Forty-one years ago I completed my first marathon. I was 28-years old and traveled to Detroit for the event know then as the Detroit Free Press International Marathon. The race started in Canada and finished at Belle Island. Shuttle busses took us across a border that now is heavily guarded. In fact, our recent trip to Glacier Park was rearranged because we couldn’t even get into Canada. (See Post #1396). It’s disturbing to think about how times have changed when it comes to U.S. and Canadian border relations.
The first marathon took less than 3 1/2 hours to complete after months and months of rigorous training. It required nearly a half-hour simply to get to the starting line and the official timer, so my actual running time was just over 3 hours. I doubt that I could do it today in under 7 hours – if at all, even if I trained. My current pace is 14-minutes per mile – not much faster than a quick walk for some people. Just a few months ago, my times were nearly a minute less, as age deterioration continues to affect the length of my stride. I’m still out there every day, but it’s getting embarrassing when I can’t even catch someone in a hurried walk, late for work. My legs feel heavy and arms out of sync, as I awkwardly go through the motions. Today’s first mile was at 13’25” while mile-three registered a much slower 14’11. A year ago, my average mile pace for a 5k run was 12’50”, two years ago 12’25, three years ago 12’14”, and four years past 11’55”. It’s incredible how much useless data my I-Phone carries. These times are a far cry from my initial marathon average of 8-minute miles.
This morning was #4,311 of “The Streak.” By my upcoming 70th birthday, I may need to bring my lunch along, even if I reduce the daily mileage. At least I’m persistent if not pretty, and the days slowly add up. What was once a challenge to increase my speed or distance traveled is now just about getting out there every day and finishing. I rumble, bumble, and stumble along in all conditions, determined to make it through another day. It seems like only yesterday when that same determination led me to accomplish the goal of running that first marathon. Time now flies faster than I do!