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RE: How do you feel at 35, 45, 55, 65???? Getting slower inevitable????
My experience may be different from many. Although I wasn't good enough to be an XC walk-on in my senior year of college (I'd only started training in my junior year), I kept at it after graduating and ran 5:02, 17:27, 35:49, several 10-milers just under 60 minutes, and a 2:53 marathon, all by age 25. That's nothing by LR standards, of course, but we do what we can do.

I quit racing in 1984, quit training in any kind of focused way, just jogged for 19 years. Then raced again in 2003 and got hooked. That was age 45. My times dropped steadily from that point through the end of 2009; that year I ran masters PRs for 10K (40:48), 10 miles (6:55 pace, whatever that is) and half marathon (1:31:93). Again, nothing to write home about by LR standards, but notable in one respect: I got stronger and faster every year between age 45 and 51.

Things slid downhill over the next 3-4 years, but this spring I managed to string together some decent training and ran 20:36 for 5K, which in age-graded terms is 17:09--faster than I ran as a 25-year old.

I've got a very bad big toe (arthritis from an old injury), tweaky hams--and now, recently, some achilles trouble and a little knee pain, which is not something I've ever had.

The WAVA age grading tables are a great help as you age; they help me know just how well I'm doing relative to past performances.

And heck: even with the pains of various sorts, I just love to run. It starts and ends there. And I love to compete. There's no feeling like the feeling of putting in the training and starting to get strong again. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world. Then somehow making it to the starting line, yet again, and kicking some ass. (I came in second overall at a recent very-small-town 5K.) What's not to like?

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