Lessons I Learned From Golf (By a Non-Golfer)

Meditations in MotionI have been running solo lately. My usual training partner (and husband) Bill has been sidelined for the past week with huge, painful blisters on the bottom of his feet. Because there is only one week to go before we are scheduled to run the Marine Corps Marathon, this concerns me. I must have faith the blisters will heal quickly or spend seven sleepless nights between now and next Sunday.

Bill and I have fallen into the pattern of doing leisurely runs together since he has retired. It’s nice, comfortable. We can chat, look at the scenery (OK, only I look at the scenery; Bill famously does not look around when he runs), and run when we feel like it now that we are both retired.

Then I did two runs this week which shocked me.

On Tuesday night I ran on a beautiful trail along the Susquehanna River (and wrote about in this post) and just yesterday I ran in town. On both runs, I allowed my mind to drift and thought about topics other than running; on both runs, I was astonished when I checked my pace.

Without trying, my comfortable pace returned to the place it had been several years ago, before my two-year struggle with a hamstring injury.

It made me think of something Bill said to me while we were at the beach.

Meditations in MotionWe visited the South Carolina beach last week with eight of our closest friends. Eight of the ten of us who shared a beach house are golfers. Only my running friend Nancy and I do not golf. While the others went golfing, Nancy and I went to the spa for a massage, but that’s another story.

Bill has always been an avid golfer. He used to play weekly with friends and taught two of our three boys to play when they were young.

I’m not sure what changed, but several years ago, Bill’s passion for golf began to wane. Maybe it was because he was spending so much time running. Maybe it was because of an injury. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but he went from playing golf once or twice a week to playing once or twice a year.

Meditations in Motion

Of course, his game suffered. His average score increased by about 20 strokes. It kind of snowballed; when he didn’t play well, that made him want to play even less.

Now that he’s retired and has more free time, he would like to golf more often, but the effort it would take him to improve his game to the point where it would be more enjoyable for him is daunting.

After a particularly rough outing at the beach, he told me he had a decision to make: either put the necessary time into improving his game, adjust his mindset to become satisfied with higher scores (unlikely), or give it up altogether.

That statement resonated with me.

I realized that is how I feel about running, or maybe more accurately, racing.

Meditations in MotionOh, I know I cannot expect to have the race times I had ten years ago. I understand and accept the fact that I will slow down as I age. It’s just that my pace slowed so precipitously I don’t believe it was all caused by age; I think I can do better, run faster.

I train differently now than I did a few years ago. When I run with Bill, all of our runs are comfortable, there are no tempo runs, no intervals, no hill runs.

Bill runs mostly to maintain fitness. He likes to be able to eat (almost) everything he wants and not gain weight. He is not particularly interested in racing, but does it because I like to race. I like fitness too, but I am, and always have been, competitive. I don’t like feeling as though I could be doing better.

Maybe I like competition in races because I have actually had some success, at least in my age group. Competing is more fun, of course, if you sometimes have favorable outcomes.

Yes, I realize that competition is an extrinsic incentive and that I should be more content with intrinsic rewards like the personal satisfaction of running a good race, blah, blah, blah, but I like to win!

So. What to do?

Running with my hubby is not going to go away. It has been too much fun for both of us, creating a stronger bond between us by giving us many shared experiences.

After the marathon, however, I believe I am going to begin adding a “quality” workout once or twice a week to my training.

I have a time goal for a half marathon which I would like to achieve that I’m not ready to share with everyone just yet. Let me see what happens as the year progresses.

Maybe as I’m huffing and puffing, struggling to move this old body around the track, I will change my mind and resume my current habit of comfort running. But maybe I will surprise myself.

The only way to find out is to give it a try.

Here is a summary of my week in workouts:

  • 10 minutes of hamstring and glute stretches daily
  • Three sets of two-minute forearm planks Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 10 – 12 pushups Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • Monday – 20 mile long run
  • Tuesday – 3 mile run
  • Friday – 5 mile run
  • Saturday – 4 mile run

 

I am linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Weekly Rundown, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.

