Running shouldn’t be taken seriously. I’m a back-of-the-pack runner. What I lack in speed I make up for in stamina. I’m also not afraid to stop and admire the view, especially if it’s somewhere I have not run before.
10 years ago I ran what I decided would be my last 42km marathon. I remember slowing down to admire a pair of dolphins playing in the river and enthusiastically pointing them out to other runners. Purely focused on the race, they all completely ignored me. It soured the rest of the race for me. Do we really have to take running so seriously?
Looking back I realise this was a turning point for me. For some time my body had been trying to tell me it no longer wanted to do the punishing long distances. My back was sore. My hips were complaining. I also developed abdominal problems that were put down to being menopausal. In the meantime, I continued to run short distances to stay fit and I did a lot of walking. However, I was putting on weight and my abdominal problem worsened. Then I had the crazy idea of not letting all this get the better of me and aged 53 decided I’d run another 42km marathon before my 55th birthday. My body decided to hell with that and promptly gave me a knee stress fracture shortly after I began training. All the years I ran long distance, this was my first real injury and I was in a leg brace for 6 weeks. I still had the abdominal problem – in fact it was getting worse – until I finally did something about it and in July 2017, I was diagnosed with the Irritable Bowel Disease – Crohn’s.
Stop Running? Hell! No!
Well, this was a new challenge. What was I going to do? I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself. Was I going to let it stop me running and walking? Hell! No! I was now on medication. I soon discovered what foods triggered my Crohn’s and learned to avoid them completely. Because I was eating sensibly, I began losing weight. In October 2017 feeling fitter than I have for a very long time, I successfully ran a half marathon, 2 months before my 55th birthday.
The challenge continues. I will not let Crohn’s get the better of me and I’m currently training for my next half marathon. Admittedly, it’s not all plain sailing and there are days when the only running I am doing is back and forward to the loo. But then there are the good days when I can comfortably run for two hours or more just for the enjoyment. Taking my time. Stopping to admire the view. I even take photos or do a short video clip. If I see someone I know I will stop for a quick chat. If they were sitting having a coffee I’d probably join them.
If I’ve now tempted you to jog around the block just remember my motto, running shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Jackie Turnbull loves the outdoors and is happiest running, walking and being with her dogs. “I’m having the best time in my 50s. I love being active and I love the volunteer work that keeps me busy during the week. I’m forever grateful to my husband (also a runner) for his constant support throughout my running ups and downs.”
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