some us we only started in our mid-40s. And as for you and Colby you two will keep on running I’m sure.

    • Stylish to the end is a must. Colby’s compression hose will probably look like the Ed Hardy Tattoo sleeve shirts. I’ll probably lean toward argyle. I think that is awesome that you started running in your mid-40’s. Just awesome. What made you decide to start?

      • Love the sound of thise Ed Hardy compressions – is have a pair of those now! Decided to run when a number of starts lined up but mainly because I’d just married my true love and he is a runner. He suggested I could sit in the car and wait for him when he did his club runs… I’m not the sort of woman who waits in cars so I decided to have a go 🙂

  5. I want to be Harriette Thompson when I grow up. She looks fabulous!
    (Haha I took archery in school too. If the world ever goes all Hunger Games, I will be well prepared.)

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