Forced ageism on the treadmill

Demographically insulted

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.6 miles

I knew it was going to rain this morning but I thought I might be able to fit in a run before the weather changed. As often happens on Saturday mornings, I got a little too comfortable settling in with a big cup of Green Mountain Double Black Diamond Extra Bold (thanks again Bill!) and watching the news. Time passed until I finally managed to tear myself from a hard hitting news story about dog racism and headed upstairs to change.

My wife is extremely disciplined about getting things done and that includes her daily workout. When I got upstairs, she was already halfway through her treadmill run. Knowing that I’d planned to run outside, she looked at me sympathetically and said, “You’re probably better off using the treadmill rather than running outside that this point.” A look outside supported that view. I got caught in the rain about halfway through yesterday’s run. Although it only lasted a couple of minutes, I found it extremely unpleasant.

My run went fine. No heroics on the treadmill. I set a moderate pace and stayed with it throughout my targeted time. I got tired of switching the channel between the local news station, MSNBC, CNN and HLN every time they went to a commercial. I changed over to the Music Channels and was amused to see how the display ads differed depending on the type of music selected. The Classic Rock and Soft Rock stations kept showing an ad with an older guy holding a cane, with the headline “Having Difficulty with your Knees?”

Each time they showed that, I felt like yelling, “How dare you infer that I need your services just because I choose to listen to the Steve Miller Band! I’m running!” (actually I may have yelled it once). In the end, today’s workout was exactly what I needed. I’d planned to throw in some fartleks, but SIOR made the point that I should not be focusing that much on speed at this point. Unlike some recent runs, today’s felt energizing and I had no breathing issues or fatigue. Perhaps the warmer weather is helping. And not a moment too soon.

The Em-aging Runner

Hail to the ancient runner!
Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles
I’ve finally finished the March issue of Running Times magazine that focused on Masters runners. Masters are competitive runners of a certain age, id est, those of us who can remember when digital watches and VCRs were considered groundbreaking technologies. I found it amusing that one of RT’s coverline kickers was “How aging runners stay motivated.”

Okay, I’m firmly in middle age and I even remember when Lyndon Johnson was president. But aging? A Master’s division runner can be as young as forty and I have not come across too many people in their 40’s who would think of themselves as “aging runners.” The happy truth is that Running Times lists the records of the best Masters race performances of the year. Aging or not, there are some very fast people out there.

I was not feeling like a high performer when I started my run this morning. I stepped outside, felt the chill and hoped a fast start would help warm me up. My spirit was willing but my legs were not and I covered the first mile in about ten minutes. By then I felt increased circulation in my Master’s-aged body and stepped up my pace well enough to finish with a high 9:00 pace. I know I’ll never be a Ken Youngers who, at 53, ran the Peachtree 10K in 34:40 last year. But if I can continue to stay competitive with the “me” from two years ago I’ll know that I’m on the right track.

Keeping up with the older crowd

Today’s workout: Central Park run (scheduled)

Yesterday was a busy work day but I’ll admit to occasionally checking updates on the Boston Marathon during the race. An amazing record breaking run for Robert Cheruiyot and two Americans finishing in the men’s top five. Later I looked at the searchable results to get a sense of the paces that people were maintaining over 26.2 miles. It’s a given that the elites can run 5 minute miles all day but I was surprised to see how many “regular” people were hitting paces that I can’t manage at a fraction of the distance. I looked at my own category and saw that age is no excuse for slowness. Seeing what my contemporaries did was in equal parts inspiring and intimidating. Then again, a couple of weeks ago, a 73 year old man beat my 5K finish time by 37 seconds.

I’m heading out at lunch to run with a friend who has a few years on me but can outrun me any day of the week. We’re going to Central Park to run about 4 or 5 miles. Temperatures will be in the low 60’s with sun. I’m hoping I can keep up and I’m glad I’ve made progress on the hills because there will be a number of them. My friend has been plagued with a foot problem and he claims that will force him to hold back a little. I’ve heard that one before!