Our positive running story this time is on Patricia Nott, a runner from Lawrence, Kansas. Paralleling our previous positive running story subject, Patrice, Patricia also found running in her 50’s. She was a part of one of only five all women’s running clubs in the country, based in Kansas City. Patrica and her longtime running buddy Diana recently attended one of our women’s running camps in June, and impressed us with her inspirational story as an experienced runner, tenacity, and ability to be open to new ideas. (Patricia is third from the left in the above picture.) I was so moved with Patricia’s approach to running and her desire to be a life long runner that I asked if I could interview her for our positive running story series. Here is the result of our interview:
Can you share a little about your running history?
At the age of 53 I was invited to a women’s running seminar in Kansas City. I went with no expectations, figuring it would be a bunch of 30-year-olds. Well, it turned out to be a life-altering experience. There were five local women talking about their running experience. They were in their 50’s and 60’s – and one was in her 70’s.
They talked about the marathons they had run. I remember being so inspired that the hair was raising up on my arms. All of the guest were invited to attend one off their monthly meetings. At that time there were only 5 all women’s running clubs in the U.S. I started running with this group of women, many of whom have become life-long friends.
What is it you enjoy most about running, and why?
There are a couple of things I truly enjoy. One is goal setting. Targeting a race be it local or a destination. And, doing something everyday toward the achievement of that goal. Another thing I enjoy is volunteering and giving back to the running community. Be it setting up for a local race, manning water stops, course monitoring, working packet pickup or helping train beginning runners to do their first 5K. And, last but not least the amazing people I have met all over the world who are my fellow running buds. I find runners, in general, to be a very positive group of people.
You recently attended one of our women’s running camps. What did you enjoy most about being at camp, and can you share your two biggest take aways?
Even at my age I’m constantly learning and being inspired by my fellow runners. Love being exposed to, for me, a new running method. At the camp I learned about the Lydiard method, running for time instead of miles. The coaches Terry and Jacqueline have taught me how to be a more efficient trail runner. Leaning from my ankles instead of my hips. Especially enjoyed Jacqueline’s nutrition workshop. Since I’ve been home have been incorporating eating more high quality foods in my diet and have been eliminating, to some extent, meat. Going more for grains and vegetables. Even ordered the “Endurance Diet” and “Run Fast – Eat Slow” books that she recommended. Another great take away from the camp, was the camaraderie amongst the women that really made it a fun time. Enjoyed the down-time whether it was watching movies about running in the evening to just getting a chance to visit with some amazing women and hearing their life stories.
You shared at camp an experience you had before one of your Boston Marathons. Could you share what happened, and the impact it had on you at that time?
I always get nervous a few days before a Big Race. The one person who keeps me grounded is my husband, Jack. He has always been a tremendous support to me, whether I’m doing a 5K or an Ultra. Flying to Boston before the race we arrived at our hotel. There was a long line to check-in. As I looked around I saw all these young, fit athletes. I started to feel intimidated.
Here I was a 60-year-old runner and felt out of my league, even though I had qualified and had trained hard. When it was our turn, the desk clerk just assumed it was my husband who would be running. When she found out it was me, she gave me this look like you couldn’t possibly be running Boston. I don’t remember what she said now. And, know read too much into her reaction. What I did learn is – do not waste your precious time giving one single crap about what anyone else thinks about you.
You describe yourself as tenacious! Where does this quality come from, and how has it helped you with your running?
My mother, father and fiancee died at separate times when I was younger. This put in a downward spiral into depression when I was in my 20s and 30s. But, it was tenacity that pulled me through and made me a survivor. Now, as a runner, this same tenacity helps get me through the obstacles that are thrown in my path when I train for a race. You get sick, your dog dies, it’s freezing cold at 5:00 a.m. You need to wear down your fears, excuses and doubts and plunge ahead with your training. Once I have decided on my target race, signed up for it, put my money down for the entry form, plane tickets, hotels, etc. – it becomes non-negotiable.
You have run many races in your career – what has been your favorite top three races, and why?
I love the Big urban races. Mainly, for the crowd support and enthusiasm of fellow runners and spectators. In my early running years I worked for The Kansas City Star newspaper. Loved it, but had a lot of pressure getting the daily editions out. Running gave me such a release from the pressure of my job and absolutely loved that people were applauding me for running. Something I never got from my job. Probably, my favorite, was Chicago. Did the marathon twice. It had a lot of distractions going through the different ethnic neighborhoods. And, can’t forget Boston. Qualified 3 times, but only ran it once. There, again, fantastic crowd support. Can’t forget San Diego, it was my first marathon and the first Rock ’n Roll marathon.
My husband has always been with me at these races. In fact, at one they ran out of water and he went to a store to get me water. Which taught me to always run with my own. However, the last couple of years he said he would like to take a vacation without a race being involved.
You are currently 76 years young. What wisdom would you share with a younger version of yourself now about being a woman runner?
Running will change your life! It’s a positive stress reliever. When I was younger working in the newspaper and printing industry would put in 20-hour days. My fellow workers and myself would take amphetamines to stay awake then go out and drink alcohol to sleep. What a crazy lifestyle that was. It’s truly a miracle I survived all of that.
Can you share one thing about yourself that no-one would know by looking at you?
I am a Spiritual Being. And have had spiritual experiences while running. One particular race, it was hot, humid and I had a Big hill ahead of me. There was a runner ahead of me with the t-shirt that said, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Reading the verse had an amazing affect on me. Suddenly I know longer felt tired and had a burst of energy as I kept repeating the verse inside my head. Went on to finish the race, coming in first in my age group. I waited for the man at the finish line and thanked him for inspiring me.
What are your goals for running and life for 2019 and beyond?
Keep running and staying healthy.
Patricia, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, and we look forward to many more years of running for you and your buddies! May you keep running and stay healthy for many more years to come.
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