This is the first part of a two-part blog post that I have been working on as I careen toward my 60th birthday. In this one I will focus on where I have been as a runner and about where I am now. The second part will be about where I am going, well at least my ideas on where I would like this old body to take me.
Now that I have retired again and have had some time to settle in, I have been thinking a little…well a lot about my running and where I would like to see it go. Especially since one of those decade birthdays is upon me this weekend.
Let’s get be brutally frank about where and what I really am as a runner.
Age. I turn 60 soon, so my best days as a runner are behind me, just the way it is.
I know that I can and will make many more great memories as a runner, but the days of running fast and pain-free are distant memories.
I am a never-was. At some points in time in my running life, I had opportunities to be a decent runner, but my battles with race anxiety, not willing to get too far into the hurt locker, life getting in the way and being a total head case, I never took really advantage of any potential I may have had.
I am one of those 5:00 minute mile guys that was mentioned in “Once a Runner” – if you don’t understand you need to read the book.
Not really all that sociable. I don’t like running/racing with lots of people, hell I don’t like being around lots of people at any time even when I am not running. So running in a big race with lots of people there just ain’t my thing. Which means I stick to the smaller local races/events, when I even go to them.
I do fine with individual or small groups, but more than that – I probably ain’t too happy or comfortable.
Out of Shape. Right now I am nowhere near the kind of shape I want to be for training or especially racing. First and foremost I need to lose at least 15 pounds. Then I have to work on getting stronger, I can barely do 20 push ups (I couldn’t do 10 a month ago), so I know I have a lot of work to strengthen up the old body. That and having two 2×4’s attached with screws for ankles mean that I am not all that flexible.
Those are a few things I need to take care of before I can call myself back in shape.
Injuries. My left ankle/Achilles still have way too many issues and I have to be very aware of how the Achilles is doing at faster paces. I don’t want to totally screw things up and yes age does play a factor into rehabbing – everything takes longer to heal. I did have some Plantar Faciitis issues earlier in the spring, that seems to have cleared itself up.
Otherwise I am a good place when it comes to injuries right now
Age Grouper. Depending upon who shows up at races, I might take an age group locally and have even had a few surprises come my way in the past when a LOT of people didn’t show up. However, in larger local races (where people do show up), I usually finish ahead of the middle of the pack, but not all that far ahead.
Technology. I love it and I hate technology when it comes to running. I love that I can put my running logs into a spreadsheet, get accurate mileage, share my runs online with Strava or Garmin Connect and even my thoughts here on my blog.
Technology in the running world marches on and while technology has its place, it is not the reason that I run – you know to make data points that can be graphed, studied and dissected.
Sometimes I miss the simplicity of running in the early days and attempt to live without the quirkiness of technology and running, but I get back to wanting the tech back pretty soon, when I stop using it. I has its place in my running.
Running Shoes. I give my running shoes too much credit when things are going good and WAY too much negativity when my running is going bad. Realistically, a lot of different brands/styles of running shoes and for the most part unless they alter my running mechanics, I can run in most shoes, it just doesn’t mean that I enjoy running in all of them. I really think that when I got to reviewing running shoes as a big part of my blogging, it skewed how I viewed running shoes and what I expected from them.
This spring I finally figured out that my feet are Hobbit feet and because they are short/wide, that I need to wear EE-width shoes that have a rounded toe box. That way my Tailor’s Bunionette has room and doesn’t push my little toe against the 4th toe cause all kinds of misery for me during a run.
What I have learned is that there are some running shoes that I want to run in and that is vastly different perspective than running shoes I can run in. I am looking a lot closer what works for me, versus always looking at the newest and greatest marketing drivel or latest and greatest offerings from multiple brands all the time.
The reality is that
I am an old fart, who is comfortable using technology, but doesn’t really like being around lots of other people or travelling too far to get a run/race in. I am a little better than some, but not really good enough to be anything more than a local age group competitor. Over the past few months I might have even figured out the issues I had with my running shoes over the years and it is making a pretty huge difference in my comfort level during longer runs.
If I am honest with myself I always thought too much about what I could have been as a runner, if I had only done x, y or z.
The thing is that I didn’t or couldn’t do x, y or z.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to let what might have been go. It has haunted me for far too long and I need to accept that time has passed me by and move on. Bury the what might have been.
Now – is about what I still can do and more about what I want to do going forward, because despite all of the ups, downs, disappointments, anxiety ridden moments that are part of my past as a runner…
I still love to run and running is a part of who I am.
I am very comfortable with that.
Now to move on to part 2 of this post. Sixty – Where Do I Go From Here