24 February 2014

like a fine wine

last night as i waited to pick up my daughter from a group activity i whittled away my time at the local chapters bookstore.  thumbing through the magazine racks, i scanned the march 2014 edition of running times magazine.

since i fall into the 'masters' category (by virtue of age, not competency) i was interested to check out the article on the very best masters runners that are out there, and what kind of times they are clocking for various distances.

jaw-dropping, they are.

i'm hoping to clear 3:15 in my next marathon - and i read that 63 year-old tim freeman of port angeles, washington just about cleared 2:46 this past year.

it's enough to make you want to stop reading running magazines.

except that in that same section of the magazine there was a little dittie describing three types of masters-category runners, and the running potential of each.  i don't recall verbatim what terms they used but in essence the three broke out as:
  1. the early starter - this person was a runner in elementary and/or high school and has kept going throughout his/her adult years.
  2. the starter-and-stopper - a runner who had early training and competition through the school days, paused in early adult life but then resumed near mid-life.
  3. the late bloomer - (this would be me) someone who has discovered running later in life, perhaps through couch-to-5k programs or charity racing, and has developed a newfound passion for the activity.
as i recall it went on to say that the second and third types of masters runners also had a greater potential to improve and log better results than the 'early starter' who had been a lifelong runner.  i found this to be both interesting and encouraging.  i've been doing a bit of reading lately on the concept of a 'running age' (pete pfitzinger's got a good write-up on this) which notes that there's something to be said about cumulative years of development of your running musculature.  and because he recognizes that this can be both a plus (in terms of overall aerobic fitness and technique refinement) and a minus (effects of injury and scar-tissue build-up), those many years/decades of striding might account for why the long-term runner may not have the same development curve as someone who's introduced or reintroduced running into his/her life.

all that to say that i will take this as an open door for me to step through.  i admit that i find it difficult not to compare my goals and accomplishments to that of those around me (whatever age/gender they might be - and specifically if they do fall into my competition age bracket), i will keep telling myself that i simply have to aim to be the best runner that i can be.

if you're at all interested in reading up more on the correlation between age and running experience/performance, here are two other recommended articles:



  1. Yay for late bloomers!

    I'd say that you have a lot of great accomplishments Patrick, and more to come too, I'm sure!

    1. double yay!

      thanks mike - i'm definitely looking forward to furthering my experiences and accomplishments in running. part of me is definitely regretting that i didn't discover this sooner - but then who knows? perhaps i would not have settled into this sweet spot in the same way. all things in due time!