I was set and ready for a great run this morning! I kept my night splint boot for plantar fasciitis on all night (Sometimes, if I am having trouble sleeping, it is the first thing to go). So my foot was feeling great! My Garmin tells me I slept for 6:57 which is a really good night for me. I had just gotten a new pair of Asics Gel Cumulus (which I can’t believe I switched from my beloved Saucony’s – but these Asics feel like they are giving my heels little hugs, which is what they need). I taped my foot for good measure since I was gearing up for a boredom blaster workout on the treadmill – lots of speed and hill variations. I stretched. I prayed. I smiled. I ran.
So why the heck was my foot hurting by mile 3? What the heck! All signs pointed to clear pain free strides ahead!
And then there, in my brain, sat all the Dr,’s I saw this past year for my foot. They all said one thing to me so often I thought it was written in my chart as a script, “Be sure to open diagnosis discussion with this one line…..”
“Well, you’re getting older now….”
I’m sure my face scrunched. I’m sure I mentally panicked. I am glad the child in me didn’t come out with a, “Yeah? So! YOU’RE getting older!”
But after I calmed, I realized what they were all trying to say. I was aging. My body was aging. Things were changing.
I don’t want to spend too much time on the negatives. Of what we lose physically as we age, But at a high level, here you go:
1. Aging slows the healing process
Recovering from an exerting training runs takes longer. You are at a higher risk of over training, which can lead to injury and impaired performance. Take time to heal. Here is some more information and adequate recovery times for training over 40.
2. Less Flexibility
We stiffen. We are not as loose. We have to STRETCH. The more you stretch, the easier you move. The easier you move, the more you run with ease. Check out some more info here.
3. We take in less Oxygen
There is a lot of science behind this one, some here. But to sum up – we take in less oxygen as we age. Since we take in less oxygen, our performance goes down. It isn’t likely we are going to be getting our PR’s as we age. But we can set our PR bar for our age.
Reading the latest issue of Runner’s World, I ran across a blurb on Kathy Martin. To say I was impressed at her Master’s records would be an understatement, Kathy flies! So, I began to research other Master Runners. There are MANY awesome master runner’s out there! They are going crazy fast to me. For them, they are going slower than when they started, but true master athletes. Here, I highlight a few, including Kathy Martin:
Kathy Martin – What I love about Kathy Martin’s story is that she didn’t even know she was good at running until her 40’s. And then she just amazed everyone. She set the marathon record for her age group (60-64) with a time of 3:10:27. The marathon isn’t even her favorite distance. But she went to set the record, and she did! True inspiration!
Sister Marion Irvine – Sister Marion Irvine was another late bloomer. Sister Marion didn’t start running until she was also in her 40’s. She qualified for the 1983 Olympic Trials with her time of 2:51:01 at age 54. She really set the bar, and not just in the marathon. Sister Marion decided to stop running at the age of 63 when she ran a half marathon in 1:59:53. It was then she felt she didn’t have it anymore and decided to get out.
Jan Frisby: I found Jan Frisby, 72, as well. Not a late bloomer – Jan has been running strong for many years. More into the shorter race, Jan has run an occasional marathon and got his PR at the age of 36 with a time of 2:33:13. He also ran his fastest 5K at the age of 36 with a time of 15:03, 10K at 31:56. His PR for the 5K over 70 is 19:28, 10K 41:36.
Yes, we slow down as we age. But you know what? We can still go pretty darn fast if we work at it. I enjoyed reading the piece about Kathy Martin in Runner’s World. I enjoyed reading about other Master’s Runners. I am more focused on what I need to do to keep my body nimble and quick (for me). Because I want running and I to work well together, forever.