The resonating words of the Steve Miller Band’s song, “Fly Like An Eagle,” echo in my mind, repeatedly playing its unforgettable hook: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” It’s not haunting; instead, it serves as a reminder that the end of this year marks my 50th birthday—a milestone that carries deeper significance for me. What you may not know is that my father passed away just one week before reaching this very age. December is approaching, and with it comes contemplation about surpassing my father’s lifespan. In addition, I wonder what conquering endurance sports at 50 looks like.
Curiously, you may wonder, what does this have to do with endurance sports and starting over?
Conquering Endurance Sports at 50: A Paradigm Shift in My Approach
Well, turning 50 signifies a shift in my approach to endurance sports. When I first delved into this realm, I was a youthful 34-year-old, venturing into my initial training plan for a half-marathon. At that time, I possessed a sense of invincibility, unaware of the vast expanse of knowledge I had yet to acquire. Training hard and recovering swiftly seemed effortless, almost second nature.
However, my present reality paints a different picture. Training demands specificity and ample recovery time. No longer can I run out the door, figuring things out on the go. Crafting a well-thought-out plan takes more time, but it gives me the ability to continue this journey for another 16 years.
A New Beginning
For me, turning 50 does not signify an end; rather, it marks a new beginning. Hence, I find myself writing a second installment of “How It All Started.”
Over the past two years, I haven’t dedicated as much time to training or racing as I did before. Life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, including the launch of this business, Run Tri Bike. While I don’t obsess over the business, it occupies my thoughts frequently, sometimes at the expense of training and racing. This realization leads me to start anew.
Just yesterday, I registered for a race, consciously opting for the 25k distance instead of the 50k. Although I possess the ability to tackle the longer distance, I choose to prioritize my smarts. Opting for the shorter distance allows me to be kinder to myself during training. Gone are the days of fretting over four-hour runs; instead, I can focus on two to three hours and confidently prepare for the 15-ish miles.
I Will Still Compete
Make no mistake—turning 50 doesn’t dampen my desire to compete. Fifty-mile races, 100-mile races, or even 70.3/140.6 Triathlons are not off the table. However, I’ve grown wiser in discerning what truly matters to me and identifying my reasons for racing and training.
The decision to run the 25k comes from the consideration of available training time. In the past, I would have sacrificed so much to fit in extensive training sessions, but that’s no longer a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I yearn to compete, but relying solely on my physical prowess is a thing of the past. Understanding the time I have at my disposal enables me to strike a balance between training and showcasing my abilities on race day.
Furthermore, I’ve discovered a newfound interest in other events. Previously, I wrote an article emphasizing that I’m not just an ultra-runner or triathlete, but an endurance athlete. That idea resonates even stronger today, leading me to opt for a 25k race—a challenge that will tap into different talents and abilities, propelling me across the finish line.
Embracing What Comes My Way
As the pages of the calendar fall toward the ground and time keeps on slipping into the future, I refuse to be hindered by age or any other constraint. On the contrary, I wholeheartedly embrace the opportunities I’m willing to pursue, giving my absolute best to each idea as well as event.
Undoubtedly, training and racing will assume different forms, but they will never diminish in significance. Instead, I become more discerning in the races I choose while remaining committed in following thoughtfully crafted training plans.
The 25k race is a short two months away, and my training has started. I get excited when I think about this new chapter—a fresh start in my ongoing endurance journey.
Conquering Endurance Sports at 50…..and Beyond!
This will be how turning 50 is going to get started. The next 16 years of endurance sports are going to be as fun as these first 16. Let’s enjoy the ride.