Wednesday, November 11, 2015

If I could turn back time...


Pardon the swear. Can I say that word? I got called out a few years ago for saying "OMG". Some nasty woman told me I was "a little old" to say that. 

My husband had to restrain me.

Is it no wonder that I struggled mightily with turning 50?

It's not that I felt old. Three years later, I still don't feel old.

But it's the whole idea of being 50. What comes to mind when you think of a woman in her 50s? 60s? 70s? 

A marathoner? 



I didn't think so.

I do a lot to maintain my facade of youth. To keep myself fit and relatively injury free, I continue to work with my CrossFit coach as I have been for the past 2 1/2 years. That weight training has made me believe I've found some fountain of youth. I'm running as fast as I did in my 30s. Considering that the number of women in the 50-54 age group is substantially less than the 45-49 age group, my continued success on the road makes me feel great.

I do feel good. Great, in fact!

Sadly, society doesn't view a woman in her 50s as youthful. When I ran this year's Chicago marathon, a coworker told me I did well for "someone my age". Heck, I came in the top 36% of all women who ran the marathon! 

Any excuse to share a picture from this year's marathon, right?
Good for someone my age? Thanks for reminding me that I'm "old". 

A few weeks before the marathon, I received an email from Nike asking me to apply to be a Chicago marathon blogger. I was so excited about this potential opportunity until I read the criteria. Nike was looking for bloggers preferably in their 30s, although they would consider "others". FitFluential asks campaign applicants for their date of birth. When I wrote about ageism in social media, a couple fellow bloggers who are in their 50s commented that the only campaigns they were getting were for Poise pads. 

Yeah, because all of us old ladies are incontinent of urine. 



Not really. 

But besides the ageism that permeates our society, there is one other very large reality that is looming over me. No matter how young I feel and how well I'm running, I have to ask: how much longer am I going to be able to do this? Let's face it. I have 25 years of running on these legs. Can I continue to run marathons? Because I still have a lot of races on my bucket list! 

I'm hoping with continued smart training with Becky, incorporating weight training along with low mileage, that I'll be able to do at least one marathon per year. For how long? Who knows. But I need to make sure that I don't overdo it, like I so wanted to this fall after I ran Chicago. Instead, I took a week off to rest and recover, and have kept my miles low for the last 4 weeks. I've started running some longer runs on the weekends again, and hopefully get back to the box and work with Becky soon. I miss it and I need it!

July this year. Who's old?
I've still got Boston in my sights, although there won't be a BQ at Big Sur. That one is all about the experience. NYCM? Maybe. Another Chicago? AOG? Marcia? 

You know what scares me the most? There's still so much I want to do. 

And so little time.

How do you feel about getting older? Do you want to run races as you get older? Have you changed your training as a result of getting older? Pulled back on goals because of your age?

I'm linking this post up with DebRuns--she hosts Wednesday Word and this week's word is ageless. I like to think that I'm ageless, but I know better...I'm doing my best tho! How about you?










81 comments :

  1. My dear, you are indeed ageless. Age is like weight as a measure of health: you have to know exactly how much that number really is a clear illustration of your fitness and health. Otherwise, I know a lot of well muscled obese people. For some people, though, they need that number because they aren't pushing themselves to be beyond it!

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    1. I wish they'd stop reminding me about it! :p

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  2. I think you look phenomenal! I hope to be in your shape when I'm your age. Holy crap I'm not in as good as shape as you and I'm 15 years younger! I applaud you and think you set an excellent example of what I aspire to be. Age is a number and some people get way too into what it means. Blah be you! And I'm sorry your coworker is crappy...you ran a damn marathon! You ROCK!

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    1. Thank you! I hope to keep inspiring and pushing my limits. That's all I can ask!

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  3. First of all, please allow me to bitch slap your co-worker that said you did good for "someone your age". Ugh! You're an awesome woman and shame on society and others for trying to put you in an age box. Age is just a number!

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    1. Ahhh...people! How about just saying I did good? Seriously!

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  4. And what did this Co worker do? That's what I thought. You are a great example of good health at any age period. We need to do the best we can no matter what that number is. Aging is like experience you just do things smarter. Great post Wendy!! How much longer is Becky going to make you wait?

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    1. One more week! I get to go back next Thursday. But then the next Thursday is Thanksgiving...

