In 2009, I turned 40 years old. In 2009, I ran my first organized 5K. This is what is called a positive correlation. The older I get, the more I need to run. During this first frigid affair, I ran with a friend, who at 24, was also running his first 5K. He crossed the finish line about 2 minutes ahead of me. I was pleased.
After the race, the race winners were announced. My friend took home a third place medal in his age group, whereas I finished 7th in my age group. He gloated a bit, having reached the podium on his first try, but I was content to check how I fared against the rest of my peers. It turns out I crossed the line ahead of 8 others my age, and I felt good. It fed the little competitive demon inside of me. My friend saw me, and followed suit. It turns out he managed to finish third in a group of three. It took a little of the wind out of his sails, but my point is not to deflate my friend’s accomplishments.
I recently turned 43. This birthday had a special meaning for me and my loved ones.
On my 43rd birthday “eve”, while sitting on my couch, I decided to celebrate. I initiated and ran the inaugural Ken’s 43rd Birthday Eve Still Runnin’ Extravaganza Anywhere5K. This run had one entrant. It followed my usual course—past Missy, the old gray mutt holding court in her front yard, up a two-tenth mile hill, through back streets where kids played tag, and down a long curve back to my home. And then running the circuit two more times until I strode across the finish line on the good side of the 30-minute mark. I won.
Starting a running program, especially for the “over 40″ crowd, can be daunting. Actually, it can be downright painful. We have a mile-long list of things to do and little time to complete it. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to find the time.
Below are five tips that may help you on your way to better health.
Just to be clear, I don’t run–I jog. When I lace up my shoes, I do so in the spirit of survival, not competition. I turned 40 a few years back, and like many men my age, I panicked. If you don’t believe me, just look at the results of any local 5K. The age groups really begin to stack up around 40 and above.
Don’t be fooled, though. There are many fast and talented runners in the Master’s (euphemism for ‘old’) Class. It is just that I am not, nor do I ever want to be, one of them. I am more concerned with my heart rate than my ‘splits’. I check my blood pressure, not my stopwatch.