Thursday, July 9, 2009

I may be old but I'm slow

During my Tuesday morning run in Central Park I spent time observing other runners that shared the path along the lower loop. There is no typical runner but there certainly are types: 20 something women running in pairs, weight challenged runners (joggers?) doing their best to move along, hampered by poorly chosen clothing (long sleeves, cotton jerseys) plus a mix of single runners, young and old, purposefully working their way around the path. That's me.

I mostly held my position during this run and overtook a number of slower runners. At one point I heard footsteps coming up quickly from behind and before I knew it I was passed by two younger guys who were chatting away as they ran by. I tried to keep pace with them but they were tracking at least a minute per mile faster than me. I watched them disappear into the distance, their gait effortless, their nonchalance annoying. I soon forgot them and went back to my normal pace scoping out the other runners, hoping to find someone older and slower than me to pass. Minutes later a distinguished looking gentleman (he looked like one of those guys who plays the president on TV) flew by me going faster than the two young guys before him. Instead of being mad I was pleased. That guy clearly had some years on me and he was moving. There's hope for me yet!

So the question is how do I do that? If I stay on the same path I'm on (approximately 20 miles/week - average pace around 9:00) will I ever improve? Or worse, will my speed decline as I get older? I know that Tempo runs and intervals can help my speed but I just want my running to be fun and enjoyable.

I was talking to a colleague before a meeting yesterday and he told me he was running in an NYRR corporate run that evening. I said that I ran and that maybe we should run together sometime. He said sure. He then told me he's training for a marathon and runs 40-50 miles a week in the 7:00 range. I said I usually run between 8:50 and 9:20 so we probably shouldn't run together after all. He looked at me, smiled and "Yes, probably not."

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