 

 

 

 

 

64 comments

  1. If you’re naturally competitive as you are, Laurie, it’s so difficult NOT to think about winning. I think that’s just natural. But as we age, even when we do everything possible to stay in shape, things change, and I believe we have to be willing to go with the flow.
    Good luck with the next run, and I do hope Bill’s blisters get better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome job on your workouts! I can’t believe that MCM is only one week away – I’m so excited for everyone running.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that the blisters on your hubby’s feet heal quickly this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is very easy to love running when you are often rewarded with AG awards. I am not. I am somewhat competitive (not as much as some people, more than others). Yet even so I train hard. Even for the shorter races. Well, sometimes, at least.

    So here’s something I’ve learned from yoga: it’s okay to have goals, and work hard for those goals, the problem arises when you’re overly attached to the outcome. Just a little more food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Several years ago, I got more interested in distance than speed, and I adjusted my running to meet that goal. Now I’ve lost whatever speed I ever had and over the past two years I lost my distance too. Back in the distance building phase. It seems that every time I work on speed, I end up injured. Sure, go for those time goals, but make sure they aren’t the same goals as you had 15 years ago. Still, I think your 1:50 half is achievable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I am not a natural at the marathon distance. Endurance was never my strong point. I will be happier to focus on half marathons (or trail 25Ks) and shorter stuff. My hamstring injury (and subsequent re-injury) happened during a long run. There is no way I could run the times I ran 15 years ago; I just think I could run faster than I do now. Good luck with your distance-building phase!

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  5. I so admire runners! It’s wonderful to find something we love to do and it’s even better if we can share it with our spouse.

    I got my husband to join a couples golf club with me that only meets once a month. His passion is softball and he’s not bad at golf either but the latter is too slow for him. Since he spends so much time at softball, I guilted him into doing the couples golf with me and I think we both had a good time…and I’m a happier spouse for it. 😁

    It’s when one stops having a good time that a decision needs to be made. Does one continue to golf if the joy goes out of it? Sometimes, we are just meant to move on and try different things.

    Your passion for competitive running is something I admire and as long as the satisfaction you get out of it is strong, and you stay healthy, and it is bringing you joy – don’t change a thing!

    I also love your fitness routine. Right now my retirement fitness routine includes step cardio classes and weights 3X a week, one yoga class, one 3-4 mile hike, 1 two mile Sunday morning walk with hubby, two rounds of 18 hole golf, 20 minute afternoon swim 3-5X a week (as long as weather permits). It’s because I’m retired I can do this! And due to these activities I dropped between 10-12 pounds in the year following retirement.

    So the moral of the story is: retirement years can be our best and most active!! 👏

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am having a similar issue with Bill. I love running more than he does. He doesn’t want to do long runs any longer, but I do. I’m not sure whether to keep on running the long distances or just be satisfied with doing the shorter races that he likes. It’s a dilemma!

      Wow! Your fitness routine is amazing. So much variety and different activities. That’s awesome! Keep at it, Susan!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You do know “golf” is a 4-letter word, don’t you? It’s one of those sports that I have dabbled in (inconsistently at best), saw some improvement, then lost everything I’d gained over the winter and had to practically start over the following spring. And, that’s happened repeatedly, so I pretty much waved the white flag and put the clubs in storage. UGH. I’m glad there’s sports like running, where you can do it year-round and not have to start-over each season LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I was a young mom, Bill would take the boys golfing and it was the one time during the week that I could count on a few hours all to myself. After the boys grew up and left home, I did take lessons and really liked them, but I just never really got the bug. I would rather run.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. But, wait . . . you did that solo run and found yourself at a pace you used to be able to keep before your injury, without really trying to? That’s like, a BIG win, right? Why do you think that happened? Seems like a discovery lurks there (that you no doubt have already absorbed, but maybe I missed it).

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a BIG win, Jan. I think it happened because I wasn’t really thinking about running, I just ran. For some reason when I run with Bill, my mind doesn’t wander like it does when I run solo.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can totally relate your pace getting back to a faster “easy” pace. How wonderful! My hamstring struggles have been hanging around for 4 years now I think, in some form. It’s time for me to concentrate on doing my best to get rid of the issues for good! Such an annoying injury. I hope your husband’s blisters go away fast!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wound up finally going to an orthopedist who was also an Ironman who was able to give me some stretches and other therapy that cleared up my hamstring issues. This was after my family doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, and sports massage therapist couldn’t help me. Hope you have luck getting 100% healthy again!

