"The difference between the front and the back of the pack tends to widen in older age groups, and often the vastly superior winners of older age-groups ran fast enough to be competitive in age groups younger than their own--clearly able to maintain their incredible speed through training, talent, or some other means of resistance to aging."This is something I've noticed at races as I've moved into the 50-54 age group. The women at the top of the leaderboard are still amazingly fast. At first I was shocked at how fast some women my age are. I can't help but wonder why? Is it genetics? Training? Diet? Webb tries to sort some of this out. She talks about the importance of sleep and diet in the older athlete. While younger athletes can skip a night of sleep and still run well, can feast on junk food and not have it affect performance, the same does not hold true for the older athlete. I also liked her information on carb loading, which essentially is bad advice for female endurance athletes. Apparently, we don't burn fuel like men do. Interesting! And she also stresses the importance of cross training, including yoga, which is so good for runners.
|The iron nun, Sister Madonna Buder, age 83, one of the women featured in the book. She has completed 300 triathlons and 45 Ironmans since taking up running at age 48! She qualified for Boston with her first marathon at age 52. What's your excuse?|
"A lot of research now shows that training--aerobic, anaerobic, and strength--has effects on the human body at any age. At any age, you can improve the human body. Exercise can literally keep you young. "Now this is good news!! Apparently all this exercise causes the release of growth hormone--which, used extrinsically, is a banned substance--and that may very well be the fountain of youth. Hey, works for me!
Webb outlines her race strategy in great detail, including the use of mantras or power words, in her case, one word for each loop of her race:
"fun, stronger, faster, and fearless"And while I won't share the outcome of her race in this review, I can attest to the power of positive thinking and the use of mantras during a race. During my Chicago marathon, I pulled out my mantra a few times: "I can and I will!", as well as listening to music with motivating lyrics. I still smile to myself when Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name Of comes on during a run. That song reminds me of how hard I pushed those last 3 miles of the marathon, when my hamstrings wanted to quit but the song's lyrics--"f-no, I won't do what you told me"--kept repeating themselves over and over like a mantra...that and Becky's threat of having to do 10 burpees with every negative thought...I LOL'd every.damn.time.
The importance of bonding with other racers, particularly pre-race:
"For women, this prerace hug fest may be a potent secret weapon, as social bonding can release the hormone oxytocin, which has been credited with reducing fear, anxiety, and even inflammation"I completely agree with this--on marathon day, I met some women on the train ride down to the starting line, my friend Penny found me before the race and hugged me (sending loads of oxytocin flowing through my veins), and my medical assistant Zuly was at mile 14 with more hugs that sent me zipping along the course.
|Penny and me pre marathon. Oxytocin for all!|
"But an important lesson I have learned from my running career: While we can't control the outcome of a race, we can control the effort we put into it, and its important to celebrate that effort, and to celebrate ourselves."Even a race that we don't do well at--for example, my Zooma half marathon--was a favorite for me because I knew I did the best I could and the sisterhood of my friends and the woman who got me across the finish line made it a memorable experience.
Follow Margaret on her blog: http://margaretwebb.com/
I'm linking this blog post up with Tuesdays on the Run: MCM mama runs, Run the Great Wide Somewhere, and My No Guilt Life. Go see what inspires everyone else!