Meet Anne

Intense, energetic, and kind.

This is how she says her friends would describe her.

What inspires her most at the moment is being outdoors and immersed in nature.

I just got back from a short backpacking trip on the west coast of Washington”

Anne loved being outside with her eldest son, next to the water, and feeling a part of her surroundings.

2 things that bug her are… Non-running-related: Politics.

The second is the fact that as her body ages she is unable to do all the things she wants to do. She feels that her head wants to do one thing but then her body says “Nope, not today.”

As a lot of us can relate, this makes Anne feel disappointed and frustrated.

Anne is continuing to achieve amazing things…

Growing up she had hopes of being a doctor to follow in her dad’s and aunt’s footsteps. She applied and got it but decided to not follow that path because she had a child and another on the way. (A friend who was a doctor also spoke her out of taking that path)

Anne now works at a software company where she does GIS mapping – Geographic Information Systems, also known as local intelligence.

Normally this type of job involves a lot of traveling but because of Covid, she was able to fit in a lot more training, which was awesome!

Her 3 sons are proud of the fact that she is 61 years old and still going on adventures and spending time doing activities out in the woods.

Between the four of them, they’re avid outdoor enthusiasts who love to paraglide and mountain bike (just to name a few) in their backyard… the woods.

I feel fortunate to live where I do, in Colorado, more specifically Fort Collins. It was a smaller town when I first moved here but what’s so great is that I can easily get to the foothills of small mountains. I just pop on my bike, cycle there, park, and go for a run or a swim.”

Anne’s Earliest Memory Of Running

She definitely has very fond memories of running around her childhood neighborhood with her buddies playing kick the can and chasing each other around.

She grew up in a tight-knit community on the beautiful east coast of Virginia where there were a lot of days spent riding bikes and running around.

Being part of the school swim team, riding her bike, playing on the beach, and running as much as possible were big parts of Anne’s childhood.

It was then time for Anne to head to University.

In her freshman year, she remembers so clearly… her FIRST trail run!

Anne had entered this trail race all around campus and she surprised herself by placing second in her age group. She had entered just to go outside and do something different and fun.

Lacrosse was a big part of her university sports scene, the majority of her dorm room members and soon-to-be best friends were there on hockey or lacrosse scholarships.

Lacrosse was awesome. Just because you get a lot of running in!”

Anne reflected on not having the best year in her first year of university… She wasn’t all that happy and that’s where she found her escape… running.

That’s when I really fell in love with doing more long-distance type of running.”

She was always a sprinter, especially in grade school. In fact, she used to have a very good friend with who she always used to compete for fun. Every morning they would go out and race each other and whoever lost had to buy an ice cream sandwich for the winner at lunch.

That friend is now the athletic director for a university in Virginia!

It’s safe to say that Anne has built up her competitive spirit from a young age.

The Impact Running Has Made On Anne’s Life

Throughout her life, she has done all kinds of sports, but none can compete with running

Running for me is meditation”

Anne has two best friends that she trains with almost all the time… Their time together on the trails is like therapy sessions for each of them… It’s sort of like… What gets said on the trail…Stays on the trail.

She also loves to run on her own… there are times when she will be by herself on a trail in the woods and she will just stop to be in the moment. Anne describes to us the immense joy she feels in those quiet moments.

It just makes me feel really, really content and happy.”

While following a Buddhist/meditation practice, she finds it interesting that she can be sitting still in meditation but then also be running in a different type of meditation. It’s amazing how they complement each other and both help to keep her grounded.

Anne and her sons’ father got divorced when her youngest was three years old and so being a single mom and raising 3 boys was not an easy task. She would drop the kids at daycare and make sure she had plans for a run during lunch. Those runs during lunch are what helped her get through a lot of hard times.

It really is incredible what the impact just going for a 45-minute run can have on your mental health.

That’s why I keep trying to get my oldest son who could be a really good runner to just get out and get a consistent routine going. It’ll make you feel so much better day after day.”

When It All Started To Click

After her running experiences in freshman year, she realized it was a way to support herself and help herself go through what wasn’t the happiest year due to college not being what she believed it would be like.

It’s taken Anne time to figure out how to use running well and to be consistent.

There were times when she would head out for a run after not running for a while and try to run a hard five miles and be completely smashed afterward.

