Women Who Move: Lydia McIntosh

“They say it’s never too late to start, and in my case, I believe it’s never too late to start again.”

Athletics have always been in my blood. As a child, I played everything from volleyball to basketball, and as a young woman, I ran corporate races with my coworkers for fun. I was never a serious runner, but I enjoyed being active and getting outdoors.

A month before my 30th birthday, everything changed. I lost my job and gained a significant amount of weight. In an effort to fill the empty afternoons, I began meeting with a running group. In just three months, I dropped 30 pounds and fell completely in love with running.

I started to become more competitive and won a number of age-group trophies and medals. I raced frequently, covering every distance from the 5k to the half marathon. I even ran the full 26.2-mile distance in 1996. I hadn’t trained properly, and at mile 16, everything began to hurt—even my eyelashes were in pain! But I knew I was going to make it even if I had to crawl. Reaching the finish was an exhilarating experience.

Shortly after finishing the marathon, I began focusing on track racing. I raced the 1,500 meters and got my best time of 5:31 in my late 30s. Eventually, the wear and tear on my body led to a very serious injury. A hemorrhage in the bone marrow of my femur forced my racing career to a standstill for nearly two decades.

Last year, at the age of 58, I decided to make a comeback. They say it’s never too late to start. In my case, I believe it’s never too late to start again. I’m currently training to run a marathon—my second one ever. At the same time, I’ve gone back to school to earn my masters degree.

Now that I’m older, I don’t train as hard as I did in the past. I’m disciplined, but I also make sure to give myself ample rest. I meditate while I run. It’s a very spiritual experience. I block out any worries and focus on the peacefulness that running brings. That’s how I want to run for the rest of my life.