Shortly after finishing the Turkey Run 5K yesterday I posted a status update on Facebook about the event. Of course I mentioned the fact that I enjoyed seeing dozens of friends among the 1500 people participating in the area's second largest race. Without a doubt, the holiday of thanks creates a festive mood that makes those encounters with friends a little more meaningful. That is why this 5K will always be among my favorite events to participate in.
I also stated that yesterday's race made this the 32nd year of running sub-17 minute 5Ks. It wasn't bragging about running ability. I am attentive enough to know that a sub-17 5K is a mark that many runners never reach, but I am also wise enough to know that a large number (1000s?) of runners, from high schoolers to collegiates to masters, run faster every year. The world road record for 5K is 13 minutes! A 17-minute runner would have more than a K to run at 13 minutes!! Even my 15:18 personal record, set decades ago, would leave me a half-mile behind the world record runner.
No, that post was not an attempt to brag about running ability. A mantra I've long used to describe myself is that "I am a has-been that never was." I loathe bragging from myself more than I do from others. A sub-17 5K is a difficult enough challenge for my limited abilities that I consider it a notable achievement and desirable goal, especially at my age.
That status update was meant to be a statement about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. It was an acknowledgement of a decades long love affair with running. The post was a reminder to anyone reading it that middle age does not guarantee low quality of life. It was meant to be a challenge and an inspiration to the people reading this blog to eat wisely and live active lives.
I encourage people daily to exercise moderately while eating a variety of healthy foods. It really isn't that difficult, but it requires a deviation from the typical American lifestyle. There are many places to look and and a variety of people to talk to when seeking information about healthy living. For the last two years I have been telling people about the Blue Zones, a book by Dan Buettner that reveals how several groups of people around the world live to be active and productive centenarians. Check it out! It would make a great Christmas gift!
No one has a guarantee for a long and healthy life, but many people construct lives that almost guarantee a hasty depreciation of life's quality after the onset of adulthood. In fact, it is well-documented that our current cultural habits are creating extremely unhealthy children. Quality of life does not hinge on an ability to run a sub-17 5k, but living an active and healthy lifestyle will enhance the ability to maintain the ability to do all of the things that we enjoy for most of our lives. I love to run and bike and hike and climb and garden and rake leaves and . . .
Do you have your own sub-17 type of measuring stick?