But now she says that she has learned to take care of herself with the help of Coach Parry throughout the whole process, which has been great.

Running & Health

Anne lost a kidney to cancer in 1990 and then in 2010, she was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid.

Running contributed to giving her a healthier life overall. When she was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, Anne says that the entire process made her realize that she needed to take care of her body and that running had been tremendously important in that regard.

I feel like I was born with this strong need to exercise like I always feel 100x better when I do exercise and when my body feels healthy.”

The first six months after having her thyroid removed were awful. They basically irradiated her thyroid and then the endocrinologist wouldn’t give her any thyroid medication until her numbers settled down, so it took a long time to level out which resulted in a hard couple of months for Anne.

Going for a run didn’t even help because her body didn’t think it had enough thyroid.

One of the first things I posted on the forum was asking how people deal with taking their thyroid meds in the morning if they can’t eat for an hour after before a run.
It was great… I had a lot of suggestions to just take it in the middle of the night when you get up to go to the bathroom.”

Anne explained how having a community at her fingertips like that is incredible because it’s nice to know that there are people out there with answers to the questions she has.

Anne & Coach Parry

She found out about Coach Parry online, it was one of the Running Through Menopause webinars hosted by Shona.

It caught her attention because the two female friends that she trains with are five or six years younger than she is and Anne started to feel like she wasn’t recovering as she should be, so she did some research and there was not much information out there about running for older women.

The running through menopause program has been REALLY helpful! I was blown away by the webinar. So then I signed up”

Setting a goal and then training to achieve that goal is how she stays motivated. She has been doing a lot longer races because getting out in the mountains and nature is what keeps her happy.

Running Through Menopause

The first big change that Anne made was to her nutrition. She said that it was one of the key takeaways from the webinar that was sort of a light bulb moment for her. To learn about how much muscle mass we lose as we age and how to recover correctly was incredible for her.

Also, just knowing that you don’t have to run every day was a big game changer for Anne.

Before Covid 19 she was training for a 50km and completely wore herself out because she wasn’t eating correctly or enough for that matter.

Strength training was also another huge one, she really enjoys that at Coach Parry we’ve got an easier one on Mondays, a more intense one on Wednesdays, and then if you want to do the real intense one on Thursday, that works out really nicely with her running plan where she’s running Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday and Sunday.

Anne also mentioned that the MAF training has worked wonders for her.

I had COVID back in January, and just like so many other posts in the forum, I couldn’t stand running slow. BUT now. I totally get it.”

She even has neighbors across the street that she used to run with all the time and they were running way too slow for the husband’s liking, but he would run with them at their pace anyways and then they all ran a race and he absolutely smashed it.

It’s the classic example of MAF training and it makes sense.

MAF training stands for Maximum Aerobic Function training. The whole point of MAF training is to build up your aerobic base so that your body can learn to run faster and faster at a lower heart rate. You do this by running your long runs easy and slow… to be able to run fast in the future.

With a master’s degree in Anatomy and Neurobiology. She says that Physiology is so interesting to her and that’s why she really enjoys all of the “science behind” style videos so much.

Taking into account all the training and running through menopause tips, she decided to enter two incredible races, the Leadville Marathon and the Never Summer 60K.

The Leadville Marathon

Anne felt really good going into the Leadville marathon, except that she had gotten a cold a couple of days before the race and ended up with a sinus infection.

I started running it, and I just was like, I’m just gonna run and if I feel bad, I’m gonna stop and just quit.”

She knew that she was well trained and it was only a few weeks before the race that she didn’t train much.

The entire race worked out really nicely, the altitude was a major factor to take into consideration because she wasn’t able to train at high altitudes due to snow still being in the mountains.

Overall it was a successful race.

Anne and her two friends we mentioned earlier were considering it as a training run to see how they would cope at altitude because it was a very similar race to the Never Summer in terms of elevation.

They used the race to gauge themselves but only 2 of the 3 of them made it to the start line. One of her friends was sick at the time.

Their strategy was sort of like… “Okay, we are on the trail… and now we have to finish before the cut-off time.”

They both stuck together the whole race.

Speaking of Never Summer…

The Never Summer 60km takes place almost entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park and runs between the Never Summer Mountains on the northern border of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and the Medicine Bow Mountains to the north of Cameron Pass.

Anne and her two friends had entered the Never Summer purely for a reason we absolutely love… to have fun.

