Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Age Has Its Advantages

"Competition or No Competition
I'm still busting my butt everyday"

I have never been very competitive. Against others. But that may be changing. I am learning that crossing that finish line in record time has a sweet taste. I have always been competitive against myself. The person I was yesterday with the person I aim to be today, and the person I aspire to be tomorrow.

I have not been known for being a fast runner. Oh heck, I have not been known to be a fast anything. Middle of the pack on my best days, dead last (a few times) on my worst.

But with age come certain advantages. One of them, and the most obvious is that of "experience". Experience of lessons learned. Experience of knowing that if something didn't work, you'd best figure out something different; if you want different, do different.

I have a bucket-full of experience. I have taken a beating at times, and as well as many others I have been knocked down a time or two. But due to resilience or maybe ignorance, I shake if off and try it again, a different way.

For the last three months I have taken a different approach. I have decided to go solo in my training. I will fly without a coach, for the first time in over 8 years, I will not have someone by my side.

Why am I doing this? Not sure, to be totally honest. Will it pay off. Not sure, to be equally honest. It's just something that I have to figure out on my own. Perhaps, halfway through this journey, I will cry uncle and call him back, but this I will have to learn on my own.

I have been feeling awfully good lately. I've had some pretty incredible runs. Some training sessions have been out of this world. More than I had ever expected. When I fell to injury last year, I thought my world came crashing down. Well, it didn't.

On Sunday, March 20, 2016 I set out to run a 10k. Not a big deal (for me) for I have run this distance many a time. Not a big deal, at least not on the surface. But deep down inside I knew what I had to do.

I wanted to test my injury and how much progress I had made. I took the risk of taking a step back. I was willing to do that. I decided upon arriving at the venue, that I would go all out. I would push harder than I had ever pushed. I would see what I had, come hell or high-water, I had to find out.

And I did. I ran that distance faster than I ever had before. I beat my previous best (a PR) by 1:46! My pace per mile was a blistering 8:03. Blistering for me!

And the best news of all... no side effects from the injury. No pain. Still as of this writing, there's no pain.

There's another benefit in our world, that of getting old(er), that of entering into new "age group". The field is somewhat reduced. I say this with tongue in cheek. I guess there comes a time when common sense kicks in and most folks decide that this running thing is no longer for them. As for now, I am not one fo those folks.

For the second time in less than a year, I earned a State Championship as a Senior Grand Master. Last year, it was on the Half Marathon distance, Sunday it was on the 10K distance.

And what are my plans for the foreseeable future? Keep Moving Forward. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time, one more mile, one more lap, one more workout, one more road, one more race. One. More. Time.

"I may walk slowly
But I never walk backward"
 ~ Abraham Lincoln

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