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  9. Once upon a time I was a 3x/week golfer. When I had kids, I was no longer willing to devote the time to the game. I’ve been to the driving range a few times in the past few years but that’s it.
    I runfess that right now I don’t care about racing. My cup runneth way over with the WMMajors. My favorite is to hit the trails and be overcome with awe of the nature around me. I couldn’t care less what my Garmin says.
    All that said, I’m SO excited for you and MCM! Sending healing vibes for Bill’s blisters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Three times a week is a lot of golf! I love the trails too. You are right – there are no time expectations in trail running. That is so relaxing. I have a trail race coming up after MCM. I will run it with Bill and not worry about my time.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The races I do are so huge, there’s no chance of winning. For me, I’m not sure I want to push myself so hard anymore. I met my race goals, and it was hard. Now I’d rather just enjoy running.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I get older I love the smaller races for the easy logistics. I wish I could get to the point where you are in my running philosophy. Why do I feel the need to still push myself?

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  11. What a great lesson and thought.
    Like you said even with the blisters – you control what you can. You can control effort/time/quality and hope it has the pace/score impact. Good luck on your journeys

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. We don’t have control over the changes (unless you believe in plastic surgery and I don’t), but we can determine our reaction to the changes. Good to hear from you, Linda!

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  12. Good luck to both of you at your race! Jason also runs more for fitness though I’m hoping he does well in the winter series this year and wants to keep training. I really want to see what time he could run a half marathon in as he’s quite a naturally good runner. He has a competitive streak and has has placed in his AG at some races, but I wouldn’t say he loves racing the way I do. He’s not the biggest fan of building up mileage either, I think he gets bored which I do as well, but I think because I focus on the final outcome (the race) more than he does I can get through it better. I also need running for my peace of mind where as he doesn’t need it, so I don’t think he gets the same emotional benefits that I do.

    Don’t ever underestimate how fast you might be (or could be!) – I have a 71 year old running friend who has outran me at times including beating me at Hands on House last year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you and Jason are a lot like Bill and me. Bill is a natural athlete and I need running for my peace of mind.

      At one race in Columbia a few years ago, I was chasing a guy for almost the whole race and I could not catch him. I found out at the awards ceremony that he was 75!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jason is also like Bill in that he doesn’t look around at all while running! Usually he’s ahead of me and when we get back I’ll say did you see XYZ and 99% of the time he didn’t. He did see the 2 deer on our run last weekend but they were crossing the road a few feet in front of us so they were hard to miss!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! One time we ran a 10K race where about a mile was run on a brick-surfaced road. After the race, I asked Bill if the bricks bothered him (they made me dizzy!) His response: “Bricks?” I had to show him race photos to convince him we ran on bricks.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. As I read this post I kept thinking to myself: “Who is she kidding? She ain’t quitting!” I’m glad to hear I was right. Keep doing what you love, but have an eye out for your health and other aspects of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s great to meet you Laurie. Wow you’re so fit!! I also love to stay fit, but don’t have the stamina for a marathon. I used to play a lot of golf, but not so much now. I totally understand how your husband feels. It’s one of those games where you either put your All into it or not bother, but if you’re passionate about it, can be very time consuming and addictive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to meet you too, Sam! Now that we’re both retired we have the time to golf/run/ stay fit, but sometimes the motivation is lacking. I tried golf, but never really got into it too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel much the way you do about getting older and slowing down. While I understand that it’s a part of the process I’m not satisfied with just letting it happen. My runs with my husband have been pretty comfortable recently too, but mostly because he’s been dealing with some foot pain for over a year (and the results of his bike crash most recently). He wants to do another Ironman and I want to do another marathon, so I think we’ll both be trying to go beyond just comfortable running. I hope your husbands feet will be able to carry him through MCM!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope Hubby’s feet will carry him through the marathon too! Good luck with ramping up your training. It’s good to get out of our comfort zones sometimes! 🙂

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