It would be dishonest to continue writing about running without admitting that my sub 30 5K finish in New Orleans was a bit of a disappointment in my whole scheme of running. I knew I wasn’t going to do well because of the prescribed rest time but I had “previously won or placed” pride to contend with. I masqueraded that disappointment with the joy of recovering my ability to run again. I was happy to run again but not very happy that I didn’t just pick up where I left off. I wanted it to be like a movie.
Reality Bites and it isn’t just a movie from my college years. Like the movie, I grew up, accepted myself and found a hobby, running, that made me happy. I won’t deny that placing in races was a major confidence booster for me. When you find out your better at doing something than you ever thought you would be, you develop some high expectations. These days, I need to adjust my expectations to the Mid-life Reality Bites.
I’m on the edge of exiting my current age bracket. Age brackets make the competition fair. It compares apples to apples. No matter how vernal I may look, there is nothing that will prevent the calendar’s nudge into that next age bracket. No matter how vernal I want to stay, I confess that I can no longer compare my current abilities to the abilities I had 5 years ago. Not to mention the lengthened time needed to heal from injuries now. I used require just two weeks of rest or a few nights of ice. Yes, that age bracket stares me down and tells me to be realistic. It’s a pill to swallow but that’s reality.
With this fresh dose of medicine, I reset my bar for 5k races at 29 minutes and some seconds from my finish at Papercon’s Runnability 5K in New Orleans. I view this as a suitable starting point for my not so vernal state. But, I have no intention for this bar to cemented I to place.
In fact, this past weekend, I ran in the Pause for Patriotism 5K. It was two loops around a hill. It started with 3/4 of a mile down hill then had a 3/4 of a mile climb back up that hill. Then repeated. I finished 2nd for my age bracket with 28 minutes and 35 seconds!
The reality is that I’m not as fast as I was but I can be faster than I recently was.