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  5. Trying again . . . first off, anyone who finishes a marathon is a rock star in my book.

    I do want to keep running for the rest of my life, because heck, it'll take me that long to finish all 50 states. Luckily for me I'm an adult onset runner. :)

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    1. I don't think doing halfs will be a problem for me. But that marathon distance...ahhh...it's far!

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    2. @ Judy: "...adult onset runner." That is the best. May I co-opt? Starting at fifty-nine, I think I qualify!

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  6. The older I get the more I realize that 40, 50, 60.. it's not old! I have so many running friends and coworker friends who are a lot older than I am but it makes no difference. They are still rockin' it and we have so much in common and lots to talk about, even if we are 20+ years apart in age. I love having friends of all ages!

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    1. When I'm with my running friends, I don't feel any age difference! And when I'm with my high school friends, there's that love of all the life we've had together. It's a good place to be!

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  7. I'm so glad that I found your blog (pay attention Nike)! Congrats on your marathon! I too am 53 years old and feeling like I'm 20 years younger through running and lifting weights. It's sad that in today's society, staying fit is considered odd and extreme. Keep doing what makes you feel and looking so good!

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    1. Isn't it great how fitness makes us feel young! Truly, I feel like I did when I was in my 30s. Keep up the good work! And I'm glad you found me too!

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  8. Run less?. Pull back? Who me?? Nope. As I age, I do more. I set higher goals. I am in my 60's and can still PR. I'm not fast but as you age, you don't have to be as fast. That's the great thing about running. You can do it at your level. Create your own goals. I plan to run as long as I live.

    It really bothers me that every time I apply for something, they ask your age. Why does it matter? I wonder when I don't get ambassadorships, is it because I am 62? It makes me mad because I am healthier and more active than I was in my 30s.

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    1. You are another example of not letting your age stop you from doing what you want. I'm glad there are a few of us putting it out there! Let's keep crushing society's expectations of the aging runner!

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  9. I think you are AMAZING - full stop! And I think you will BQ! It is gonna happen!

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    1. Well, as long as I keep running and they keep dropping that BQ time!

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  10. It seems as if AOG has become my new middle name. Maybe the makers of Poise Pads will sponsor us to go run that.

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  11. I can only hope that I am half as bad ass as you in 20 years!

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  12. I'm definitely running (haha) away from aging. I'm running MORE AND MORE, mainly to reach a goal of 50by50. After that I plan to focus on FUN races that mean something to me. And hike more. And relax a little. I feel about what I think is 35? 50 is the new mid-30's!

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    1. One of my FB friends did 50k by 50. It was really fun to watch her do that!

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  13. Okay, your coworker had no right to make the comment that they did. You're an amazing woman, Wendy, and no matter how old somebody is they deserve to celebrate all of their accomplishments in all of their earned glory. Keep up your amazing work, and keep being you!

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    1. I'm pretty sure she meant it as a compliment! Funny how we do that...

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  14. Love this post! My friend and I talk about this all the time. We both look fairly young for our age (for now) and struggle with clothes. We always think "can we get away with wearing this?" of course we never choose anything riskay, but maybe just "younger" styles. We don't want people looking at us thinking "who does she think she is"?....lol. We still feel young!
    I too have been discriminated against for social media campaigns.

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    1. I finally bought some skinny jeans, thinking initially that I was too old to wear them, but they look nice--I'm over it!

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  15. Excuse the cursing, but you are just so bad @ss! You inspire me regularly with your cross training and running.
    There is something about that 5 # - I can't believe I have been around for a half a freaking century lol some days I laugh at it, some days not so much...

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    1. Isn't it the truth? Do you ever catch yourself saying--30 years ago, I did...and then reflect on how absurd it sounds?

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  16. My birthday is this week and I always feel really old around that time. I also realize that I am in way better shape than I was in my younger years. What scares me really is what happens when I can't keep this up anymore

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    1. Hopefully that won't happen for a very long long time!!!

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  17. Man, do I relate to this! I'm mid-forties and injury prone and every time I get injured I dwell on all the time I'm wasting and how little there is. I didn't start running until about 3 years ago so I already feel like I missed out on so much. I've been really working on more strength training lately - so hopefully I will start to go longer between injuries. You are definitely an inspiration!

