Saturday, 23 May 2009

Running and aging

OK, my last run was just a session at the track to run 5 miles at at 7 min pace.

The sun came in and out of the clouds, the wind was present but light, and I felt o.k.

The only other people on the track were a rugby-looking dude, and an old guy who seemed to be coaching him. The rugby guy was running hard for a half lap, then walking the remainder. The old guy would chat with him during the walk breaks


Lately, I've been getting more interested in aging. In part, of course, this is self-interest. I'm 43, so I guess I'm middle-aged. I don't feel middle-aged - in my head I'm the same as when I was 21. That said, I now think that at 21 I didn't know anything. At some level, with aging, I feel that at least I know my personality. At 21, I wasn't sure who I was.

Just read an interesting book entitled "Survival of the Fittest". In it, Mike Stroud, the author, gives some really vivid example of "old guys" doing incredible endurance events. As we age, of course, we slow a bit. But, it's quite impressive how much physical capacity there is even after 60 or 70.


So, I finish my run in 34:46. I'm pleased - I was able to maintain a 7 min mile pace for 5 miles. The old guy, who happened to be standing near where I finished, as me how I was doing. We chatted, and it turns out that this guy is a pretty accomplished runner. In the race I'm doing this weekend, he finished 8th - overall - last year.

I ask him how his times have changed over the years. He said when he first began running - in his 40s - he was running 32 minute 10ks, and winning them. Now he runs them in 38 minutes.

Crikey. That's fast. My best 10k is 41 something, and that was 5 years ago.

So, as always, there's always someone who's faster than you. But I'm ok with that. The encouraging thing is just how little this guy's times have slipped over the decades.

The thing that I guess I haven't entirely accepted yet is that my best running times are behind me. I still think that I can run personal bests (PBs) in different races. In the last 9 years, since I've gradually gotten into doing races, my times haven't changed a great deal. 5 years ago, when I was 38, I set PBs in the three races I did that year. I haven't been able to beat these times yet, but I feel like I'm training harder now. So, we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment