This week’s run was my last long run at 52. On Monday I turn 53 and will continue to remind my self that I’m still in my early 50’s.
This week we ran the same Sunday Long Run route that we ran week six, the Winchester Highland route. Three weeks ago it was around 90°, sunny and humid. Nothing that a runner likes.
This week it was in the high 50’s, overcast with a light drizzle. Eventually it rained and everything was soaked through. Near the end I just ran through the puddles because it didn’t matter anymore.
Last Long Run
Most runners have considered their last run, long or short. Usually this thought pops into a runner’s head when they are layed up with an injury and have way too much time to think.
With a nagging, persistent injury it can feel like your running days are over. When the pain just wont go away, it’s easy to wonder if you have had your last long run.
It’s not like facing down a life threatening illness, but it can feel like your life will never be the same again. Runners have lots of running friends. While running can be a solitary sport, often a big part of a runner’s social life is built around running. The people and socializing are one of the wonderful things about running.
The thought of loosing so much of your social life can be depressing.
Then there is the fitness and health running gives to you. If you can’t run how will you maintain your weight and youthful vigor? When Boston had the record winter two years ago I was in peak condition from training for three marathons. I shoveled for the entire season and never really ran out of steam.
If I had not been a runner and spent so much time focused on being in shape, that winter would have been much more difficult.
Running and aging
Getting older is just part of life. As my Dad says, it sure beats the alternative.
In my mind, life is a series of taking fall-back positions. Your life is under a constant assault by time and eventually you have to yield your position in order to continue the fight.
This is a military concept so I may not have a full understanding of how a battle is conducted. But I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
When you are young, your body will take a lot of abuse and bounce back quickly. When we are young we probably do a lot of damage to our bodies because it’s easy to bounce back and compensate.
I used to carry anything that my hands and arms could hold onto. I could load and carry around 50lb bags of cement. It would have been smarter to use a cart and my back wouldn’t hurt so much today.
Now I am much more careful about carrying heavy items and use back support when I do.
As a runner I have also learned a lot about preventing and managing injuries. I’ve hurt my self while running several ways, now I manage those situations and generally avoid injuries from them.
Pain is a powerful teaching tool! You can read about what to do and not to do. But often the lesson does not resonate until you go out and do something stupid.
A few years ago I dreamed of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. After trying a few times and going through various injuries I question that quest. My fall back position is to run fewer marathons and not worry about Boston.
Long distance running can be brutal on the body. I have even considered giving up the marathon and only running halfs, 10K and 5K races. I’m just not there yet but I feel that my position could be over-run at any time.
Older and Wiser?
53 isn’t really that old. My parents are 88 and 89. I should have at least another 35 years on this earth.
Many of us felt like we knew everything when we were 17 or 20 and definitely at 30. We were just fooling our selves. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize there is so much to learn. What you thought at 40 is laughable at 50.
I can only imagine looking back at today when I am 63. What opportunities did I miss? Oh the mistakes I made! What can’t I do at 63 that I could do at 53? What silly ideas did I hold to be true?
I may be wiser in that I know I can hurt my self. I know injuries can take a long time to heal and some never truly go away. The same can be said about relationships.
I know some lessons are never truly learned until the bridge has been crossed. You cannot understand what it means to be a parent until you are. You cannot understand true joy until your heart is busting and your eyes are full of tears. You cannot understand loss until there is an emptiness that cannot be filled.
Life’s lessons are learned through joy and loss, pleasure and pain.
Last Long Run at 52
This week’s run was much more enjoyable. While I do not enjoy running in the rain, it is much better than running in the heat. I teamed up with Freddie Pare early in the run when we figured out we had the same goal pace: 9:30.
My running mate from last week, Stephanie was there again this week. I was glad to see her return after that 18 miler from last week. I think she ran the half distance this week as I didn’t see her after the first half mile or so.
I won’t give you turn by turn details since they are the same as week six. It was nice to run the same course in better weather. Freddie and I agreed that it was a great way to gauge your progress.
This route has the most hills of any course in our series. For week six I ran the course at a 10:46 pace. This week my pace was 9:41! A few weeks of “training” helped but I think the weather made the most difference.
I’ve never run with Freddie so we had a great conversation and pulled each other along.
I left the charging cable for my watch at work and it died Saturday night. This week I used “Run Keeper” as a replacement.
I haven’t used Run Keeper in a few years and used it to replace my watch then also. At the time Run Keeper was new and everyone around me was fascinated by the time pace and distance announcements coming from my phone.
I liked Run Keeper because it has some nice details and uses cell towers instead of satellites, so it links up faster. What I didn’t like about Run Keeper was trying to start a race, start Run Keeper and get my phone stowed away in a moving crowd of runners. And on rainy days I hated taking my phone on a run.
During our run today I stopped to use a porta-pottie at a construction site. It was very dark in there so I had to be careful not to drop anything. So I didn’t take my phone out to stop Run Keeper. As I was looking for hand sanitizer Run Keeper reverberated in the porta-pottie announcing my current distance pace etc. I could hear Freddie outside laughing.
Run well my Friends!