The Joy of Achieving a Personal Best Time!
One of the advantages of taking up serious running at an older age is that it is possible to achieve personal best times (PB’s) rather than the inevitable personal worst times (PW’s) of seasoned recreational and competitive runners. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is why it is more important as an older runner to compare your time with others using an age and gender adjusted formula. There are always exceptions of course. Veteran runner and friend, Maria (AKA ‘Mia’), ran the Paris marathon two years ago when she turned 60. She ran it in a personal best time of 3 hours 31 minutes and came third internationally in her age group. I am in awe! It was Maria who introduced me to Saturday morning interval training with Bruce Graham.
I can report with glee that my training over the past few months is starting to pay off. Especially the Saturday morning interval training with Bruce Graham. I was soooo happy today to run 10km (Mother’s Day Classic) in a time of 51:54. This was one minute and four seconds faster than my previous 10km event two weeks ago (The MS Fun Run) in a time of 52:59. This run was also a 33 second PB and so unexpected given some very hard hill and interval training in the preceding few days.
One of the things I have learned from Bruce apart from the importance of speed work in a controlled manner, is the warm up. I’ve always known this in theory (and emphasised it to clients) but only ever put it in practice myself in a half hearted matter. Possibly because I thought it appeared a bit pretentious for a novice runner like me to take it seriously. For the Mother’s Day Classic I did a similar warm up to our Saturday morning sessions with Bruce. I really feel this made a huge difference and I was able to pace myself without going out too hard in the beginning.
The good news is – according to the prediction calculator, with a 10km time under 52 minutes – it is possible I could run a marathon in under four hours. My next test will be the 28th of May when I will be running the YMCA half marathon. If I can achieve a time close to 1:55:00 then my goal will be even more achievable.
Marathon Goals aside – I am finding so much pleasure in running and am even prepared for cold, windy and rainy days ahead with all the right gear. While it is getting a little harder to get up at 5:15am for a 6am start on Wednesday mornings for my weekly 16-18km run with the Wednesday Westers, I always feel so glad I made the effort. Each week is a surprise, varying from brilliant blue skies and a glorious sunrise to eerie pockets of fog over the water and crisp frost underfoot. Even on those cold windy or rainy mornings (not too many so far) there is a sense of achievement in completing the circuit – and a sense of camaraderie that ‘we did it!’.
For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.
– George Sheehan was a Cardiologist and Philosopher who loved running and died of prostate cancer in 1993.