In Running, Age is Just a Number

Sir Randulph Fiennes - Marathon des Sables 2015

Sir Randulph Fiennes – Marathon des Sables 2015

They say, “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” I think they’re right. When I look back on my years of running, while I’m no dinosaur it’s been more than twenty-five years, I can honestly say that I have never felt better, run faster, been stronger or as confident as I am today. I’ll say credit that to maturity, training and practice, but what I believe more than anything is that experience is the greatest teacher. Each race I run, I’m always looking for a better time, I constantly push myself..my boundaries, I’m always eagerly looking at new and or different methods, exploring new technologies, meeting and talking with runners. The idea here is one of openness and willingness to learn, to grow, to achieve my highest human potential.

I think about the elders in the field, I mean we’re talking those in their 70’s and 80’s, there is no game plan they’ll tell you, just passion and life and all the challenges that come with it. Recalling my first competitive 10k takes some doing but this 75 year-old Trinidadian native I will always remember: Granny Luces, as she is endearing known locally, was then a regular at the races. The race didn’t start nor end without Granny and you felt it an honor to run with her, so legendary was her passion and dedication to the sport. Today, she’s 85 and still running I’m told. Back then I use to think I wanted to be like her and I still do. I want to be 80, even 90 and still running. I recently read an article on the 71 year-old Brit who finished The Marathon De Sables 2015, a 6-day ultramarathon, raising approximately £1 million for charity. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, though he is a veteran explorer having crossed Antarctica and hiked Mount Everest, described the hair-raising experience as hell on earth. But he did it..over 150 miles..you have to give kudos to the essence of a person who at that age with his health issues would not only attempt but achieve something so monumental. Mind you, the oldest competitor in the 30-year history of the Marathon des Sables race is an 83-year-old Frenchman, so 71 might seem ok in comparison. The point is that 71, 83, 40, 23…age is just a number. How you feel mentally and physically will determine a lot more than how old you are.

Sure, I get that frailty is more than likely by the ripe old age of 80, that my bones will atrophy with time and this will surely slow down my game but I’m thinking to see this through, to take it as far as it’ll let me while doing the best I can. I think at the end of the day it’s all we can ask. I should add that longevity runs in my family, I have a grandmother who’s 102; her twin sister, my great-aunt, died last year at 101, my dad’s 93 and my mom’s 84. God bless them and me I pray. I intend to be around and running for a long time with His blessing.

Faith-filled or Foolish

IMG_3583As a runner, you pretty much dread getting hurt but what you dread even more is finding out you can never run again. In 5 & 1/2 days I will face the run of a lifetime.  It’s all that I’ve thought of, breathe, worked at, and been able to see, for at least two years now.  I should be thrilled; jumping and running up and down with glee and in preparation, instead I’m thrilled in a boot and doubting my sanity as I press ahead with plans to run on Sunday.

I’ve had so many of my friends, family and concerned well wishers advising me to put it off – ” there’ll always be another race, it’s ok to miss this one” they say.   I don’t know if it’s ego, tenacity, faith or foolhardiness but there’s something in me that won’t let me give this up.  I just can’t quit! Even with the thought that I could suffer a greater set-back, that I could cause further damage..irreparable damage even, does not give me pause. The more I consider it, the more I am convinced that I’m neither reckless nor crazy; what I am is a runner who knows my body and my limitations.  I also know the hard work I have put in to arrive here and I trust the God who has made it possible.  The latter reason being the one above all else that has me convinced I am going to do this, that if God has brought me to this point, He is totally able to take me through and beyond; too, I’m by no means pursuing this in a haphazard manner, I am diligently utilizing all avenues to ensure I am fit and ready to race; yet I cannot say what will happen on race day.  I pray that I will have an amazing race here in the most awesome city in the world! Now to turn these nagging little voices into encouragement & optimism, because all I can afford right now is positive energy.

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