He could pass for a 62…

..in the dusk with the light behind him (with apologies to Angelina from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, for the minor adjustment of age and sex).

It has been a year in which I have become increasingly aware of my age. The minor infirmities that were a mild nuisance in my youth have emerged from the shadows like drab spoil-sport harpies clawing at me and attempting to either suffocate me or hobble me. I am grateful that I can still run and have even enjoyed a few sublime running moments during the year, but more often I have been struggling with my wheezy chest or the fragile aching connective tissues that barely hold my frame together. So I was quite amused by a trivial incident during my run this morning.

I had set out with no particular plan other than to run as the mood took me. The northerly air stream that has swept over Britain during the Christmas period had abated to a mild breeze and swung from north to east bringing air from Siberia rather than the North Pole. Nonetheless, it was still quite bracing, and despite my recent debilitating episode of flu, I felt reasonably frisky. After crossing to the opposite bank of the Trent and heading southwards to Beeston, I decided that I would continue onwards to Attenborough Nature Reserve, a gaggle of lakes formed from old gravel pits and laced with a network of delightful paths. The point where the riverside path enters the Reserve is about 8 Km from home, so I was committed to a run of around 20 Km even if I only did one of the shorter lakeside loops. I was still feeling quite lively as I approached a man of about my own age pushing a bicycle. I called out hello and he responded: ‘Great weather for a run, kid’. I am not sure whether the ‘kid’ was ironic, or merely an indication of his failing eyesight, but I decided to take it as a compliment, and continued on my way with renewed friskiness.

dalbeattiehrc20082

Here is a picture taken during the Hardrock Challenge a few months ago. It was taken about a kilometre from the finish; at the point where I had pushed myself into the anaerobic zone to break free from the pack with whom I had been running in the mid-stages of the race. It is unclear whether the etched lines on my face are the furrows of effort or merely the wrinkles of old age. That race was probably the high point of my running year. The challenge for next year will be to train hard enough to improve without injuring myself or becoming ill.

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2 Responses to “He could pass for a 62…”

  1. Andrew(AJH) Says:

    Definitely take it as a compliment! I would. No doubt you would be the very top of your age group as far as activity goes, and running better than many people in their 20s!

  2. Ewen Says:

    That’s fantastic! You were obviously running like a ‘kid’.

    Great photo too – definitely the ‘furrows of effort’.

    All the best for ’09 – I hope the various connective tissues do their job and allow for a memorable year of running and racing.

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