This weekend I turned 40. I’ll be honest, the thought of entering my fifth decade didn’t sit too well. Yes it’s only one year older from last year and I’m not over the hill just yet – life begins and all that. But 40…..ugh, that just seems, well, old.

I am actually running some of the fastest times I’ve ever run, I dropped under 20 minutes for 5k earlier this year and have done a sub 1:40 half marathon too. But I’m putting that down to better training. I’m still very active, I need to be, running after a two year old around the house, I walk a few miles every day and try and eat well, try to anyway. But….always a but….my legs can feel it and I’ve had more injuries this year than in my entire life.

Now all runners are a determined bunch, of course we are, how else could you run 26.2 miles. So I’m going to put that number to the back of my mind and try and get even faster in my 40s. Whether that is possible I don’t know, with a long commute and two children it’s not sounding easy.

To start off, a parkrun on my birthday – what better time to do a run. The Thursday night before, training had been a similar distance on a similar terrain. So preparation had been ideal and I thought there was a good chance of a PB. When I arrived and started warming up I was elated to see Andre, a very good runner from my club wearing the 20 minutes pacer vest. I’ve done sub 20 minutes before and thought if I could stick with him until the final kilometer and run my fast last 400m finish then I would be in with a chance.

The first kilometer I was with him and he called out we were 5 seconds up. Next k we were 8 seconds up, then I’m sure he said 19 seconds up after 3k. I was pushing it but still with him and if I could stay in there I was surely on for a good time. I never heard the time for the 4th kilometer but that was probably due to an inconsiderate dog walker stepping out in front of me and letting his dog run with me and trip me up. No, not even a sorry. By this time Andre had motored on and I was 20 metres behind, catching up was difficult, I was really struggling and at one point was close to reducing to a jog.  In hindsight, I should have paced myself to catch him up over the next 800m and not the next 100m. Silly error. However I got close and with Andre slowing down I was able to get close until he eventually let me pass. I sprinted for the line knowing it was a fast time but not sure exactly. Geoff shouted at me as I crossed the line “Smashed it”.  He knows my PB so I knew then I’d done it. Looking down at the time, I was over the moon, 19:38. For a fairly difficult course on a wet day and at my age, I’ll take that….would have been even better if it hadn’t been for that dog. My best time, on my birthday and a big birthday too!  One word sprang to mind….cake. Time to celebrate I reckon.

On the way home I was very pleased with myself, checked my time, uploaded it to Strava and enjoyed a nice breakfast. Now with parkrun, for those who don’t know, all times are recorded and listed on their website. Which I always check, not only for myself but my friends too. I logged on to check it out, then it hit me…

Category: Veteran 40.