Wednesday, July 24, 2013

As age increases, speed decreases

I've been meaning to write about today's topic, but it's rather painful to commit this sordid tale to words.

The years are going by quickly and one unintended outcome is a decrease in prior performance running and on the bicycle. It started last summer and has continued into this season's club cycling sessions. I am quickly the last rider off the pack, in some cases miles off the pace of the other club participants. Call it social identity or my own self-inflicted stereotype of who I am on two wheels, but I find my lack of speed and endurance embarrassing and sometimes shameful.

I'm not alone in this adaptation to B-class effort. Read the following from long-time reader Doug Hildebrandt:

"Fitness is all about commitment and staying in a routine.  If I ever miss a workout day I always feel very guilty and out of shape.  I do take one day a week off to give the old body of 57 years a break, as all the years of running have taken its toll on me.  My times are much slower, I don't get on the podium for my age group very often anymore, but I am thankful to God that I can still run pretty well.

All of the guys and gals I ran and cycled with for the past twenty-five  years have fallen off the routine and I'm the last man standing.  I just run with my dogs now, but sill enjoy running regardless.

One final note.  I mentioned to you months ago that I was going to race the Rock Creek Scenic City trail marathon.  It was terribly humid due to several previous day of rain.  I ended up peeling off the marathon an just doing the half, as the humidity was too much for me to endure as a guy who trains in the dry heat of AZ.

Since my return to AZ from the race my training runs have been absolutely terrible.  I get tired only two miles into a run, and it takes a lot of effort to just get a six mile run in.  I have no idea why I have suddenly hit this wall of poor endurance but I have never experience anything like this.  If  you are familiar with this type of issue I would love to hear any suggestions you may have on how to get out of this funk."

Doug, I wish there was a magic elixir that would restore the luster of our former performances. But, I fear that we need to start adapting, i.e. accepting, how we can enjoy endurance sport at our revised pace. I don't like it, but I have to accept it.

One calming influence in my life is when I repeat the mantra, "it's not about me." Life is about reaching out to others over self. For example, I'm off the back on our club rides, but that gives me a chance to interact with new riders coming into the sport. Encouraging others creates an alternative payback. I can no longer carry the speed I once was capable of, but I can help others embrace their riding experience.

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