Sunday, February 23, 2014

Old Runner (but not done)

I now have to admit I am officially an old runner. I'm 48. Not ancient, but not young either. Sure, I can keep up with others in my age group, and usually do well when compared to anyone over 40. Heck, I can often beat runners who are in their 30s. But I'm no match for those in their 20s. Yesterday's 1-mile race, against engineering undergrad students, showed my age. When competing against people aged 18-22, I lose. They don't even train or warm-up! They saunter up to the starting line, pull off their hoodies, and race. And they run fast! Sub 6:00 minute miles are normal for them. That's fast for me. Yikes. I warm-up, race, and cool down...and still suffer from post-race aches and pains. Geeeeez. I am getting old. I didn't come in last place, but my 6:15 pace was more than a minute behind the winner. He was a 4:30 miler in high school. The course we ran around campus was full of sharp turns, wet and icy sidewalks, and other students "walking around" on our race course. I think I could have run about 6:00 if it was a real road race (rather than on walkways and sidewalks on campus). 6-minute pace is fine, but still slow compared to many of these young ones.

Still, I feel if it was a 5K, I'd have a much better chance against these students. They seem to lack stamina and endurance. Make it a 10K and I'd probably be very competitive. Half-marathon or marathon and I might beat them all. Turn it into an ultramarathon and I'd clean up big time. Is that the natural progression of an aging runner? Do I need to forego short races and concentrate on the endurance events? Maybe that isn't too bad. But I'm not ready to throw in the towel...yet.

I have 365 days to train for next year's "Engineering Week" 1-mile run against those same young undergrads. If I adjust my training slightly, add in some faster runs next winter, and stay healthy and injury-free, I might be able to lower my 6:15 time to around 5:30. That could place me in the top 3 in the E-Week team competition. Hope...it does a body...and soul, good! Of course, every year I get older and these darn students are the same age! Damn. If this year sees me completing my 100th ultra/marathon, then maybe next year can be focused on half-marathon, and shorter, distances. New 5k, 10K, and half-marathon personal records? Maybe. I'm an older runner, but I'm not done. I have new PRs ahead of me. Really, I do.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just remember that 80+ year old man (who trains around a cemtery near his house) who ran a sub 3-hr marathon. I don't think any of those students could have done that.

--Joe

Chris said...

Good point. That dude (Ed Whitlock) is one of my idols.

Chris said...
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