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    1. The strength training was a game changer for me. I did a lot of research on running into "old age" and all signs pointed to weight training. It has been nothing short of amazing.

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  18. You are awesome! Age is just a number. I feel like I'm at the best shape I've ever been. I plan to run and hike well into my 90's. :) I really wish that campaigns did not care about age at all either.

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    1. I'd love to be that runner in my 80s or 90s! Who knows, right?

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  19. I feel the same about having so much I want to do and wondering if I'll have time to do it all! I'm 50 and have only been running and doing crossfit for a little over 2 years. My goal is to someday do a half ironman or even better, full ironman. But I'm worried that I started too late!

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    1. I don't think you started too late. Look at it this way, you are starting on fresh legs! You're smart tho, doing the CF along with the running!

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  20. I'm so glad I read this! I only just turned 40 and already am having thoughts like this. Some days I think I'm too old to be a blogger...or how many PRs do I have left...or when someone says something that stupid like "wow, that's a great finish for your age." I feel you!! You look great so just keep doing what you're doing and can I get an AMEN to strength training as we age? YES!

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    1. AMEN! The strength training has been a game changer for me!

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  21. Keep those goals... so much to do? Do it... no matter what.
    I always love those stories of people in their 70's, 80's - even 90's - doing marathons! They are my heroes!

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    1. Mine too! I get so much inspiration from them.

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  22. Yes, you and I are terrified of the same thing. I think that is what makes me try to cram so much into a year. How many do I have left I can do this? It's not that I feel old either. Age is more about an attitude, an outlook, instead of a number. WE ARE NOT OLD (repeat!).

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    1. WE ARE NOT OLD!

      I have never felt closer to you than I do right now! :p

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  23. One of the things I love about Mainly Marathons is that so many of the people doing it are in their 60s and 70s. It's living proof that I can keep going. Will I ever PR again - maybe (my PRs aren't that fast). Do I care? Not really. I want to just keep running for as long as I can. So, I'm working hard right now to strengthen the parts that have weakened so I can keep on going.

    And, BTW, you are amazing and should be proud of that.

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    1. That is so inspiring about Mainly Marathons! I love those stories. And then there was that woman in her 60s that I valiantly tried to catch last spring at my 10 miler. She was fast!

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  24. I love you refuse to let age define you. You laugh in it's face :-))
    Keep doing what you are doing and don't stop dreaming big. I think that is what keeps you young.

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  25. As long as I can continue to stand upright and put one foot in front of the other, I will continue to race, age be damned. Good for you for training smarter - that will keep you on your feet for years to come.

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    1. I hope so! Now if this damned PF would go away.

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  26. Top 36% in a world marathon major is phenomenal regardless of age. You definitely do rock! I'm still getting a PR here or there, and have had a stellar 2015, even though I'm 10 or more years past my "peak" running age. I always see room for improvement - getting trimmer, building more muscle, completing better workouts and racing smarter. I think being older makes me work harder to eke out every last drop of my training and running knowledge. Anyway, keep on trucking!

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    1. You are always so positive and encouraging! That means so much to me, especially when I look at your race times! Sounds like you are running smarter too!

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  27. You've got things to do, and you'll get them done. Heck, I wouldn't want to stand in your way! You go, BAMF!

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    1. I thought a person was supposed to mellow with age, but that isn't happening here!

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  28. love it! Age ain't nothing but a thing! You now we both are skidding across the finish line sideways holding a glass of wine! :)

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  29. Your memes crack me up! Bingo! I totally hear you on so many things to do. You have lots of years of competition ahead of you, but I totally understand the "so little time" thing. If marathons (or in my case long course triathlons) are the goal, you don't get too many per year.

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    1. BINGO. I say only one per year...I may end up with a fall marathon next year if the legs cooperate...

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  30. I struggle with getting older but have (almost) accepted it... a lot of it is mindset and I just keep telling myself that if I respect and treat my body well, it will do the same for me.

    BTW, I didn't know you were in your early fifties... you seriously look 10 years younger !

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    1. Well, thank you! I sure don't feel like I'm in my 50s! I agree with you about treating my body well. So far, it's treating me very well.

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  31. You look absolutely fabulous and I hope to be running marathons in 10-15 years...you are def my role model for that!