The third friend that wasn’t able to run the Leadville marathon had a really hard time training due to the fact that she probably had Covid. She could fast walk but running was exhausting.

She’s usually an amazing runner and has been running forever, she’s very tough but for Never Summer even she was doubting herself.

Judy and I said to her: It’s fine if you decide to drop out… but if you stay in… we’re all going to cross the finish line together.”

The Never Summer 60km turned out to be AWESOME!

It was frustrating at times because Judy and Anne were wanting to run to try to make the cut-off, which was 15 hours. They estimated that they would do it in 12 or 13 hours based on the Leadville Marathon.

All three of them stuck together and did some fast hiking. It’s in a beautiful area with a lot of elevation so they had planned to fast hike those sections anyways and then run the flat and downhill areas.

A young boy who was also there to just have a good time ended up tagging along with their group as well which they enjoyed.

The last 2 miles of the trail were flat, the friends were hiking so fast that Anne had to jog to keep up with them, and then finally, they crossed the finish line together, at 14 hours.

The recovery after the Never Summer was so easy compared to Leadville.

It turns out that the young boy who joined their group at some parts of the race came in last and minutes before the cut-off time. Which was 15 hours.

The entire crowd cheered for him and celebrated as he came to the finish. That is what running races is all about!

Anne and her friends adopted such an inspirational attitude towards the Never Summer race, they weren’t able to do it the way they wanted to initially but they still celebrated the fact that they were able to do it together.

The people that put the race on are just fantastic. At the highest point of the race. There were some serious-looking clouds and it had been hailing. They were almost at the top when all of a sudden they hear super loud thunder and see crazy lightning.

There were medics up at the top when this happened and they came running down asking if Anne and her friends were okay. The medics said they had spoken to the race director and he said that they don’t have to go all the way up, they could just walk around the top because of the crazy storm.

We were like, no way! We’re going to the top.”

It’s absolutely incredible that they all 3 stuck together the entire way. She says that is what makes completing this race that much more satisfying.

Hardest Part Of Preparing For The Leadville Marathon & Never Summer 60K

Overall, keeping self-discipline for such a prolonged period of time was difficult.

Not just with running but also with strength training and maintaining a good diet.

Anne only has one kidney so she doesn’t drink much alcohol as it is, so that wasn’t a challenge for her.

Once the hype of the Never Summer died down, they all agreed that they weren’t going to sign up for another 60K for one year.

Purely because the training took so much time and it was ALWAYS on her mind. The good thing about it always being on your mind is that it makes you get out and do what you need to do. For a few weekends, Anne and her friends would go camp and train at altitude where if they weren’t signed up for the race they probably wouldn’t have gone camping together.

Now that the races are over, she admits that it is nice to have time to do other activities like getting out on her bike and she hopes to do more skiing this winter.

What’s Next?

Anne has just been going out and running for fun. She has taken a break from following a schedule. The three of them still run together on weekends and do a half marathon together every other week to keep their fitness levels up.

She is hoping to do this really cool trail in Boulder in October, it’s called the Boulder Ridge Line and it’s about 26 miles

There is one bucket list race I’d like to do it’s over in Oregon, around the Mount St. Helens area.”

Mount St Helens was a volcano that erupted about 40 years ago. The race is a very remote 50km that is supposed to be extremely beautiful.

A race in Silverton, Colorado, in the San Juan Mountains is also on the list. It’s supposed to be very tough, and super remote. People competing in the race have to wear a spot device.

Anne knows that if she can get her two friends on board for those two races she will definitely complete them someday.

It’s All About The Adventure…

For Anne, it’s not about being out there to place first, second, or third… It’s about having a great adventure.

She says that, especially when you’re over 60, there are so many good over 60 runners out there, which is fantastic. But for her, it’s about being in the woods or mountains and having a good time.

Her favorite running moment experienced so far was when she was running alone, on a trail, and everything felt easy. Her running felt effortless and smooth. She was in amongst big trees, wild turkeys, and beautiful wildlife. The feeling of being out in the woods with effortless movement brought a beautiful sense of joy.

Everyone needs to and can experience a feeling just like that. You never know when it’s going to happen, you could even be running down the same street in the same neighborhood that you always have, and then suddenly it hits you.

That’s when the running bug bites!

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