She’s been offering the same witticism for the last 30 years and even though I know what she means to say, I still hate it. I mean, from the day we are born, we age. And nobody is getting younger. So I’m not alone.
Every single one of us gets older every run, every day, every month. There’s nothing we can do about that, but I firmly believe running slows the aging process.
And, unfortunately, aging slows the running process. Nobody gets faster as they age. Just doesn’t happen that way. Some of us get slower…slower. But that’s about it.
I’m pretty interested in this kind of stuff so I dug up some physiological facts that pertain to aging runners, as presented by Dr. William Evans, an ex phys and expert on aging and muscles.
- On average, we lose about one percent of our fitness per year. After the age of 60, aerobic capacity (fitness) goes down. Staying fit, helps maintain a higher ability to gulp down and process oxygen than a sedentary person, but the rate of loss is about the same.
- Starting at age 20, we lose muscle as we age with a steady, inexorable decline. To slow this age-related decline, lifting weights or other types of resistance exercise, including running, helps.
- The more muscle you have, the more calories you can eat without getting fat. But, muscle loss can mean greater weight gain with aging. Contrary to popular belief though, the cause of weight gain is not due to a slowing metabolism. Our metabolic rate remains about the same, but our level of activity goes down. Running helps to counteract this.
- As we age, we lose more fast-twitch muscle fibers (used for sprinting) than slow-twitch fibers (long-distance running). This loss starts fairly early and helps explain why sprinters peak in their 20s and distance runners can still excel into their 40s. But even top runners slow down in their 40s because the nerves that connect to muscles start to die, resulting in a loss of slow and fast-twitch fibers. Athletes lose about 20 percent of their muscle fibers between ages 40 and 70.
- Weight training as little as one day a week can maintain strength and prevent muscle loss. Strength training also helps prevent bone loss among older people. Especially among women. Post-menopausal women who lift weights can improve their bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
- Finally, just because older people run, exercise and lift weights doesn’t mean they should eat more. The problem is people 60+ who exercise also tend to rest a lot. They take long naps and sleep longer too. So they’ve exercised—which is obviously good—but they also tend to be more sedentary the rest of the day.
And then there are these words from my former physician—Dr. Walter Bortz—who said: “No one really lives long enough to die of old age. We die from accidents and most of all, from disuse.”
Not me. Better to wear out, than rust out.
O As we reported several weeks ago, the Schlotzky’s Bun Run is kaput. After 31 years, this fixture on the spring racing calendar has ended its run because Schlotzky’s has decided to put all its resources into its national charity–the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation—and its Walk to Cure Diabetes in Austin on October 27th. But, the Young Men’s Business League of Austin (which organized the Bun Run) is planning to start up a new race to raise money for its charity—Austin Sunshine Camps. The new race will be called the Twilight 10-K and its race date for April 27 has already been approved by the city. Great news.
O Know I missed a lot of names last week in my rundown on fall marathons (thanks for letting me know). I wrote about some of the folks who PR’ed at St. George a couple of weeks ago, but left out Amber Higginbotham. She PR’ed by 11 minutes with her 3:34:30 and qualified for her first Boston. Also failed to mention Lori and Michael Lewis who ran the Berlin Marathon. Lori ran 3:44 and Michael ran a super 2:49 which—remarkably–was only good enough for 115th in his age group (35-39). In Baltimore, Hannah Moore ran 3:26 to PR by more than five minutes and finished among the top 30 women and third in her age group.
O It looks like the 38th Marine Corps Marathon next weekend on Washington is a go. When Congress reached a deal last night to end the government shutdown, the threat of cancellation of the marathon was averted and the marathon has already started setting up the infrastructure for the race.
O Evidently, the Cedar Park HS connection with the University of Oregon will continue. With CP alumni Parker Stinson set to graduate in the spring, Chris Mulverhill, who was 10th in the State cross-country last year for Timo Sheard, has announced he will attend Oregon in the fall. Mulverhill, who runs the steeple, will be joined at UO by hurdler Ben Thiel of Celina.
O Next Monday, October 21st, will mark 20 years since local running coach and favorite Burundian Gilbert Tuhabonye escaped genocide and ran for his life. To celebrate, he’s running 20 miles on Sunday and anyone is invited. They’ll start at 7:00 AM from Texas Running Company on 5th/Lamar and depart for a Scenic-Mount Bonnell-Balcones-2222 out and back. He says anyone is welcome to join for all or part of the celebration.
O My list of guys who ran sub-4 miles and fast marathons was by no means complete as a reader from Houston pointed out. He emailed me with the news that Jon Warren of Houston ran 3:59:30 and 2:15:59 in 1994. Warren, who ran in three Olympic Trials, has been the head coach at Rice for 13 years.
O Don’t know how many of you read the Texas Monthly article in the latest issue about deposed UT women’s track coach Bev Kearney, but it’s fascinating, sad account of the troubles and conflicts she had with, among others, former men’s coach Bubba Thornton. No shock there. And, according to a very well-connected source who was deep inside the program, told me, “Every word of the article was true.” Yikes.
O Despite the deluge of Biblical proportions last Sunday, the Cedar Creek 5-K went on as scheduled and Rory Tunningley, the former University of Texas star, made his debut there as a “rust buster.” Some rust buster. Rory ran by himself and won by more than four minutes in 14:28, while his fiance Megan Vasquez won the women’s division in 20:01 and was fourth overall. Tunningley’s first big test on the roads will come next Sunday when he runs the Run for the Water 10-Miler (his first at that distance) where he’ll have plenty of company at the front.
O Down in San Antonio, Paul Baltutis reports that the Battle for Leon Creek (20-K or 20-miler) will be held on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. This the fourth race in the Alamo City Marathon Challenge and it will start at the Valero Trailhead of the Leon Creek Greenway. This is the final major tune-up before the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on November 17th. Check out our listing at http://texasrunningpost.com/race-calendar/alamo-city-marathon-challenge-race-4-the-battle-of-leon-creek-20k-20-miles/ for more info.
O Looks like Rogue Equipment’s move to its new home on West 5th Street will be slightly delayed until mid-January as they continue to build out their new store. The east side location will close when Rogue moves which should mean plenty of parking and better access to the trail for the many folks who train out of the store.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Delaney and Bonnie On Tour with Eric Clapton,” by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. A great blue-eyed soul musical duo, they had a phenomenal band which included at one point Clapton, Leon Russell and Dave Mason. I saw them open for Blind Faith on its one US tour and D&B were so terrific that Clapton seemed a lot more interested in playing with them than his own headlining band.
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