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  32. So enjoyed reading this and your pics are great. I started a running ( okay, my co-workers say my run is really a jog since I'm not fast) three years ago. I have a question though - sounds like you are deliberately limiting your miles. How much do you run in a week? I try to do 25-30 so I can always be ready to run a half. Is that reasonable in your opinion for someone 57?

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    1. I'm in recovery mode from my marathon right now. Since I have another marathon in April, I'm trying to behave myself and hold my miles down to about 20-22 per week. That's my base. It's been a month, and so I'm going to increase my miles on the weekends again. Like you, I always want to be ready to run a half! :P You're doing great!

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  33. I continuously have that conversation with myself... Just how much longer will I be able to run these kinds of miles? I made the drop about ten years ago from 50 miles per week to 40, then five years ago from 40 to 30-35. Now I'm wondering if I should drop it a little more... On the other hand, I'm "considering" entering the Chicago lottery, and if I get in train for a half, run the first half to 15 miles of the marathon and then run/walk the second half. I never ran Chicago during my prime, and I'd love to run it while my son and DIL live there. I wish my body felt as young and my mind does!

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I'm just going to keep going as long as my body will let me! I have to say that changing up my training from high miles to low miles and cross training was just about the best thing I could have done!

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  34. Ah.....so identify with this post.... and here is my big problem. I often find myself saying that when the kids are all out of the house(my youngest is in 4th grade so 8.5 years I guess), I'll have a lot more time to spend doing the things that I want to do like going to that yoga class that is during dinner time or taking more weekends away for various runs or retreats...but I do NOT want to do that. I know that when they are all out of the house I will be bawling my eyes out!

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    1. Seriously. It goes so fast! I have so much time now, and while I love doing all the things running, I miss the time I used to spend doing things with my boys!

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  35. OK. So. Here I go.... Don't block me from your blog or your life and I welcome all lash-backs. Sooooo, here is the thing, but you ARE getting old. We are ALL getting older. None of us will EVER do all we want to do and there WILL come a time when you will not be able to "keep this up". But in the meantime, why do we all have a problem with enjoying this, here and now, why not enjoy your vitality now and stop worrying about how you will preform in the future. What if you get Alzheimers and will not be able to even remember any of this? The fact that you are concerned about your vitality in the future is actually validating Nikes stance - because that's what they are worried about, your vitality. You are a friggin Rock Star, right here, right now. What is gonna happen in the future is everyone's guess, the only thing we can do is keep on keeping on as you are doing so very well at, my dear friend. Love you and GREAT food for thought post!

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    1. Haha! And I was worried that I sounded whiny...I am worried about my vitality in the future, what can I say? So my goal for now is to do what I can as long as I can. And that's enough for me!

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  36. Since I did not start running until I was 57, I can totally relate to this post. Like you, I love the AG awards, and also like to see how I compare among overall women in a race. At NYC Marathon, I was thrilled to be in the top 34% overall, not bad for a 61 year old runner! You will get that BQ, but Big Sur will be an awesome race for fun. One of the girls in my running group ran it this year and her photos were absolutely stunning. She did mention that the course was really tough, but I think you already knew that.

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    1. I'm looking forward to Big Sur---I know it's going to be tough but I'm running it with a friend and I think it's going to be a blast!

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  37. I think you're awesome and honestly you are more healthy and "alive" than those 30 somethings. I think that society isn't yet use to women in our age group continuing to compete and work hard at their fitness. However, think of the inspiration that you are giving to those younger women who are scared of aging and think life ends at 40! I love running with all ages. Keeps me in the loop with what's happening in their worlds and they seem to enjoy being with me and say I inspire them. Win Wins - all around! Older women ROCK!

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    1. I agree! I'm ready to keep on going! How about you?

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  38. My training is definitely changing as I get older so that I can work to prevent injuries. I too am trying not to overdo it. I am still very much young at heart though and no one can deny that. I think you are awesome!

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    1. I loved my training for both marathons--I loved that I didn't get injured after either one!

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  39. You are only as old as your feel right?! Girl, you are on fire and I hope that I can be in as great shape as you are when I hit 50! You are definitely someone that every woman should look up to. Keep on rocking it lady!

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    1. Oh my gosh, this just made my day! I hope to keep going as long as I can!

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  40. Age is just a number right? I think you are and look FABULOUS!!! And yes you did awesome at the Chicago Marathon.

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    1. Awww..thank you! I was happy with the marathon!

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