...the rest of us get humble.
Of late I've (apparently) been fooling myself into thinking I'm pretty fast for someone my age, yeah, about that. This last weekend I ran in the RibFest 5-Miler held at the beautiful Budweiser facilities in Merrimack, NH (home to one of the Clydesdale teams), and even though this race was just one of eight for this year's running series put on by Millennium Running, it also happened to be an event on the USATF New England Grand Prix calendar. I knew I was in some trouble when I saw team after team after team, all in like uniforms, lining up for the start.
Over the last couple of months, one of my coworkers and I have run several large (for New Hampshire) races, he *had* a streak going where he'd won the Men's 30-39 something like four races in a row. In my case, I've typically been finishing in the top ten percent of guys in the 50-59 age range, and often in the top two or three percent. So, like I said earlier, "yeah, about that". Out of 161 guys in my age group, and in spite of the fact that I crossed the line in 37:24 (a time I was pleased with), I finished 55th! And my coworker? He got knocked down from his perch atop his age group to 42nd (out of 265)!
Impressive performances which stand out to me:
And then there is my personal favorite:
As I was heading up a small hill at about the 2.5 mile mark I gradually caught up to and passed a "little old lady". Her stride was looking good and she was running strong and I told her so as I passed. I happened to see her after the finish and found out her particulars:
While my hopes to be competitive within my age group have dimmed a bit (the last time I ran a 5-Mile race, when I was 22, I would just barely have beaten the 54 year old who won my age group), my new humility will hopefully translate into a renewed effort to lose some more weight and get faster.
Fat old man PRs:
yeah - I've also developed a healthy dose of humility....
After a 10K/5K dual event I was bemoaning my placement in the field with a friend (who has been running for a lot longer than I have), and he explained to me that, at least in our age group (50-59), that the winners in this group are of a generation that grew up running track and that yes, they are naturally athletic. These guys (and those girls that took advantage of Title IX) are really good and they are really fast.
Right now it is only in my dreams that I can see myself maintaining a 6min/mile pace for 5 miles. Your winner in the 50-59 group did it in a 5:36min/mile pace. Very impressive.
Gives us a goal, doesn't it ?! Never too late !
I also grew up running track and cross country; back then (early to mid 1970s) my 4:20 mile and 9:20 2-mile were pretty ordinary, so ordinary I didn't even make the top heat at the state track meet.
Then life happened, career, family, overwork, and as a result I got old and fat. If, if, and if...
Per the "twenty seconds per mile per ten pounds" rule, I should be able to knock a minute per mile off my times at my current level of fitness; add in some extra fitness, and I might be able to knock off another thirty seconds per mile. That scenario would get me down to roughly a 6:00 pace for a 5-mile race, which is still nearly a half minute per mile slower than the guy who won our age group this weekend. Try as I might, I don't envision ever being that fast again; good thing I'll be racing as a 60 year old in three years (the 60 year old who won that age group this weekend ran a 30:40).
Fat old man PRs:
If you do relatively short distances and are looking for humility, there's always the Carlsbad 5000. The race organizers bill it as one of the fastest 5K fields in the country, and they're serious. I have not personally run Carlsbad (it's about 100 miles from where I live) but if I did, my odds of scoring an age group award would be zero. As an example: the 24:10 that I ran this past weekend (screaming fast for me) got me an age group award at a local race. At the 2014 Carlsbad it would have put me 13th in my age group (F 55-59). Big difference.
@ 5K: Ontario Mills 5K, Ontario, CA, 25:17
New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32
Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24
@ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15
Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40
Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:57