Sunday, 4 July 2010
Accepting the inevitable.
Not surprisingly a lot of sales reps and tech reps employed by our shoe suppliers are runners. Several have families and what with all the travelling they have to do often find it very difficult to maintain the high standards of performance which perhaps helped them get the job in the first place.
One of the lads bringing his wares to the office last week was talking about "making a comeback". With a 10K best of 29.36 in 2005 he said he "wasn't hoping for much......probably 32 something" (!) I said he should be happy with that but he shrugged and said, "Um. I'm not sure"
Many "top runners" of course just cannot take a decline in standards. Whether it be because of injury or just getting older, they can't handle the slide DOWN the ladder and give up racing altogether. I've seen so many "finish at the top" when still capable of times which 99% of runners would love to run. They have their head in the clouds if they think PBs continue to come year after year, they don't. A fair few drift onto the fells where times are less of a measure.
I know of several who refuse to even acccept that they have reached veteran (masters) status even though well into their forties. I watched the Northern cross country one year and said to an experienced finisher that I thought he was first vet to finish. He gave me a scornful look, showing me his high scoring finishing position disc. First vet was no consolation as far as he was concerned.
Some years ago I spoke to another local runner who resented being called a "vet" despite having turned 50(!). When I pointed out to him that the World Masters track championships were in England later that year and that he had a chance of winning the M50 steeplechase, he said "maybe....." He put his prejudice aside, entered, ran it and became a World Champion!
I was only a county level runner at best. OK, I won a couple of local marathons and a few local halves but I
didn't reach the top rung of the ladder and so I think it proved easier to accept the slide.
Other than those coming to running from say cycling, football or squash or those returning to running in later years the majority of us diehards have to accept the inevitable that we will slow down. Category placings become a key element of race evaluation; but one other "consolation" is age adjusted race times............I'll do some calculations and get back to you!