At my age there isn’t much to compete in athletically, except an occasional basketball or softball game , unless you consider golf athletic. As the years pass, it becomes less appealing to risk another pulled hamstring or lower back emergency.
Also, on the social scale my meter reads: hermit. I’d rather snuggle in with my Words with Friends (mindless escape from reality), British dramas (mindful escape from reality), and Facebook (passionate posting about reality) than make small talk about nonsense with people I don’t like. Team sports were great as a kid, but I prefer working out alone now.
So the beauty of running is this: I choose the time, the weather, the day, the clothing, the pace, the distance, the music, the ruminations. I do my best thinking while I sweat. I’m not particularly fast. I breathe heavy. I spit a lot. I forget to charge my headphones, so Zac Brown and Kidd Rock float along in my wake. I run with my rottweiler/doberman mix who has vitiligo alopecia, so she looks like a cross between an Australian sheepdog and an appaloosa gun dog. A few years ago I occasionally heard cat calls from passing cars. Now I get, “Hey, that’s a beautiful dog!”
It’s all good. I’m certainly not out to impress anyone. The point is that I get out. Running is refreshing exercise for both of us. I run to reduce stress, and so that I can eat cake and hamburgers and prime rib and cocktails. Every month or so I sign up for a local road race to keep me forcing myself out into the sun, cold, rain or, last winter, snow. Last year I began to run 5ks and 10ks. Then, on a whim, my daughter convinced me to run a half marathon with her. I found a training app that tells me exactly when to run and when to walk to build up endurance. I finished my first 13.1 last October in 2 hours 38 minutes, and I wasn’t the last to cross the finish line. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly tired and slow and heavy, I want to yell into the wind, “Hey, whaddya want from me, I’m 50!” and then I get passed by runners in their 70’s. I’ll keep plodding along; I see a slice of German chocolate on the horizon.