Like last year at this time I'm training for Boston. Though I hope to run the marathon in April, I'm actually focused on a indoor mile race next month at the Boston Indoor Games.
After neglecting my "real" speed over the last few years its been a challenge trying to turn the muscles from plastic back to rubber. At my age I've found that the muscles fuse together much faster than they stretch back - that is if they ever do.
Pushing back against the ravages of time is a constant battle. Whether it's a runner trying to fight
against a reduced VO2 and hardening muscles or an old man trying to drive down the road without backing up the traffic behind him. Although I sometimes find the turn signal flashing while I'm driving a straight line, hopefully I can keep producing good running results as well as hang onto my drivers license until I reach 100.
The pressure of racing a mile at a big meet has been good for forcing me into going back to basics. Left to my own devices I'd much rather do tempo and long runs while prepping for the next marathon. Running fast at my age hurts! Risk is high, payoff low for runners nearing 50 who try to run the races young runners are better attuned to. Right now its been a tight rope of stressing my system enough to progress, while at the same time not getting injured. Gimli, in Lord of the Rings, probably put it best in describing an aging runners dilemma of training fast.
"Certainty of death, small chance of success... What are we waiting for?"
So far so good although copious amounts of massage therapy has been crucial in keeping my muscles from imploding. Little by little the drills have become smoother, my knees are rising higher and I can actually tell that I'm running smoother instead of looking like I'm flailing against a 50 mph headwind.
Two weeks to go and a few more speed sessions left. According to Schopenhauer I should be really be moving by then.
"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed."