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''How I Became a Runner at Age 48''

A Half-Block Jog Gave KASHMIR the Confidence to Run
  -- By SparkPeople Editorial Staff
Robin (KASHMIR) has been a member of SparkPeople since 2006. She has lost 95 pounds and is training for her first marathon.

Robin Before Robin After
Robin Before Robin After


What made you decide to start running?
I noticed my evening walks were getting longer. As my weight went down, the walks had to last longer in order for me to burn a good amount of calories. One evening, I was feeling particularly peppy and figured I’d give running a try—and it was hard! I managed to run half a block the first time I tried. It felt good! After my first run, I knew I could do it again.

How do you keep your runs fun and interesting?
I love running outside! One of my favorite places to run is a nature trail located about a mile away from my home. I also enjoy running through the neighborhood and taking in my surroundings. For the first year, I always ran alone, but this year I decided to run in the Portland Marathon. I joined our local marathon training group, and now run once a week with other people. I’m always looking for new places to run, so I started running in some local races too. Next up—trail running!

Were you intimidated to start running? How did you overcome that?
I was very intimidated. I convinced myself that I would never be able to run—or at least that I couldn’t run further than a 100-yard dash! After my first attempt at running, I decided to give it a try every once in a while along the nature trail. The trail has quarter mile markers set in the asphalt, so when I would feel like running, my starting point was one of those markers. I slowed down when my heart rate got too high and would then walk some more. As I continued doing this, I realized I was going a little farther each time. I finally set a goal for myself to do what I’d been convinced my entire life was the impossible: run from one quarter mile marker to the next. Once I accomplished that, I was totally blown away! At almost 48 years old I did what I couldn’t do at age 14.

Any tips for someone just beginning to run?
The most important advice I can give is to go slow—slower than you think you should. Don’t worry about running fast. For the first year, focus on building your distance. By not running faster than your body is able to maintain, you will build your endurance and stamina, you will strengthen your heart, you will teach your body to use oxygen efficiently, and you won’t put as much stress on your bones and muscles. When you run fast, you can’t run as far. Also eat a little something before you start to run and refuel after your run. And, don’t forget to hydrate!

Besides weight loss, what other improvements have you noticed?
Since I started running, my body fat has dropped from 30% to 17-20%. My lung capacity is amazing now, and when I had a recent VO2 test done, my running coach's response to the results was, "Wow. Wow. Wow." My balance is better, and I feel younger today at almost 50 than I did in my 20s. I’ve also been informed by several people lately that I’ve become a female Benjamin Button. I’m aging backward.

What are some of your running goals and accomplishments?
My main goal is to complete the Portland Marathon. My current mileage accomplishment is 15 miles. It totally blows me away that I was able to do that! After the marathon, I would like to find some trail runs because I think that would be super fun!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Every time I tie on my running shoes, I amaze myself with how far I’ve come and what I find my body is capable of doing!