Wednesday, September 24, 2014

300 Hoax

Saturday, September 20th, was the 33rd running of Greenwood's 300 Oaks road race. The run was a fun event since I had my son, daughter, granddaughter, wife, and sister-in-law there. All of us were involved in some way. My son, daughter, and sister-in-law, and I ran the 10K while my wife and granddaughter did the 5K walk. The weather was nice and as usual the free food afterwards was excellent. A live band played on Front Street while the runners straggled in and found a place to crash and eat. What's not to like?

My finishing time. That's what's not to like.

I was three minutes slower than last year at 57:08, a 9:13 pace. I can remember when a 9:13 cuased me to blush effusively. Those were the days. As slow as that was, it was good enough for second place in my age group. But I am in a very old group of geezer jocks who still run hard but get there slow. Having outlived and outlasted much of my competition, now I can usually place just by shuffling across the finish line. The three minute slow down, however, has me worried, frustrating, wondering. And to make matters worse, that has been my pattern for a few years in a row now.

The family, minus wife, at the Oaks.
It can't be my age.

It can't be.

That's what I've been telling myself for several years. But slowly I am starting to soften on that position. Maybe it is my age. I'm sure getting older has something to do with it. But I keep coming up with reasons for my decline that have nothing to do with my mounting years. Listen to a few:

  •    I got a stress fracture in December and couldn't run for over two months.

  •    I gained a bunch of weight while I was hobbled on crutches, and some of that adipose tissue still adorns my body.

  •    My real focus for the last few years has been swimming not running.

  •    This year I gained four pounds during race week. WHAT!?!?! Who does that?
Last year after the Oaks, I sat down and wrote out a plan for getting my running back on track. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about the plan and, consequently, I had a slower than expected race. See what I did there? I found a reason for my decline not connected to my birthdays. This year after the Oaks, I once more sat down and wrote out a plan to get my running back where I think it should be, to get me out of second place and into first among the geezers.

Am I hoaxing myself? hoping against hope to regain my lost youthful vigor? Or am I just too divided as an athlete, pulled in too many directions, diluting my energies and progress? I'm not sure I know the answer to that question or if I really want to know. Ignorance is bliss as they say. At least it can be.

Only time will tell if I stick to the plan this go round and at least get some of that performance back. In fact, I think I wrote something like this last year after the Oaks although I did not do a back search through EndangeredSwimmer to find that post. I think I may have said something to the effect that if I failed this year to lower my time I would give up on speed and just fade away into marathons and ultra-marathons.

Now there's an option.