I think it’s important to let yourself be a beginner no matter what your age. I’m okay with it. At the beginning I always feel like there’s no place to go but up from here. I started running at age forty so sixteen years later I don’t consider myself a beginner. Yet each spring is a new beginning with the start of what I consider my consistent running season.
There have been benefits to starting later. My children who have were competitive runners in school suffered injuries that still plague them. I had the choice of taking as much recovery time as needed. Some that started young peaked early and are seeing their times decline. I am getting faster and have yet to peak.
Age gives perspective. When a man in his eighties beat my first 5K time I might have felt defeated. Instead I was inspired. When I won in my age category at age fifty it gave me confidence that I could break the age barriers that barrage us in all areas of life. The need to compete is still there but mainly it’s a competition with myself.
I love the physical benefits but more I love the meditative practice it has become. Today I wore my fitbit. It’s nice to know my time and heart rate to gauge where I am in comparison to where I’d like to end up but mostly I run free from technology. Without distraction I’m free to notice the pink of flowering trees, the chartreuse of new leaves, feel the warm sun and cool breeze. I see the small snake keeping pace along the grasses on the edge of the trail. I notice the patterns of wildflowers that always make me want to take those darn Zentangle classes.
I am elated to start this season of new runs embracing the feeling of a new beginning on an evolving journey.