Well, I’m heading to the City of Champions this weekend to run the half marathon on Sunday. And I’m looking forward to the 13.1-mile self-directed tour of the city. I enjoy the crowds, noise and excitement.
I’m also thankful that I still have a good shot at doing this — and I guess just getting to the starting line is somewhat of an accomplishment given that two years ago I figured my long-distance running days were over because of a mutant nerve in my left foot.
The mutant nerve is still there. I’m reminded of it every time my foot hits the concrete. But hey. There are worse things. I could be locked in a room and be forced to watch repeats of the GOP debates. Just sayin’.
And I guess the long runs are a modest attempt to delay the realities of getting older — even as the runs become at more difficult and the times noticeably slower. [Note to self: No point wearing your running watch. It just adds unnecessary weight without serving any useful purpose.]
As a post-60 runner, I’m not alone. Here’s from the NYT:
Masters runners and, in particular, those 60 and older are the fastest-growing group in the sport, according to most statistics. A recent study of the New York City Marathon from 1980 to 2009, for example, found that “the percent of finishers younger than 40 years significantly decreased, while the percent of masters runners significantly increased for both males and females,” said Romuald Lepers, a professor of sports sciences at the University of Burgundy in France who, with his colleague Thomas Cattagni, conducted the study.
So I’ll be out there Sunday morning among the thousands of other runners for at least one more time.
And at around mile five we go past the Shamrock Inn on the North Side where my friend and college roommate Tom Kollar and I used to spend Sunday mornings years ago drinking beer and reviewing strategy prior to heading to Three Rivers Stadium (now defunct) for the Steelers game.
I’ll try to avoid the temptation to make a quick detour to the bar.