I ran in my church’s 5K last weekend and had a decent time (23:26).  That was good enough to win my age group… I’m not sure how many people were in my age group, but I know there were at least three because a friend of mine won 3rd

I started running with regularity four years ago.  During the first two years, my times improved in each race.  I thought this running thing was easy – you just keep running and you get faster.  I was essentially following the Forrest Gump training regimen.  My times kept getting better until this very same race two years ago, when I ran a 21:52… and I haven’t broken 23 minutes since.

I was a little frustrated last year when my time took a u-turn and I got slower.  What’s this?  I didn’t get faster!  How can this be?  So even though I wasn’t anywhere near my personal best, at least I didn’t get slower this year and for some reason I was content with that.  Is that what I’ve come to – damage control?  Am I resigning to look back on my past as my glory years and be content with getting older and slower?

Since I started running, I had a goal of running a sub-20 minute 5K.  With each passing year, the probability of me doing so diminishes.  As I age, I’m starting to accept that there are some things that I may never accomplish.  That’s hard for me to admit.  Maybe with age I’m getting wiser… or more lethargic.

I know this isn’t very motivating so far.  What I’m basically saying is give up on your dreams because you might not be able achieve them… well, not exactly.  Instead, what I want to say is rather than give up on your goals, you need to have the right ones.  When we’re young, we’re invincible and can do anything (or at least that’s what we think).  Add a healthy dose of realty in the form of kids, taxes, bills, a career, and aching joints and we start to realize a few limitations.  Sometimes those limitations are just mental barriers that we have to break through, but at other times they are wakeup calls reminding us to train our focus on the right thing.  If you try to do everything, you probably won’t achieve anything.

Could I run a sub-20 minute 5K?  Probably, but that would require several more hours of training per week, which would take away from time at home, limit my availability for helping with homework,  interfere with responsibilities outside the home, and leave me even more exhausted each night than I already am.  Would it be worth it?  I guess I’ll never find out because I’m not willing to sacrifice the important stuff just so I can run a little faster.

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