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.