At my age there isn’t much to compete in athletically, except an occasional basketball or softball game — unless you consider golf athletic. As the years pass it becomes less appealing to risk another pulled hamstring or lower back emergency.

Also, on the social scale my meter reads hermit. I’d rather snuggle in with my Words with Friends (mindless escape from reality), British dramas (mindful escape from reality), and Facebook (passionate posting about reality) than make small talk about nonsense with people I don’t like. Team sports were great as a kid, but I prefer working out alone now.

So the beauty of running: I choose the time, the weather, the day, the clothing, the pace, the distance, the music, the ruminations. I’m not particularly fast. I breathe heavy. I spit a lot. I forget to charge my headphones, so Zac Brown and Kidd Rock float along in my wake. I run with my rottweiler/doberman mix who has vitiligo alopecia, so she looks like a cross between an Australian sheepdog and an appaloosa gun dog. When I was younger I used to occasionally hear cat calls from passing cars. Now I get, “Hey, beautiful dog!”

It’s all good. I’m not out to impress anyone. The point is I get out. Running exercises both of us and it frees my mind. Fresh air, nature, stress relief; I run so I can eat. Every month or so I sign up for a local road race to keep me motivated just enough so that I force myself out in the cold, the rain or, this year, snow. Last year I began to run 5ks and then 10ks. Then on a whim, my daughter convinced me to run in a first half marathon (13.1 miles)with her. I found a training app that tells me exactly when to run and when to walk, so that I could build up endurance. I finished it last October in 2 hours 38 minutes. I wasn’t the last to cross the finish line. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly tired and slow and heavy, I want to yell into the wind, “Hey, whadaya want from me, I’m almost 50!” but then I get passed by runners in their 70s. It’s all relative. I keep plodding along.