What's Your (Running) Story, Davina?

March 24th 2020

She’s conquered 17 half marathons. But, none of them were quite as special as the one she completed in Okinawa this past January. At age 60, Davina Lock tackled the 60th edition of the Nago Half Marathon!

Notching her 18th half marathon was no walk in the park. Davina hadn’t done ANY consistent training in nearly three years. Additionally, training in Okinawa meant she was usually confronted with staggering heat/humidity or rain. In short, nearly every run was a ‘developmental opportunity’.

Every runner aspires to run well into their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. Davina is doing just that. Read on for some details about Davina’s journey and what keeps her lacing up and hitting the road year after year.

Got a compelling, inspiring, amazing, transcendent, or insanely funny running story for us? Drop Marathon Matt a line at MARATHONMATT@SPORTME.COM and we'll feature your story in the newsletter!

Congrats on conquering your half marathon, Davina! What was your motivation for running a half marathon? Was this your first attempt at 13.1?

I have run 17 half marathons in the past. But, not since moving to Okinawa in 2016.  I turned 60 this year and this year’s Nago Half was the 60th anniversary of the race. I thought it would be fun to do the 60th at 60. Also, it is swelteringly hot and humid in Okinawa during in the summer. So, I thought running a half marathon in January would be the perfect time of year.

Did you encounter any challenges while preparing for your half marathon (bad weather? Illness? Injury? Anything else)? 

My challenges started with not being a consistent runner in 3 years. From 2009 until March 2016, I ran numerous races and was always in the training frame of mind striving for a better and better personal best. My first half marathon was a very hard 2:40:01 and my best was 2:16:21.

When I moved to Okinawa, I ran less and less. I eventually stopped training consistently in October of 2016. After that I ran no more than 2 or 3 miles at a time and only a few days a week, MAYBE. So, getting back into regular, consistent training like I had done in the past was a real challenge.   

The weather here is either sweltering hot typhoon season (with rain) or rainy season. So, weather is often a challenge. But, I started my training in October and the weather was great, initially.

But, by December, the runs became more challenging and I was dealing with rain most of the time. My brother is a trainer and long ago I told him I couldn’t run if it was raining.  He said, ‘A Runner Runs. PERIOD.’ 

So, was I a runner or not.? I knew I was a runner. So, I ran. Since I was going to sweat anyway, what was a little rain?

Some of the hardest speed workouts were in pouring rain. But in the end – It RAINED from mile 9.5 to 13.1 on Race Day. So, all the miles I logged in less than ideal conditions served me well on race day.

You logged a LOT of miles during the course of your training. Did you 'treat' yourself following some of your long runs? If so, what kind of 'treats' are we talking about?

I never gave myself a “treat” for my long runs per se, but I did allow myself a sweet now and then knowing I was logging many miles. My biggest “treat” was sharing my splits with my trainer brother. 

I was so excited. I was doing so well after such a long break from consistent training. Seeing improvement was the greatest treat.

You ran four times a week to prepare for your half marathon. Was there anything else you did to prepare for 13.1?

Yes. Before I started training, I had just finished Beach Body 80 Day Obsession, which is very challenging. After completing Beach Body, I saw a HUGE improvement in the strength of my legs. 

Then, I started doing Beach Body Lift for strengthening my upper body.  I continued to do Lift as I trained for my half marathon; often doing a hard weight workout followed by running. 

My body was SCREAMING after these training sessions, but I knew it was due to pushing myself in a positive way. I fully attribute the great half marathon I ran on race day to the mixture of a strong body and an excellent running program.  Both challenged me, but it was totally worth it.

Was there any point at which you found your long runs 'mentally' challenging? If so, how did you ‘mentally’ manage your long runs as your training progressed? 

Yes. Long runs are always mentally challenging. But, having completed a FULL marathon in the past, I knew I could do this. I kept telling myself, ‘I CAN DO HARD THINGS!!’ 

I always do a lot of positive self-talk. I actually say it out loud when I run.  I CAN do this!  I AM a Strong Runner!! 

I love to dance, so I would listen to my favorite dance music sometimes. I would also think through some issues that were on my mind and spend some time praying during the latter miles of a tough long run.

It sounds like training in Okinawa is TOUGH. Not only did you deal with significant rain, you had to deal with marked heat/humidity. How'd you manage this, and do you have any tips for runners dealing with similar conditions?

I purchased various items that would stay cold during my runs. I would often freeze my hip belt water bottles, so they would stay cold throughout my run.

I also adjusted my schedule. As much as I hate mornings, I would get up before the sun and run 4-5 miles in the dark with 75 degrees at 80% humidity. Then, after work, I’d log an additional 4-5 miles in scorching heat (95-100+ temps….crazy right?).

Breaking the run up helped me get my miles in and endure the heat and humidity.  I still did my long runs on Saturday AM. But, I would be out around 6:30-7am.  My biggest tip for handling the heat is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

What were your biggest learnings during the period of time you trained for your half marathon?

I may not be as young as I once was or nearly as fast as many Japanese women my age. But, I am only competing against myself. I learned that I “CAN” Do Hard Things.

I also learned that I have many, many years of running left. I have a great role model in my mom who has been a competitive race walker for the past 30 years. She is now 84!!! 

She just decided to do the New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon this February.  No matter what life throws at me, I know I CAN DO HARD THINGS!!!

Would you do it all again?

Absolutely. God willing, I have at least 20+ more years of enjoying racing running or walking.

I thank Sport Me for an excellent training plan.  My goal was 2:30 and I got a very strong 2:21:57.  I even rode my bicycle back to the hotel and went on a bike ride later that day. It was a BLAST. Thank you!