I took this pic of my teens`shoes this morning, in anticipation of writing about their impact on my running. In the process, however, I somehow managed to get a pic of me scowling at the camera, dressinggowned and wearing my very early morning face. It was quite a shock.
I looked like Mrs Trunchbull on a very bad day.(Remember? The sadistic school principal in “Matilda”?) I looked so bad, in fact, and was indeed, so shocked, I recoiled in horror and went back to bed.
I`ll spare you the pic, right now and hit for a word pic instead. My face had been snapped from chest height-my worst angle: I can`t pull that look off in the glow of a tealight, nowadays. My neck was, well, more turkey neck than hen`s neck. The camera gleefully caught each of the folds on my lowered chin. And cruelly picked up the Rift Valley of a line down the centre of my forehead.
Plainly, I was in need of more beauty sleep.And a swift injection of youth.
While basking in the warmth of my duvet, however, I hit philosophical mode quite quickly, as we elder Hens tend to do. I can run after all. I can outrun all of my neighbours, my three children and most of my siblings. Sure, they`ll pass me with speed on a four hundred metre sprint but none of them have the proven ability to plod on forever, like running a marathon confers.
Not bad for a fifty year old, eh?
And I realised the reason the pic came as a shock was because, as a runner(well, of sorts) I really believe my body can do all the things it did in my twenties. And maybe even a bit more. Running is part of my fantasy of being forever locked in my twenty two year old self. In fact, my body is even fitter than my twenty two year old Spring Chick`s ever was. My face may tell my age, but my quads are fantastic. Gotta take my word for it. Pics to follow. Maybe.
Why, way back in my twenties, the only running I could possibly manage was a totter to the pub at closing time. And the only marathon was the six drinks I poured down my gullet before being decanted into a taxi toward any nightclub. My forays into the world of fitness consisted of buying a tape of Jane (Go For The Burn!) Fonda`s aerobics class, running once around the block, and dancing around handbags in nightclubs with my pals.
Listening to Ms Fonda did nothing for my waistline. It may even have had an adverse affect on my hearing.
The run around the block gave me my first dose of shin splints.It took years to recover from that one.
And dancing around handbags looks, and is, plainly stupid.
Once I step into my running gear, I feel empowered. I`m all squished into my lycra gear, feeling like a Sex Goddess.(Puleease, no links on that one…) My quads(see above) distract every eye from my widening midriff. And my trainers are like winged gods ready to whisk me to the fantasy island of Tír na n-Óg ~ the Land of Everlasting Youth.
But it is a hard slog. I cannot lie. My Inner Bitch often whispers in my ear “You are too old for this. You look ridiculous.” But Better Self trumps her most times and the endorphin kick after the first couple of miles sends Inner Bitch reeling. The truth is I am mentally stronger since I started running. I am more able for all challenges because I know I have stickability and I know I for sure that I can achieve what once I thought was impossible.I am running for my health, I am running for my children and I am running because I can.
See, in our fifties, we know time is precious. We know the true value of everything. We know what to run after and what to leave behind. It`s called wisdom and the Rift Valley on my forehead and my turkey/hen`s neck are sure signs that I Have Arrived at that Glorious Age of All Knowing. Smirk! Put that in your pipe and smoke ye young wans!
And if it makes us feel fresh and good and strong and able isn`t that I fine thing? Almost like putting a young body under an old head and reaping the benefits of both.
As for my teens. Yes, I envy them the years they have stretching ahead. It would be good if they could use them all wisely but that, for a human, is impossible. They will have drunken nights of their own, dancing around handbags, they will upload the latest fitness fads and offload them in disgust, and they will get hurt along the way.Some day they will remember that their mother ran her first marathon when she was forty nine and maybe that will inspire them to rise to challenges of their own.
Well, I`m all showered off now, make up on, hair done and, in a good light, I don`t look half bad. Next time I`m near a camera I will hold my head up high and relax my forehead. That way, the turkey neck and the Rift Valley won`t seem so bad.
See? Life`s just all about getting wiser…