The second overall woman in the Gloucester County Educational Foundation 8K February 16th was Karla Havens, age 50!  I know that because she and I were talking before the race about how it feels when someone in your age group passes you right at the end, and I kept thinking about that comment as I unfortunately stayed behind her for the entire 5 miles.    Anyhow, I have written before about my admiration for athletes who role model for all of us that age itself is not a barrier to being a healthy competitor.  And I completely agree with the title of then 41-year old 2008 Olympian Dara Tores’ book  that Age is Just a Number.   I am also a fan of Debi Bernardes (55 year old IronMan competitor and triathlon coach at UCanDoIt Coaching) who writes in a blog that some people use “age as just an excuse to not try.”

Bernardes quotes Dr. Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist:  “The regular and ‘irreversible’ cycles of aging that we witness in the later stages of human life may be a product of certain assumptions about how one is supposed to grow old. If we didn’t feel compelled to carry out these limiting mindsets, we might have a greater chance of replacing years of decline with years of growth and purpose.”

I find that motivating and it makes me want to personally train harder.  I will remind myself of this during my next training session with Justin Heinle at Tidewater Performance Center in Gloucester,  especially if he tries  to dole out another “Heartbreaker” workout encouraging a healthy competition and challenge between my boss and me.

I would also like to pay tribute to Joan Benoit Samuelson who won her second Boston Marathon in 1983, the year I graduated high school.  Samuelson ran a sub 2:50 marathon at the 2008 Olympic Trials at the age of 50 and continues to break records in the 50-plus age group.  Now that is inspiring.

So with snowflakes falling that are as big as feathers from a down pillow fight, it’s time to hit the road and get outside and run.  Spring is just around the corner and the Sentara Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg is next Sunday.

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