Monday, August 31, 2015

It All Fades!

Once upon a time, years ago, I was a highly competitive, and slightly successful, loooooong distance runner.  I must necessarily put the emphasis on the looooong, because I was slow.  My all-time best marathon was a 2:34 which I ran a couple of times.  I won maybe three marathons in my career.  I won two 50-mile (80km) races at a much better time, typically 6:14:+.  One of the 50-mile wins was labeled by "Runner's World" as a "National Championship" but really wasn't in my view; the other win, not labeled such was very close to a genuine championship was the JFK 50-Miler.

Whenever I speak to coaches, I give a one-sentence statement about my running success, then I complain that, had I had a better coach, I could have done much better...whereupon I show a picture of my coach - me.  I really did pursue a bad training strategy and basically succeeded only because of the gifts G^d provided, plus a lot of long slow running.

It is hard for me to get excited about competing any more, because my race time is now slower than my per-mile running pace for 50 miles in my heyday.  I can likely win my age-group in some races these days, but what's the point?

I tell this sad tale thinking of my many young friends who have fallen in love with running or weight lifting, or some such.

"This too shall pass."

Yes, enjoy the strength of your youth, because it will fade away.  Some of my young friends seem to be putting a LOT of their eggs in this exercise basket.  Exercise is good, I highly recommend it, and have made my living in Exercise Science for many years. But exercise capacity passes, and all too soon.  You young folks with running success- this too will pass.  One day, in not very many years, your training capacity will fade and your times will slow.

I think G^d does this on purpose.  Our aging is a gentle, persistent, and constant reminder that we are NOT permanent.  We will be, one day, dead.  Not trying to be morbid here, just a warning to all.

This too shall pass.  One day, and it comes quickly, too quickly... so shall we.

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