Upon reaching my 55th birthday (FFS) a couple weeks ago, I decided to dig through some severely ancient age group awards and 5K times I had filed away from when I was about 25-27 and then use an age-graded race calculator to see what I’d have to run this year to match my old race times.
I sound like a real blast on my birthday, don’t I? Party down!
Generally speaking, in my heyday, my 5k times ranged around 19:15-20:00 with one anomaly race of 18:55ish. That was a nighttime race on a completely flat course, and I was used to running 5Ks almost exclusively in Golden Gate Park where, invariably, the final mile was gradually uphill. So that may have been the difference. Or the course may have been short. *sigh*
Anyway, the equivalent range at 55 would be a range of 23:07 to 24:01 with an anomaly race of 22:43. Basically, it looks like 5K times drop roughly 80 seconds a decade, making my equivalent times now about 4 minutes slower than 30 years ago. Right? (Fuck you, math!)
Amazingly, almost a decade ago, my times were nearly identically equivalent to my mid-20s. My range was right in the 21:25-22:20 zone with an anomaly race at 21:03 (the calculator put the anomaly at 21:04). That race was thanks to JK. All these years later, I can still picture him glancing over his shoulder at about the 2.5-mile mark, seeing me on his heels, and yelling, “Are you fucking kidding me?” with several impressionable children within earshot. Ah, good times.
So, for me anyway, the calculator times appear to indicate what I should be capable of. I mean, if I train correctly and don’t lay around in a heap eating Ding Dongs and drinking Schlitz. Right now, I don’t think I’m even in 24:45 shape, but since I haven’t raced a 5K in nearly a year, how the hell should I know?
I don’t tend to post goals a lot in this blog, but it would be nice to at least go under 24 minutes at some point this summer. There are any number of complications and whines that a calculator can’t take into account, but that sounds precariously close to excuse-making, so I won’t focus on all that. And I definitely won’t consider even mentioning how these past 8 years of chasing miles and marathons may have zapped some of my speed. Nope! Nary a word spoken of it.
I’d like to think that once a racing capability is in you, it remains in its equivalent form throughout your life. It stays in you.
(If you’ve enjoyed this self-absorbed, number-based post, stay tuned! More to come as I flail my way through intervals, run 5Ks, and fully engage in running calculator mania.)