I don’t talk about this often, but its time I face the facts. I’m 46 years old. My mind thinks my body still functions the same, uses fuel the same way, and maintains fitness the same as my 30-year-old self. However, truth be told, for the past year or so, my body says something different.
I run slower.
I have a harder time maintaining muscle.
Even though I maintain the same clean diet, I tend to gain a few pounds a bit easier than before.
I have cellulite
My blood pressure regulates my body temperature differently
Here is the thing, this is kind of freaking me out. I don’t want to lose the strength gains I have made over the years, and I’m not ok with getting slower on my runs. I get frustrated with my body reacting this way. Yes, I realize it’s part of life, but it sucks.
In all honesty, when I see other runners my age, still looking strong and meeting racing goals I get a little envious. Not in a way where I am jealous of their accomplishments, but I become less confident of my own. Funny thing..I consider myself a pretty confident gal, but understanding myself and my abilities as a masters runner is a new challenge to overcome.
Since I struggled with how to accept these changes, I wasn't comfortable speaking to others about it. So, I did what others do. I searched the interwebs hoping to find the motivation and tips I need from other masters runners…but no luck?!?! Yes, there are general comments about how to run while your body changes with age, or how to incorporate fitness and/or running at later stages of life. Funny though, no discussion, no details on how to make adjustments (both physically and mentally) to training as a female athlete over the age of 45.
So now what? Give up running…hahahaha as if that would happen. I still have goals. I realize I may have to train a little more creatively, mix up my nutrition to make sure I give my “new” body the type of fuel it needs, rest and recover a bit more, and maybe even adjust my goals to a new type of challenge.
When I am on the trails, climbing peaks and running the ridges my goal is to feel strong. Strong enough to reach heights and run the miles it takes to accomplish goals. I am a goal oriented person, I plan my seasons around what running goals I can meet and train in order to accomplish them. The work to get there isn’t always pretty, glamorous or what “athletes” may be perceived to look like. The outward appearance doesn’t matter to me, what does is the accomplishment of completing the task I set out to do, and putting in the work that allows me to enjoy the experience.
This training season will no doubt require quite a bit of learning; possibly working a bit harder, in more creative ways, accepting new methods of training (such as more strength/mobility work, more specific nutrition and weekly yoga to work the mind.) Not only do I seek to find the answers to my questions on being a female masters runner, but to share those ideas with others, in hopes that others come out of the shadows into their running ability.
I don’t have all the answers on how I will do this just yet, but I do I have a secret weapon…My powersuit. Sally Bergesen wrote an enlightening blog post and gave a beautiful talk at the Muse Women’s Conference this past weekend. Her talk discussed how apparel can give us the mental edge.
When I am out on the trails, I bring the gear I need to get me through the day, this includes fuel, hydration, even a buff to wipe away the salty sweat. More importantly I wear clothes and sometimes my Oiselle singlet that empower me. They don’t empower me to create an appearance, they empower me with their ability to function, their ability to breathe, allowing me the space to do the work. I have no doubt when I put on my power suit I can make it through a training day, one step closer to the finish line.
I hope you stick around for the ride as I find new ways to Run Fierce and Live Fit.