Sixty – Where Do I Go From Here

I turn 60 today.

I made it. 🙂

It is a great day in the neighborhood!

This is the second part of a two-part blog post about my thoughts on turning 60. You can read the first part here.

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My third birthday at Nana’s in Newport –

Yeah, 60 that ominous sounding number that means you are old.

Being in your 50’s ain’t so bad, you are simply getting older, but 60…well now that is a different number altogether! After all, everything is supposed to be downhill once you reach…shhhh 60.

Well I guess a lot of the rumors, innuendo, the fake or real news and even a few factoids depends upon who you talk to, what you read and what your mindset is about hitting that milestone.

For me it is a number that I have to pay attention to and now that I am here carries a little more weight, but it does not define who I am anymore than 59, 38 or 21 did — I am still me. Although my perspectives on life and what I consider important in my life has changed as I have aged.

Which is as it should be.

I do wonder at times how I even reached this grand number with some of the dumb shit I have done over the years, but I have and it is a lot better than the alternative – being dead.

Yeah, I have also become pretty damn blunt.

I have given up on dancing around the facts as they are or at least how I see things. What most other people think of me doesn’t matter all that much to me now. It is more important how a select few view me and how I view myself.

It took a long time to learn that lesson.

Also I don’t expect that on the day that I turn 60 that my body will fall apart or suddenly everything changes overnight – at least I hope it doesn’t :-). I have a feeling the way that I run the day before the I turned sixty, will be pretty much the same way that I run the day of my birthday and for a while after.

The big question is for how long?

The changes that will happen as I move into my 60’s are more insipid and incessant, sort of a speedy gradual (if that makes a bit of sense to anyone else but me), a diminishment that will become an out of control snowball at some point in my future.

It is just a question of when, not if. Although I do want to slow that snowball from getting too big too quickly.

Reaching 60 means that I have to work harder to maintain what I still have for as long as possible, because I sure as hell can’t stop the inevitable decline in both my physical and mental abilities that will occur as I continue to get older. All I can do is delay things within my control by continuing to run/exercise, eating a little better and living a good life where I get to smile a lot.

Enough dithering and blathering about turning 60. I have done enough of that over the past few days.

So what are my running ideas going forward?

Dream Big or is it Big Dream

“Everyone says to (whoever to hell “everyone” is) have a big arse scary as hell goal so that you don’t let what you think you can’t do, get in the way of what you actually could do.

Let’s see, become a world class and champion 5K masters runner in the 60 and older crowd.

Then reality bit me square in the arse and I woke up.

Yeah, I am not going to be an elite masters runner.

No, I am not limiting myself as a runnah, I am admitting the truth to myself that I don’t have the ability or mindset to make the sacrifices in my life that it would take to become one.

Okay, now that I have gotten that bit of silliness out of the way, what are my real thoughts about my running (notice I didn’t use that word “goals”), yeah ideas on where I want my running to go.

Run Consistently

I have had my share and maybe more of injuries, due to stoopidity on my part, thinking or believing that I am better than I am (attempting to train beyond my conditioning/abilities) and sometimes just plain bad luck. This year has really been a fairly consistent year for running with just some minor hiccups that have a more to do with equipment choices earlier in the year, than injuries that seems to have cleared itself up.

I want to be healthy enough to able to run between 30 and 50 miles a week (depending on where I am in whatever training cycle I am attempting) for the next 20 years or so.

Speed Kills

Focusing less on the speed side of running since it is going away and will continue to.  At the same time I know that I need focus more on working with the speed that remains – carefully.

Talk about some double-speak there!

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Back when I could get some air under the feet and a little bit of a longer stride than the old man shuffle. Back in the mid 80’s and shorty shorts were in style.

