Training this week has brought a great deal of reflection. I have navigated age, travel and my average (at best) fitness level. I suppose that is the trick of the whole training thing, especially at 41. (If fighting a cold was last week’s challenge, then this week was about training within limits.) I ran three times and practiced yoga twice. Four weeks after registering for the Flying Pig, 3 months before race day, I just keep going.
I sometimes run in the gym at the University of Cincinnati. I run around the indoor track that is surrounded by windows and supported by spongy suspension. It is a great place to train. (If I can’t run outside, the track works.) I go to the gym after work. Around 5:30, most of the people at the gym are undergrads. Most of the people are in 21-year-old-I-work-out-daily-shape. Most of the people who run on the track are fast. (I seem to putter along behind the traffic flow.) Looking at the crowd provides a reality check. I don’t want to be 21 again. I don’t run fast. I don’t stay up at night wishing I had six pack abs (though maybe that would be nice). As I trot around the track, I think about Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, and Katie Couric – women who hit their stride after 40. My 41 year-old joints are thankful for the forgiving track, the warmth of the gym, and my 12-minute mile.
I ran outside last week and passed a group training for the Flying Pig. The group is organized by a local running store. A hundred or so people train with the group. I trained with the group for a month or so a few years ago. I stopped training with the group when I could not find a niche. The lack of fit was partly because I did not have a group within the group (most people who were training with friends). Also, I was out of shape and did not want to confront that reality. I felt a bit defeated when I left the group. When I saw the group the other day questions immediately surfaced. Did I want to start training with the group again? Wouldn’t it be fun to have a group work train with and run on race day? Aren’t I in better shape now then I was back then? All those questions floated around in my mind as we smiled and acknowledged each other. I have to make the group decision very soon.
I traveled to Washington, DC last weekend. That complicated my training schedule. Travel makes training hard. Travel changes routine. I only ran once when on the road (and that was only 30 minutes on an elliptical machine). I had my shoes and the best intentions to run everyday. That did not happen. Weekends are my long runs, and I did not have a long run last weekend. This week, I am back on the training horse. I have a work trip scheduled for next week. I will make sure to do a better job then.