Getting Older AND Faster! by Becky Mitchell
Even though my granddaughter has been successfully potty-trained for months now, she still euphorically announces “I DID IT!” after each completed event. That’s exactly how I feel after I cross any finish line at age 67. In spring 2016, I ran my fastest 5k and my fastest half marathon. Who knew that as I get older I would get faster?
So why do I along with most folks think 67 is kind of old when there are stories like “Senior Athletes: Going the Distance”? Ninety-year-old runner does 10-minute miles, another does 50 races a year, ninety-five-year old runs 15-minute mile. I’m thinking maybe running has no age limit! I may be lucky enough to accumulate many more miles along with many more years!
My Aunt Bobbie started running at age 60, so I did, too. She was 18 when I was born so not doing much running now but still active enough. While she completed many 5k’s, half marathons including Kansas City’s Hospital Hill, the Pike’s Peak Ascent (yeah, she did! Twice!), and the Des Moines Marathon when she was 70, she has challenged me to do a marathon by age 70. “I DID IT!” she said, “and you can, too!” I’m so inspired by her, so we’ll see!
The best advice I have received was to learn Chi Running. No more sore muscles, never out of breath, just joyful fun running. Really! I highly recommend. It’s very kind to your joints to run this way.
Then there are the friends I’ve made along the way of the running. My Age Groupies! Maggie Mooney and Colleen Kendrick are among the many runner girls I get to follow to the finish line! It is so fun to run into them at events and compare notes and really great when there are a bunch of ladies in the 65-69 group! Coming up next for me is the Trifest for MS Sprint Triathlon in Bentonville with 4 women competing in my age group. After that, I plan to do the Big Red Shoe 15K, the Bass Pro Half in November and, of course, the JMR Half in May, 2017, at age 68! As I cross each finish line at any speed, I will euphorically think to myself, “I DID IT!”
All these events and the training that goes into it have made running a spiritual thing for me. I’m so grateful each time I can go an extra mile or two, run the beautiful roads and trails in Joplin, rest up and go again another day.
Each race I complete feels like such a blessing. We have a thriving running community here in Joplin, Missouri, with several running groups, classes, more events added every year. It’s always exciting to feel the energy among the runners, seeing my running buddies and hearing the Star Spangled Banner before a race. I love that our 60-plus age group around here keeps growing, too! Runners are a very positive and encouraging group of people, and I enjoy being among them! It all seems to prove that running has no age limit!