The legs might still be able to run sub 6:00 minute pace or faster for limited distances (I still seem to have a few fast twitch muscle fiber left from the glory days), but that doesn’t mean that I should be attempting to run that fast very often or all that far, especially since when I do, things tend to break, tear or hurt like a son of a bitch after I run that way. Plus the stamina for that kind of pace, just is not what it used to be.

Yeah, in other words stop worrying about breaking  20:00 minutes for a 5K or even 6:00 minute miles, those glory days are long gone and are simply memories now.

I need to focus on giving my best effort when I am racing and being satisfied with the time based on the effort I was able to give that day – based on the conditions, my conditioning, health and whatever is going on in my life that day. The times should get better for a while as I working hard on getting in better shape, but at some point there is going to be a slowing down in times for the same amount of effort.

It does kind of suck (a LOT actually and to be honest it has already started – what used to be a nice comfortable amount effort to run at a sub 7:00 minute pace is now about a 8:30 minute pace), but it is the way the aging process affects the old body. Also that attitude is a little more realistic and lot less stressful for an old fart to attempt, errr do, rather than always chasing a specific time goal that would only matter to me anyways.

I do know that I will enjoy the racing more without the artificial numbers to chase.

It doesn’t mean that I will always be satisfied with my effort though ;-).

Take Time to Smell the Roses

I know, a competitive kind of runner doesn’t stop and smell the roses, they just run their arses into the ground training and only smell the roses when they can’t move after a race or workout and are laying on the ground gasping for air, accidentally laying beside some roses.

Since I ain’t gonna be one of those Elite Masters Champions anytime soon and will have a hard time placing at most events in my age group locally, much less the open competition – it is time to let go of the hyper-competitiveness and start learning to enjoy running more.

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2014 Thomas College Terrier Trot 5K – one of those races where I got surprised when not too many others showed up

This will be one of the more difficult things for me.

Even though I am not a good or great runner, I am just a “little” competitive and know enough about running and myself that I get caught up in “if only I…and then I attempt to go out and do it, even though it puts me into stoopid land a little too often. Then I put loads of artificial pressure on myself and end up with all of that race anxiety shit that ruined so much of my running life.

Gotta be smahter, let it go and yeah, stop and smell the roses a lot more.

Technology

I gotta remember that technology is a tool to help me with my running and creating data points is not the reason that I run.

Running Shoes

Stay with the more traditional EE-width rounded toe shoes, so that I can run longer distances more comfortably. Pointy toe running shoes even in EE-width just don’t work and there are not too many D-width shoes that have worked too well either over the years.

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My left Achilles does better with a 10-12mm drop shoe versus the lower drop. Even though I do probably run a little better/smoother in the 4-6mm drop shoes, but they leave the Achilles way too sore afterwards.

The reality is that

As an aging runnah I think a lot about my running and what, where and how my running will be after 60. In that I have a feeling that I am pretty normal for a runner, not that runners are normal or that I want to be “normal” whatever to hell that is in today’s world.

Yes, I know intellectually that I will slow down, get injured more easily when I do stoopid stuff, take longer to heal things back up, but as much as I know that in my brain, sometimes it doesn’t seem to change how I try to do things.

Simply because I have a hard time doing things like the old fart I am becoming is supposed to do them – that not aging gracefully thing that I tend to overdo or is it overlook.

Talk about a dichotomy!

Oh well, let’s see where my adventures in running go as I get older and hopefully I don’t think too much my running – that is sometimes a big problem too. I really think that I need to focus more on just keep doing it and let go of the little things that really don’t matter anymore.

Turning 60 isn’t scary, but it is a complicated concept to wrap my head around, with so many conflicting ideas and feelings that I have about it.

Especially, the part where statistically speaking, I only have another 10-15 good years left, before things really turn to shit, but that is a different post for a little later.

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Yeah, a few more wrinkles and a lot more gray hair, but still some of that boy you saw in the first photo remains

Until then I plan to live well, keep on keeping on and smile a lot – after all Life IS good.

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Minions Meme screenshot from Facebook in December 2016