Every runner has a story. And every runner has something they are running for, from, or to. In the book, The Ultimate Runner, we are blessed with many stories runners have shared with us that keep us moving. The stories keep us running. Dana Barclay is one of the contributors to the book and shares her story of how running helped her recover from addiction to alcohol. We hope you enjoy her story and get to know her through a recent interview and check out her blog.
Why did you start running?
It was quite by accident actually. I had hit a few bumps in the road of life (more like big gapping
chuckholes) and found myself a month or so out of an alcohol treatment facility, feeling lost, miserable and physically unhealthy. I had always been an athletic person so working out seemed like a natural step to improve my physical and emotional health. I walked first but that turned into running as I wanted more of a cardiovascular workout. So it really wasn’t intentional, it just happened and evolved.
Best running advice you ever received?
In a word, form. Developing and maintaining good form has turned me into an injury-free runner. I focus on my body alignment from the top down: eyes focused forward and ahead, spine erect, extended and relaxed, hips loose, knees and feet pointed forward and swinging in a pendulum-like motion and lean into the run. I imagine a string pulling me forward from my feet through my head while staying loose and relaxed.
Running wisdom you wished you learned earlier in your running?
I did not begin running until I was nearly 50. I wish I had discovered the sport much earlier in my life and perhaps I would have not fallen into some of the pitfalls that I did. Like alcoholism.
Favorite tip you pass along to runners?
Listen to your body. I tend to throw myself completely into activities that I enjoy and sometimes this behavior gets me into trouble. There is something to be said for too much of a good thing! My tip is to let my body tell me when I am overdoing it. By listening to my body I can prevent injury and burnout.
Most read/used running book?
Chi-Running by Danny and Katherine Dreyer. I developed my running form from the principles presented in the book as well as body sensing and injury prevention techniques. One of my goals is to attend a workshop of theirs someday but it seems I am never in the right place at the right time….yet.
Favorite running memory, run or race?
A few years ago my significant other and I were stranded on the island of Providenciales in the Turks and
Caicos. We were in the midst of moving our boat from Miami to St Maarten in the Caribbean when we encountered mechanical problems, spending several weeks there getting repairs done. While our boat was in the shipyard I met a local island dog who took a liking to one us. Dog followed me around and slept by the boat at night. He was a funny guy. I just called him Dog.
Early one morning, I decided to take a run through the shipyard and down the only road into the place back towards town. Dog started following me and while I wasn’t crazy about the idea, he insisted so off we went. It was a great road, no people, no traffic, just a dog and me with birds, trees and tropical brush with an occasional puddle for Dog to splash in. Dog stayed right with me, having a great time.
Thirty minutes into the run, Dog stopped dead in the road and sat down. He stared at me as I jogged a few laps around him. I encouraged him to continue on, but he seemed determined not to go any farther down the road. Not wanting to leave my running buddy behind, I started back toward the shipyard. Dog seemed to think that was a great idea. Dog stayed with me until we reached our starting point. Dog and I had had a wonderful invigorating run and a great time together. I had a new running buddy! Later that day my significant other and I loaded up into our rental car to head to town for supplies. I chattered on to him about how great the run had been and how Dog had plopped butt down and refused to proceed further. A non-runner, his reply was “u-huh.” Riveting stuff to him I suppose.
We drove past the spot where Dog and I stopped and about a quarter mile beyond, we passed a house sitting close to the road with three very large dogs running free in the unfenced yard. The trio came bounding out at our car, attempting to bite our tires and creating all kinds of ruckus. As a local dog, Dog probably knew about these vicious neighboring dogs and I would like to think he was watching out for me as much as he was himself.
Your running dream?
Run when I can, where I can for as long as I am physically able to do so. I would like to be one of those runners in the local 5K in 70+ age bracket!
What keeps you running?
This is the most difficult question for me to answer. Actually it is not really a question. Not running isn’t
an option. The idea doesn’t even occur to me. Fitting a run in at times can be a challenge, as sometimes I find myself in places where there is no good safe place to run. I am an early morning female runner and I take this into account when I am traveling in new places. Safety first. If, however, I had to name one thing that keeps me, going it would be goal-setting. I keep a runner log where I set yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. This works well for me as I am very self-motivated and competitive even if the competition is only within me.
Contacts: email@example.com mostlysobernow.blogspot.com is my blog