The following is a guest post by Michael Eisen who ran the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 10K as his first race at the tender age of 52.
In June 2011, I had planned to go on a trip to California with some “A-type”friends. The goal of the trip was to do the Half Dome climb in Yosemite National Park. It’s a challenging 11 km hike with an ascent of 3000 ft. The last 400 ft is a near vertical climb using cables.
I trained every week for 6 months walking with a pack so that I could do it, and I lost 30 lbs in the process. I made that climb and two others. The view from the top was amazing.
I started running after that. I started at 5k on my own and ran through the winter. In the Spring, my wife gave me the Running Room 10k clinic for my 52nd birthday. It was great. I learned so much from my coach Tara Wong.
The ORW was my first official race – I ran the 10K with my son-in-law Matt Schoyen. Matt is a runner who had never competed in a race before.
We had a great time. It was so exciting to be standing in our corral near the front, waiting for the race to start. I tried to remember all of the race tips that my clinic coach Tara had shared with us. I had butterflies in my stomach. Matt finished in 53:00 and I came in at 01:02:58. I keep the photo of myself crossing the finish line by my workstation as inspiration.
The next day I volunteered at the water station at Tunneys Pasture for the Half Marathon and Marathon runners. It was great being able to give back and support the other runners. Pat from the Running Room got us all organized and told us what to do. It didn’t take long to learn how to cleanly hand off a cup of water to a passing runner without getting splashed. Some of the runners didn’t look to happy as the heat was beginning to get to them. I admired their determination and effort. I knew that next year I would be running with them.
I am looking forward to the ORW. It’s like my running anniversary. I registered for the half marathon very early to ensure that I would have a spot this year. I am sure that despite having run two halfs already this year, I will be standing in my corral again with butterflies in my stomach. I am 53 years old now and I can’t believe that it took over 30 years for me to become an athelete. I love to run. I will continue to run because I can.