Thursday, February 12, 2015


"Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going."
~ Sam Levenson

Today, I am a Master.  In our culture, you better be really damn good at something to call yourself a master.  At this point in my life, I do lots of things and I do some of them pretty well, but I can't honestly give myself the 'master' title in any of them without sounding incredibly conceited or like a total moron.  I am not a master chef or a master sensei (although it would be really cool to be both of those things), and I am far from a master parent (is there such a thing??) but I am, officially, a Master runner.  Turns out, all you have to do to give yourself this title is turn 40.  That was easy.  In racing, the master runners, specifically those who are 40+, have their own, oft-celebrated category, sometimes entitling them to new and different perks ie. a separate start or special awards.  The thing is, while I appreciate the title and I do love to be able to call myself a Master at something, (who wouldn't?) my ability as a runner is not much different than it was at age 39.  In fact, I'm probably stronger and more dedicated now than I've ever been, excluding college.  Running happens to be one of those rare sports where people often peak later in life and many are still improving and competing well into their golden years.  I, myself, started running marathons back in 2007, at age 32.  I rolled, er um...crawled across the finish line of my first in 3 hours and 39 minutes.  Despite how I felt (awful), I was thrilled with that time and over the moon about the whole experience.

Baystate Marathon, 2007
Mile 18

(it's hard to put in words the pain I was in)
Last year, I finished my 10th marathon at age 39 in 3 hours and 11 minutes with a smile on my face, to boot.   Sure, I've been training harder and smarter, I now have a coach, and I'm significantly more committed to the sport than I was back than but still 8 years older is, well, 8 years.

Mohawk Hudson Marathon, 2014
Finish Line

(yep, I was giddy.  Tired, but giddy)
Haile Gebrselassie, one of the most celebrated distance runners of our time, once said "age for me is just a number."  Amen to that.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't feel quite as spritely in the morning these days and that I need an extra day or two to recover from a long run or a hard workout.  But, that said, I do feel pretty chipper on a regular basis and I almost always get a little spring in my step every time I'm headed out for a run.  Those feelings have been with me since my teens and I'm guessing (hoping) they will never change.  I was pretty fired up to get the latest issue of Running Times with Jen Rhines on the cover, a Master runner who, according to the headline, is finding "new competitive fire at age 40".  In fact, the entire issue is dedicated to us "older" runners who are working to "master our years" from this point forward.  True, we may be slowing down and our bodies may be changing, but our successes can be measured by so many other things at this point in our lives.  I know mine are.  And really, what it comes down to is this, if I am still finding joy in running at this stage in my life, then who the hell cares how old I am?  So, yes, today I am 40.  And I am a Master.  And that is awesome.

Listen to this:
Rollin' On - Royal Tongues

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