Fighting the Degradation of Age

Originally posted on the 28th of May, 2012 via Cowbird.

Bolder Boulder, 2012 — photo by author, filters by Snapseed

I don’t enjoy running. In fact, I loathe it. It’s hard on the body. My joints and ligaments scream in agony everytime I run longer than 400 meters. I’d rather ride my road bike. Rather swim. Anything else.

The irony in this is that I loved running when I was a kid. We moved a lot when I was young and I was usually the fastest kid in each school I was placed in. It helped me make friends, excel in sports and stand out from my piers. Running was my gift. Sprinting or cross country, it didn’t matter.

Now that I’m older (37 as I write this) I don’t run all that often. I recently went out to a football field while training for a 10K and realized that I no longer had that extra gear I had when I was young. I ask my legs to move faster and they just don’t answer. Humbling. Frustrating. Clearly, I’m getting older.

I keep in pretty good shape. I have a fairly meticulous diet and have worked out regularly since I was 14. But I could go harder. Much harder. Today, I decided would be my first step towards rewinding the physiological clock. I want to run a 10K under my age before I’m 40 (meaning this year I would have to run a sub-37 minute 10K). That wasn’t going to happen today. But this is just the starting line.

I ran in the Bolder Boulder today for the 9th time in my life. In 2001, with zero training, I ran this event in 42:33. Last year I ran this event in a lifetime worse 48:09. I realize this is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s all relative. Running, and fitness for that matter, is all about you versus you. I had been slipping…giving myself a pass lately. Not pushing. Just coasting.

Today, I expected to struggle to keep it under 50 minutes. I ran hard today; could have run perhaps a bit harder, but my body is dealing with injuries and I was feeling all of them. I decided to push, but not exhaust. My time…46:26. I have 6 minutes and 27 seconds to shave off in the next two years. 3 minutes and 14 seconds each year the next two…I’m writing this here to have a record of my desire. A way to hold myself accountable. Here we go…

The following lines written on August 26th, 2016.

It’s interesting to look back and remember, to recount all that has happened since. I never did run a sub-40 min 10K before I turned 40. Now that I’m 41, I realize it was a goal I didn’t really care enough about to overcome what was to come (first child, travel, buying a house, work etc). Perhaps sub-50 at 50 might be different?

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