A long time ago I decided to embrace my 40s. You may as well - you can't roll back time. What has helped me embrace it even more, is being active. I didn't start running until my mid-40s. When I first transitioned from treadmill to outdoors I thought my shins were going to cave. "I can't do this," I thought. But I kept trying, met a few like-minded women who kept signing up for running events, and I was hooked. I think I am more fit now than I was in my 20s or 30s. Anyway, all of this got me to thinking about being 49. The first great thing about that, is come next year, there will be a lot of parties on the calendar. (Actually I need to plan one this year for my husband. Yikes!). The second thing, is that you get to revel in being on the cusp of a brand new list of "dos" and "do nots" if you follow certain fashion rules. In the new April issue of Chatelaine, for example, I learned that I have one more year left where I can dress like Amelia Earhart, (in "airy knits and silky dresses with this season's must-have: summer leather.") because if I were turning 50, I'd have to fashion myself after Meryl Streep's Isaac Dinesen in Out of Africa ("tailored pieces with soft separates, leather bag and belt with hardware details.").
So far, in the running magazines, I haven't noticed any age rules about fashion. I don't notice any rules at all about competition at running events, except for age categories of course. And this is what makes me excited about turning 50 next year. I am not going to wallow in self pity for being half a century. Hell, I am going to revel in it! For when that blessed date arrives, I will no longer be one of the oldest in my age category, I will be one of the babies! And the older you get, the less number of competitors in those age categories! I was so elated by this naive way of thinking until one of my running buddies pointed out, "Yes, but don't you find the older people get, the more competitive they are? Those women in their 50s, they're pretty serious about their sport, otherwise they wouldn't be running marathons in their 50s."
Good point. Although I am still running happily and naively towards 50 (pun intended) and not likely to get any more competitive than I am now (I compete against my own finishing times. Ok and I admit to occasionally peeking at my girlfriends' stats.), I thought, just for fun, I would look up last year's 30K Around the Bay race results to see the kind of times I will be up against.
First, let me note that I do not have any specific goal in mind for this race, other than finishing it. I have not run a marathon since 2010, and my longest run since then was yesterday at 25 km. Based on yesterday's time, I will be happy if I finish the Around the Bay in about 3:15. Last year, for my current age category, women 45-49, I would have competed against 531 others, with the fastest finisher clocking 2:11. If I was 50 last year, I would have been up against a mere 324 women, and to get top spot I would have had to beat a time of 2:21. Yeah, whatever.
I kept scrolling upwards in the age categories. Finally! I found the fiercely competitive athletes with whom I will likely be crossing the finish line this year! If these women return, (and they likely will, because they've probably been running since forever), I may just meet the likes of "Rona," in the age 65-69 category, who came in third out of seven for her age group at 3:15, or "Luanne," who took top honours in the 70-79 age group (out of three) with a time of 3:16.
Ladies, I bow to you! I am but young and s-l-o-w with so many miles to go.
(I wonder if I should let them know they should be dressing like Katharine Hepburn....)