Aging

31 Jan 2007

I was looking at the age grading tables for the marathon and I realized that a man between 46 and 47 has the same expected finishing time as a woman at her peak. In other words my age grade factor is now the same as the ratio of male to female world record finishing times.
For the first time in my life I’m racing on equal terms with women.

I looked at some other tables. For the half-marathon the cross over happens a few weeks before 48. For the 10k between 48 and 49. For the 5k it’s right at 49.
My age grading factor is different for different races, with .9198 for a marathon and .8958 for the 5k… so my race paces are relatively closer together that they were 20 years ago.

But statistics only show general trends. What matters is the individual. Yes, Annie and Melissa are faster than I — but they were last year too.
Doubtless I am slower than I was at 25, but I’m faster than I was 4 years ago. What I see now is that I am getting faster — temporary defiance to the relentless tick of time.

Though much has been taken, much abides.

made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
— Tennyson, Ulysses

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