Over the Hill

This weekend I went to Colorado to celebrate my sister's upcoming wedding. A little tequila, a little running, a little of this
Ice cream bar at the bridal shower = brilliant
I got several miles in with a view like this


Overall a great weekend. On the plane ride home I finally pulled out this


and came across this article.



And it made me ridiculously happy. If you come across the May issue of Runner's World I would recommend giving it a read. The idea of these older gentleman meeting up once a week putting in a few miles and heading for breakfast in Hawaii seems ideal. The fact that they use note cards to make sure they are all at the correct place and have turned off their headlights struck me as funny and then extremely endearing. I can only hope that I am still running when I am half their age. The fact that they use running to keep not only their bodies healthy, but also their minds healthy was intriguing.

This article made me think about how we as runners embrace running as an identity, runner becomes the way we define ourselves and training and races how we define different times in our life. The life of a runner seems to be divided into training for a race, racing and just completed a race. Which then quickly transitions back into training for a race if you are like me and must compulsively register for every race within a hundred mile radius.

I wonder if over a lifetime is there a cycle to running?  The beginner stage where you discover the joy of  running which is often mixed in with the frustrating injuries of the new beginner and the uncertainty of if one should register for a race. Beginners questioning if they are really a runner or just a casual jogger, can I actually run all that way whether it be a 5k to a marathon. The beginner stage transitioning into the I am runner hear me roar stage. The time where you gain more confidence in your skill, push the pace, head for the starting lines of longer distances, or tackle a shorter distance on a constant chase for a PR. The final stage I think would have to be the running guru stage. When the thrill of running down the PR is gone or perhaps becomes unreasonable to expect as the body ages, we turn to running to maintain a sense of self, a way to connect to the younger version of ourselves while embracing the mature person we have become. We run because we are runners. We run because it feels good, maybe only mentally at times when the body aches, but running conveys a sense of freedom to the soul.


In reflecting over my own running the last two years it has given me a different body. I have dropped some pounds and toned up a bit. But the biggest effect it has had is on my mind. I am more confident in what I know my body can do. I know that I will always defeat myself mentally before my body will give up. Running has also given me a community and a way to interact with many people in a fun way. Running has become the way I feel centered to tackle whatever else happens during the day.

I hope that I make it to my 80s like the gentlemen in the story and that I am still out there plodding along.
If that plod happens to occur in Hawaii followed by breakfast I am fine with that.


Comments

  1. Aw, love the story about the older runners :) At this point I can't imagine not having running in my life so I hope that I can still do it when I get older too! Oh, and the ice cream bar is indeed brilliant.

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  2. I really liked that article as well! It made me laugh so much. We're off to Hawaii next week, I kind of hope I see the old guys! I also realised today that on my current marathon time, I could qualify for Boston when I'm 65. There are definitely perks in getting older!

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  3. Is there a sign me up for every race that exists stage? Because I think we're in that stage. I'm amazed that I now have friendships that 100% founded on our love of running. That would have never happened to me three years ago, when I thought runners wore too much neon. Now neon knows no limits to me!

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