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Monday, July 23, 2012

Improving With Age

Photo from Google
Summer in Oregon is a runners paradise. Overcast skies and temps in the mid-sixties you could run forever.  Unless you are me.  I run one block and I'm done.  Then I walk and run another block and soon only walking.  Reading Runners World magazine I enjoy the personal stories of those who are addicted to the sport.  Their exercise routines sound brutal to the body yet they seem to thrive on it.
Peter Sagal photo from Google
Peter Sagal, a middle-aged marathoner wanted to improve his race time.  I understand that mind set because I like to push the envelope when confronted with age getting in the way.  It is uncharted territory because we have only a few senior athlete role models.  Is there a way for physical excellence to improve with age?

Not according to Professor Ray Fair at Yale University.  His studies show after the age of 35 everyone will see their best running time decrease by almost one percent per year.  But, Michael Joyner M.D. at the Mayo Clinic said, "Slowing the ravages of time is possible, but only with intense effort."

So Peter set out his new routine of a diet and training and in four months, wah-lah.  He accomplished his goal of getting faster while getting older.  At least for one marathon.  Will he want to continue is the question?   He admits he has lost his desire to train that hard again for now.  My theory is we do not get slower with age rather our desires change.  The intense effort to speed up may not satisfy as it once did.  Consider how one's sex drive transitions nicely over the years.  Instead of thinking or feeling a loss it is a natural change of focus to new and different passions that give us even more meaning and pleasure as we mature.

This transformation is just as thrilling and inspiring in my opinion.  It is how you choose to do it.  In Peter's words, "Time and age are not walls but fences, and fences can be jumped. "
Photo from Google
Does anyone have personal goals and fences they want to jump?   Are you your special project?  Or does it sound like more work than fun?  Is it possible you may improve with age in a special way?

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