When runners sign up for my 1-on-1 coaching they first fill out a questionnaire that tells me all sorts of information. Even the way they fill it out, the number of words or the choice of nouns, verbs and adjectives clues me into their personality. But what I’m mostly interested in discovering is their past, present and future.
What kind of sports did they play when they were young? Have they always been active? What did their running programme look like last week? What’s their goal in the near (or far) future?
All this information tells me where they have been, where they are now and what they hope to achieve.
Lately I’ve gotten a lot of requests from runners that did really well in the past, took a break (planned or unplanned) and then decided to get back into running but can’t find that same groove that they had before. Nine out of ten times the problem lies in the age gap.
Yesterday I received an inquiry for a runner slightly younger than myself. Here’s an example of the past/present/future Q&A.
Past: What’s your marathon PR and when did you achieve it? Answer: 3:42:46 in 2006
Present: Give me your schedule from last week. Answer: Nothing, I’m not running at the moment.
Future: What’s your running goal? Answer: to run a marathon in 3:30:00.
It’s really hard to break it to someone that ten years have passed and they may not be able to achieve the same running times they were capable of in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. But now I have a better answer! I send them over to the Age Equivalent Running Results calculator over at Marathon Guide.
All you have to do is type in the distance and time you ran and how old you were at the time. I put my own marathon times in as an example.
I ran my best marathon time in Paris in 3:51:46 at age 38. Even now I get these nutty ideas of trying to train to get back to those times. Crazytown, I tell ya! It’s just not gonna happen. We mature, hormones change and even our running style and posture “evolve”.
The slowdown is natural but it shouldn’t discourage you. When I see that the equivalent time for a marathon for me today would be somewhere around 4:30:00 I’m a little more inspired to give it a try.
So go on, plug in some numbers and see what the results are. Then get on out there and have some fun by training with a touch of passion again.
I have to admit that before I turned 56 yesterday I was feeling a little bit Debbie Downer about the whole day. It wasn’t a number I was particularly excited about and I hadn’t yet picked out any special gift for myself so I had nothing to really look forward to.
But then I told myself to get my freaking head back into the right place. It was and is a privilege to be able to celebrate another year on Planet Earth. I love this place and I love my life so what is there not to be totally amped up and excited about? My new plan was to just go on with my day as usual and enjoy the simple moments as much as I could.
First up was my morning swim…
I’ve switched all my sport activities to the morning (more on that soon!) and yesterday when I arrived at 8AM. for my swim session there was an empty 50 metre lane. I had it all to myself for the full 2000 metres and considered this a very special birthday gift from the swimming Gods.
On with my day of regular work, phone calls and meal prep and then it was time to train my women’s running group.
A new woman showed up for the training so I gave the core group instructions on their workout and then started working with our new member. She’d never run before though she swims and walks for her general everyday errands. We did some fast walking inserting some running here and there and then I had her walk for one kilometre and then free style run for one kilometre. Her walking time was 9:30 and her Free Style run was 7:32.
Oh, by the way, she’s sixty-five years old.
She said she’d always wanted to try running since it looked like fun. “Better late than never…”
Indeed. I considered her my special birthday gift from the running Gods to remind me that I am still very young and to get moving on all those sports goals I have swimming in my head.
The evening was spent with my family, birthday cake-less. Our oven is on the blink so I told them I was happy to dive into my favorite ice cream store and let loose. Lots of ice cream and lots of laughing. It was the perfect 56th birthday party <3
After living so many months with the Mysterious Fever I’m feeling like myself again and let me tell you, it’s nothing short of a miracle. In addition to wonderful things like waking up rested in the morning and being able to think straight, I’m back to a normal training schedule. Sort of.
My sister invited me to stay at her house for the summer. She lives in Kaua’i. I don’t visit often because the trek to the other side of the planet is not easy to organize but with a few months to absorb the twelve hour time difference I decided to take the plunge.
Running here is not easy! If you run along the shoreline it can (sometimes) be pretty flat. Any other road you find besides the beach is either up or down at a 10% grade. But I make it work because I’m so happy just to be able to be out there! I power walk up the hills, I sprint down them… then do the reverse. I’ve added hiking trails to the mix which has really toned up my legs.
Last week I was still feeling a little off centre, like something was still missing and then I figured it out: I needed a training programme. So I sat like a complete idiot thinking for a good ten minutes before the thought popped into my head. “Why don’t you just sign up for your own 10k programme? It’s a freakin’ no brainer!”
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll start the 10K Course next Thursday July 21st with Warm up Weekend and then begin training on Monday July 25th.
As with all of our courses I’ll be keeping an online diary in our Forum. If you’ve ever thought about taking our 10k self paced course this could be a great time to do it. The more runners the merrier… I’d love to have some company!
You can sign up here for Up & Running’s 10k course to virtually train alongside Julia for your next 10k!
The symptoms that something was wrong had been a long time. For almost a year I didn’t quite feel like myself. My thinking was foggy, I was chronically tired, I couldn’t get a lot of enthusiasm going to run or train hard because… I was chronically tired and my thinking was foggy.
I blamed it on my broken arm accident.
I blamed it on my hypothyroid condition.
I blamed it on my advancing years.
Then I got a fever in February. “Here we go, it’s flu season!” Except I never catch the flu. But I convinced myself this year I had a compromised immune system, so it was only natural.
I woke up with another fever ten days later. I felt horrible and achy and as soon as the fever passed I tried to muster some energy to get myself out the door. It took a lot of effort and I promise you there was no joy in it.
When I came back from the States in April after a family funeral I had a fever again.
“You’re just stressed,” my husband said. But when a week later I had another fever that lasted twelve hours I knew something was wrong.
My doctor sent me to a special clinic where I was given blood tests and asked a lot of questions about my health habits. The tests didn’t show anything suspicious. Then they gave me a urine test and bingo, there it was.
An E.Coli bacterial infection with a million load count. Not thousands, millions.
I hadn’t taken an antibiotic in eighteen years so the minute that pill hit my system I felt instantly better. After a week I was back to normal.
I couldn’t believe that this year-long ordeal had been a bacterial infection because, I swear, I never felt a thing. But thinking back I remembered when it had started: the same week I broke my arm.
That first week in August the temperatures hovered around 100°F and when I got out of the hospital after my operation I could feel a slight cystitis coming on. I increased my water consumption and bought some concentrated cranberry to flush it out. I think the main problem was that compared to how bad my arm was hurting anything else paled in comparison.
But I never had lower abdomen aching or that cystitis feeling (most ladies know what I’m talking about…) so I didn’t give it another thought. I didn’t even suspect anything was wrong until the third fever six months later.
After a little research I now know that Urinary Tract Infections are more common in menopausal women due to the lowered estrogen levels in the vaginal area. I’ve also been told by various doctors and nurses that older women often don’t feel the symptoms of a UTI until a fever hits.
So, where do I go from here? I’m going to stay on top of the situation by getting a urine test every few months. Here in Italy you can go to a pharmacy to have it done for just $5 and that should give me some peace of mind. I am concentrating on keeping hydrated year round, a habit that seems to slip every once in awhile. I’ve started to take probiotics which should help keep my gut happy and fighting off overgrowing bacteria. Also, I’ll be eating more polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) which binds iron in urine and helps control bacterial growth. Since polyphenols can be found in black tea, coffee, chocolate, cranberry and blueberry juice I’ll totally be with that programme!
Most of all I look forward to running and training again throughout the summer. I’ll literally be starting from ground zero. It’s not the easiest place to start from but then again, it’s a great place to be as long as I’m feeling healthy again.
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