We asked several people who have connections with FMC and Shalom about running races—literally. Their answers have applications for any life race we run. We will hear about race-running from Calvin Aschliman, Heidi Boschmann, Steve Glick, Gretchen Liechty Lynch, Brad Yoder, and Valerie Rago Yoder. They range in age from their thirties to their eighties. Several started running around the age of forty—or later. In this group we have local runners, an Ironman, a record breaker for the over-seventy category in a half marathon, Boston qualifiers, those who travel across the world to run marathons and make it a family event, those who coach and much more. Talk to any of them. They have a lot of insight to share about living. And let it be known that there are many more runners in our midst, so stay tuned for more in our next issue as well!
1. Preparing to Race:
Calvin: Having a race date on the calendar helps me when I don’t feel like going to the gym or running….
Valerie: There’s a physical and mental preparation. Building up to long runs and faster workouts train both body and brain to push through feeling uncomfortable.
Gretchen: I used to care only about finishing, then I discovered I could run pretty fast if I trained and stuck to a training program that worked for me. I had a strong running community, before COVID, for motivation and accountability.
Brad: Just before a run, I prepare with 10 minutes of stretching to warm up my muscles and get my heart pumping.
Steve: Just prior to a run, I do some stretching, a couple of minutes on a stationary bike and a couple minutes on the treadmill.
Life Lessons: Set a goal, make smaller goals to reach that goal, follow through, accept setbacks, build community……
2. What Does a Running Runner Think About?
Valerie: I generally just let my mind wander.
Gretchen: I prefer to run with others and chat. But if by myself, I’ll let my mind wander or listen to an audiobook or music.
Steve: I never listen to music or use earbuds. I’m never bored.
Brad: All of the places I run now from our front door include trees, flowers, lots of grass, rippling streams, ponds, and some wildlife.
Heidi: My mind goes free: plans for the day, thoughts of yesterday, conversations, snippets from songs, thoughts of family and friends, prayers….
Lessons: We’re all different. Taking time to notice what is around us and in us is not wasted time. Find your groove to allow your goal to be met.
3. What’s The Hardest Part of a Race?
Valerie: Toward the end – in a marathon, miles 18-26. If there are hills, those are hard!
Brad: Half the work is in the last six miles.
Gretchen: The last 1/3. No matter what the distance, it’s painful and I just want to be done
Steve: Race Day is the most fun! It’s the long training runs (16m-20m) that are the hardest.
Calvin: Dr. George Sheehan, cardiologist, best-selling author, and runner who ran a 4:47 mile at age 51 said, “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that’s wants you to quit.”
Lessons: You’ve got to keep going to finish. It’s not always smooth; there may be discomfort. It’s not about winning. Believe in your preparation and follow through.
4. Why Do You Keep Running?
Heidi: Running is a pattern for me. Solitary morning runs…the pattern of running with muscles warmed and invigorating fresh air clears the mind and is good for the soul.
Calvin: I enjoy the excitement factor. The excitement of being at the start line, the excitement of running with so many other people, the excitement of the spectators, the excitement of passing other runners, even the excitement of other runners passing me. A second reason is that it motivates me to stay in good physical condition.
Brad: I enjoy the health benefits of running and the experience of being outdoors, and those are the main reasons I continue running almost daily at the age of 80.
Gretchen: Running has kept me healthy; it’s an easy way to get in exercise. I’ve met some of my best friends running, and I just love races and runners.
Valerie: Running keeps me feeling healthy and is something I enjoy doing.
Steve: I think everyone gravitates toward endeavors that make them feel good and/or they have some talent for. Running makes pretty much everyone feel good…endorphins and all that! The running community is uniquely supportive of other runners.
Lessons: Find what motivates you. Learn to spend time with yourself. Look at long term goals. Make some friends who share your interests. Create healthy practices.
5. What else do you have to say about running a race?
Steve: There is a “food chain of runner talent” out there and it is a good challenge to maximize your talent …. and be happy with your place on the chain.
Gretchen: I ran the Prague Marathon on May 8, 2022. The t-shirt and motto said “ALL RUNNERS ARE BEAUTIFUL.” I agree. The runners I know, on the whole, are beautiful on the inside and outside. They are some of the most honest people I’ve ever met. They are hard workers and goal oriented. They tend to care about others. If I find out someone is a runner, it usually means we will get along.
Calvin: After a race I reflect on the race for the next few weeks, as well as the next few months. … how I felt physically and mentally at various parts of the race and how I responded during the race to those feelings. But in all the races that I have run, I look at myself as a winner because… I signed up for the race; I trained with the race in mind; and finally… I participated in the race. In the Indy Mini Marathon last weekend, I came in 3762nd place. I was satisfied. Contrast this with high school and college competitions where only the top few positions matter.
Lessons: Find friends, have some fun, learn about yourself, pat yourself on the back for being alive, present and participating in life!
Brad Yoder shared the following with runners and teams he coached:
Distance running is a challenging athletic experience, and along the way it also gives us some of the most important things in life:
- Appreciation for the gift of life and health
- Courage (from the Latin word for “heart”)
- Life-long friendships
- Self-confidence in challenging times
- Respect and appreciation for the hard work of others
- Gratitude for how our minds, bodies, and spirits work together
- Emotional maturity and independence
- Expanded understanding of our personal strengths and limitations
- Shared celebrations and disappointments
- Awareness of the world beyond ourselves, and the United States
More about these runners:
Calvin Aschliman started running at the age of 49. His most recent race was the Mini Marathon in May. He is looking forward to long, easy runs on the beach in northeast Florida when he and spouse Annie Stewart move there in January as retirees.
Heidi Boschmann has been running for a long time. She started in 6th grade when encouraged by a teacher/coach. Heidi regularly runs 3 miles 4-5 times a week and does one half-marathon a year, as well as an occasional 5K.
Steve Glick is a brother to Carol Mullet and lives in Goshen, IN. Though active on his track team in high school, he only started running distance races in his late 50’s. Steve has run 11 marathons all over the world and will do his last in London in October, after which he’ll be focusing on shorter distances.
Gretchen Liechty Lynch grew up at FMC and now lives in Bavaria, Germany. She ran in middle school then took a ten-year break before running again. Gretchen has run 19 marathons, one Ironman, one 50K and one 50-mile race, along with other shorter distances
Brad Yoder attends Shalom Mennonite and started running at age 38. He is a retired professor from Manchester University, where he also coached runners, and has much to share about education and running. At age 70 he smashed the record for his age group in the Monumental Marathon.
Valerie Rago Yoder started running in 6th grade. Her most recent long race was the Indy Monumental Marathon. She loves her long weekend runs at 10 plus miles.
About the author
Mary has never physically run a race in her life. She is in awe of those who do.