Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Older as an Ulrarunner

Conventional wisdom tells us that ultrarunners are an older crowd. I suppose this makes sense if I assume that my genesis is typical. I started with short road races (5K, 5M); progressed up thru 10K and 10M to the half marathon; then heeded the siren song of the marathon and ran a bunch of them.

Then I began to realize how road racing beats up your body. Also about then I experimented with and succumbed to the lure of the trail when personal records at these road distances became increasingly tougher to come by.

Cue the celestial choir singing the Halleluiah Chorus as I became illuminated.

All this takes time, decades perhaps, so if it is true that ultrarunners on average are older, that'd be why. Being a scientist at heart, though, I would like to see the empirical demographics before I just accept the "ultrarunners are older" thing as a given.

Anyway, since I'm over 50 I joined AARP, which stands for American Association of Retired People (I think), and I get their monthly magazine. Turns out they have an annual conference with speakers, travel expo, etc., and also have featured entertainment. For this year's conference in Orlando FL in September 2010, the featured entertainment is Crosby, Stills & Nash. Plus Judy Collins and Richie Havens.

Sounds like a venue straight out of Woodstock in 1969, doesn't it? And since at least Crosby, Stills & Nash were some of the original American protest musicians during the Vietnam war, it seems sort of ironic in a way that they are now sponsored by AARP.

Or maybe not...it just may be the natural order of things. After all, I don't have any prior experience at the protocols of growing old and CS&N probably don't either.

The one constant is that I just continue to love ultrarunning.

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