Monday, July 27, 2009

Running under the radar

Two things about age group running, especially after turning 50: First, where did every one go? Second, with the exception of fellow age groupers, no one cares.
With a sport like running, it gets more difficult to keep going past mid-30s. Injuries, illnesses, life happenings, weight gain, or other priorities all take their toll. Depending where you live, masters competition into the 40s can be fairly stiff, but by late 40s the number of competitors and proportion of competitive times drops off considerably.

With nearly two seasons of 50+ age group competition, not a single loss, a bevy of course and some state records, and some top 10 national rankings (mile, 3000, 5000 m on the track and 5k and 10K on the roads), I’m lurking in a no-man’s land: an aging unknown runner. Been placing well at the local races, but not in the top 3 very often. Unseen, except for those in my age class.

Anyway, I did the 1500 and 3000 at the Alaska International Senior Games on Saturday under smoky skies and with a dozen or so friendly senior competitors. I ran 4:44.9 in the 1500, 22 seconds faster than the previous best for the meet, and 10:11.7 in the 3000, a record by 50 seconds. The 1500 seemed to go fine until the final 150 meters when I really tied up. I was at 3:46 for 1200 but locked up and ran the final 300 in 58.

The 3000 was kind of the opposite. I felt awful for the first 1600, and came through in 5:32 (83/lap). But each lap was faster than the previous, and I was sub 80 by the end. The plan is to run the Senior Games road 5K on Wednesday, on the Chena River Run course. This isn’t the fastest course, the weather hasn’t been great (80s and smoky), and I won’t have anybody to chase, so an age group personal best will be tough to get. My goal is run a personal best for the Chena course (17:27), which I'm pretty sure would be another AK Senior Games record. It will also be fun to run the course with 12 competitors instead of 1,200.


Blogger portrpedigree said...


Was interested in your notes. I'm 52 and have some what similar prs although with a shorter distance profile - 800m, 1-57.5, 1500m 4:02; 3k 8:45; 5k 15:22; and 10k 32:22.

These days I mostly run 5k road races and had a best of 17:38 (solo run in a weakly contest local race, although course was certified).

This year I've some how gone right off the boil after running 23:45 on a stiff 4 mile course in April. Was doing a program similar to yours, but with a lot less milage.

I'm a bit different in that I can run 6x1000m with 2:45 recovery way faster than race pace (17;22 pace best average this year), and feel comfortable doing lactate threshold at 6 min. per mile for 4 mile. I've also been doing 5 x 3min at 5:20 pace (vVo2 pace) with 3 min recovery.

However, I only do about 25 to 30 miles per week. Long run is 45 min to an hour (legs would be pretty dead toward end) and the others are 20 min recovery jogs.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

Interesting portpedigree. Our PRs are similar but on somewhat different curves. Perhaps you have a greater lactate tolerance, which helps explains your faster 800, and ability to run 17:30s on 20-30 miles per week. I've done moderate-low mileage training, but my performance drops way off below about 40 miles/week.

7:32 AM  

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