Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Getting Old

I still can remember what it feels like to run fast. It's been almost 20 years though, but I still remember how it feels like It was yesterday. Back then ('then' is just sometime in the past; I really don't try to quantify 'then' anymore.) I used to run track and x-country, low 5-min miles were common for me. Mid 5 min splits were common on longer runs also. If fact I was even able to clock a 1:49 800 meter in competition once.

Those days are long gone, and just now I'm realizing that they will never come back. It's almost sad when I dwell on that thought, but I try to push it down somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind when it does pop its nasty head up. Lately though I've let that thought linger during my runs, maybe it's because I've been running with my 14 year old son Alex recently (who's already faster than I was at his age), or maybe it's looking down and seeing a stomach for the first time in my life that I can't get rid of without cutting my diet, or even maybe it's reviewing my running logs over the past 3-5 years that has led me to this conclusion. (Personally I think it's a combination of all of these)

What disturbs me the most isn't the fact that my waistline is expanding, or that my times don't seem to reflect my effort level(s). But the fact somewhere in the back of my head it's ok to be slower than I once was. That 'acceptance' of being a slower runner is slowly creeping into my workouts and that's something I've never dealt with before. I know that it's slowing me down gradually over time, and somehow it's become acceptable. Does this happen to every runner over time? I'd hate to think it does - and I really don't want to make it acceptable, the problem then becomes an issue for time and quality of my workouts along with a better diet and smarter resting periods.
Do I really want to become so strict in my running again just to prove that "I've still got it"? That's the ultimate question......

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