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Finding Faster at 51

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

It's possible.

Believe it. Believe it some more. Commit to it.

I began running in my mid- to late-thirties, as I was on a mission to enter the world of triathlon. I had a solid foundation in swimming from many years on swim team and lots of years in the saddle on the road and trails. Running was foreign to me. And frankly, unappealing. It simply looked uncomfortable.

Like many runners, much of my battle with running has been my head. Historically, I've been able to talk myself into firmly believing that I'm not a runner, nor will I ever be a runner. I've always seen myself as a swimmer and a cyclist — but certainly not a runner. My partner (and running coach) is a runner in every sense of the word. He ran a 2:59:57 at Boston in 2009. I've admired his running intelligence and ability for years. Even with all his encouraging words and insights, I still struggled with embracing (and even liking) running.

I've had a sporadic running career due to injuries, pursuits of higher education, and some times just a lack of interest. It's difficult to improve in a sport if you're inconsistent with it. My pace consistently remained between a 9:15-10:25 for many years and some times it was slower then that. I ran the 2009 Nike San Francisco HM with a pace of 11:46 at the age of 42.

On 11|28|2017, I had multiple running PRs with the fastest mile, 5k, and 4 miles I've ever run with a pace of 8:03. One of those miles was a 7:35!

How did this happen? I mean, really — I'm 51. I'm menopausal. I'm 'old'. I'm not a runner.

Here's what I know...

Goals: Set them. Dream about them. Commit to them. Latch on to them. I set a goal in the spring that I would run at a 8 minute mile pace by the end of 2017. I believed it and I committed to it with every fiber of my being... even after spraining my ankle on a run in late July and not running for 9 weeks.

Strength/Resistance Training & Core Work: I've been doing this consistently for 2 years. I believe that this part of my training has had the greatest impact on my running. I see my core as the foundation for the rest of my body and if my core is strong, then the rest of my body will thrive and be powerful.

Consistency: This is critical — and difficult to achieve. Whether it's running or strength/core work or swimming. You gotta do it over and over to get more proficient. To get faster. How do I know it comes down to consistency? I've been at this for 24 months and the gains have been extraordinary and steady.

"Don't be afraid to dream of achieving the impossible." - Shalane Flanagan

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