I am a very nearly 65 year old woman who loves to run, loves the thrill and excitement of competition.  I've always been active but not particularly athletic.  My first organized team sport came when i was 32 years old, that first day i put a pair of skates on my feet.  I had been watching my sons do speed skating and it was like an electric force ran through my body.  I HAD to do it..like it was a missing piece to my life.  So I tried it.  I was never quite aggressive enough to be a good competitor but I did learn a lot about discipline and how to be a team player.  Even the lowest ranked team player can elevate the team as a whole.  I watched my son Lee, he had so much fire, dedication and passion for a small boy of six! He is still that way today and I'm very proud of him.  After several years I switched over to artistic dance skating where my passion catapulted me to heights I didn't even dream to achieve!  Standing on that podium at States and Regionals with a gold medal around my neck, flowers in my hand as the National Anthem played and cameras flashed was a high point for me, it would be for anyone.  As I stood there I thought about how all the hard work and sacrifice had brought me to this moment.  It was so worth it!  When I started skating I kept a daily journal with me at each practice.  I wrote down what worked for me, where my head should be as well as what didn't work for me and thoughts about how to rectify those things.  I also wrote inspirational things I had read and wanted to remember, to use as a mantra during practice.  I wrote about criticisms from coaches and judges.  If I didn't place I would try to talk to the judges and ask what I did wrong or what I could do to improve.  I still keep a journal to this day with my goals and each step I hope to achieve.  I set small attainable goals which gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps me moving forward.   I understood from the beginning that putting skates on your feet does not make you a champion.  You have to put the work in, many many hours of hard work,and just because i put sneakers on, doesn't mean I'm going to win a race.. 

     With age I learned to listen to my body, sometimes being gentle with myself and sometimes getting tough with myself, much tougher than I like !

     I retired from skating and after a very short time my husband Kenny and I were in Florida and we went to a nearby park that had a fitness trail.  Kenny said 'lets try it'..and I thought "easy peasy"..so not!!  It wasn't at all!  I was shocked to get to the second station all out of breath and my face beet red!!  Holy Cow!  How did that happen so fast?  I had only run about 100 yards!  Right then and there I made a decision.  I decided I wanted more for myself.. I NEEDED more!  I decided to take control of my life. I needed to grab onto life with gusto!  I began a journey of discovery, I began to research the human body, what makes it tick, what heals it, what's toxic to it.  I began eating more close to the earth and today I eat mostly organic fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese and butter.  It is a little more costly but so worth the investment.  When I eat meat it's usually grass fed and my fish is never farmed.  I'm always learning new things to better my body.

    After that eye opening fitness trail we returned to New Jersey and every evening after work Kenny and I would go to the beach and run.  Running at the beach always makes me feel free and lucky to be alive.  Kenny is the best coach ever, when I would say I was tired he would always encourage me to go a little further.  He would say "two more streetlights, you  can do it!" And of course I could.  He always encourages me to go a little further, a little faster and to try a little harder.  I love that about him.  He makes me remember that it's a fun ride and we're nowhere near the end.

     Eating healthy and running makes me feel a lot younger, breathing is easier and I'm happier because when you run your brain releases endorphins which gives you a natural high, a natural sense of well being.  I sleep much better, when i lay down at night i usually fall asleep in minutes and sleep soundly until the morning.  I wake up cheerful and ready for my morning meditation which helps me begin my day with clarity and strength.  Bring on the day!  I'm ready for any challenge!  I have run two half marathons in the past year an they were both exciting learning experiences for me.  I did improve with the second one and my mental picture was better.  In April I will be running in my third half marathon the day after I turn sixty five.  My goal is to be over the finish line in less than two and a half hours.  Who knows, maybe I'll even place in this one.  That's the goal and I'm working toward it!

      My advice to anyone thinking of starting a new workout activity is an enthusiastic  and resounding YES!!!  Do it!! Grab that activity with passion, excitement and commitment..grab on with both hands!  Dedicate it to yourself, cultivate it, enjoy it.  If you reach an obstacle, and you will, don't give up and don't give in..Go around it, over it, under it, whatever it takes, it WILL be worth it.  Try to find other people that enjoy the same activity, lots of times they will have encountered what you are facing and be able to help you.  Plus it's always fun to do things with friends.  Some days they are your  inspiration and some days you will be their inspiration.  We are all in this world together, lets enjoy the ride!