masterpieces: august, 28, 2016

The Internet is constipated with a steady stream of "junk" running news. If I encounter one more article advising me – breaking news, folks! – to not wear any new gear in a race or to apply Body Glide before a marathon, I may blow up my RSS feed. Conversely, there's not enough news, junky or otherwise, that's uniquely relevant to masters runners. The frustrated curmudgeon in me decided to weed through the Interwebs and pluck out recent choice masters running articles for you to peruse. I hope to make this a semi-regular feature on the blog. Enjoy.

Don’t worship ‘shiny objects’ (like Fitbit), says ‘Born Again Runner’ author

Author Peter Magill ran a 14:45 5K at age 49.  Photo: Diana Hernandez

Author Peter Magill ran a 14:45 5K at age 49.  Photo: Diana Hernandez

Pete Magill, age 55, is an accomplished author and a record-setting masters runner; he ran a 14:45 5K at age 49. (Yowza.). I own his excellent, encyclopedic Build Your Running Body, which I like to think of as a user's manual for runners. In this insightful interview, Magill talks about how he returned to running after struggling with a weight problem and smoking like a chimney. He also discusses our over-reliance on tools for the quantified run, such as Garmins and Fitbits, and of course, he plugs his new book, Born Again Runner, which is on my personal wish list.


What we know about aging athletes

Meb Keflezighi celebrates after winning the Olympic Marathon Trials – at the tender age  of 41. Photo: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Meb Keflezighi celebrates after winning the Olympic Marathon Trials – at the tender age  of 41. Photo: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Not a whole lot, apparently, besides stereotypes of gloom, doom and downward spirals. Everyone knows that 41-year-old Meb Keflezighi won the US Olympic Trials and finished strong in Rio 2016, right down to the comic-relief push-ups he did as he slipped on the wet finish line. But not many people know about Canadian Ed Whitlock. The 85-year-old ran a half-marathon in 1:50:47 (an 8:30-ish per-mile pace). The faces – and relative ages – of what we consider to be "aging athletes" are changing as masters athletes break barriers and bust myths about the physical and mental limits of the human body. 


Ultras are still an old man's (or woman's) game

  During the 2016 Afton 50K, masters runners Kurt Keiser (right) and Chris Lundstrom set the pace with fitness – and wisdom .  Photo: John Stewart

 

During the 2016 Afton 50K, masters runners Kurt Keiser (right) and Chris Lundstrom set the pace with fitness – and wisdom .  Photo: John Stewart

Sure, you need to be in top shape to run a grueling ultra. But here's one race distance in which age – and the slow-burning wisdom that comes with it – can prove to be a distinct advantage over the young 'uns. Know-how about pacing, strategy and mental toughness can separate the boys and girls from the men and women.


Dean Karnazes runs the Silk Road

Karnazes, running the trails. Photo courtesy of Dean Karnazes

Karnazes, running the trails. Photo courtesy of Dean Karnazes

Legendary ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, 54, ran the 326-mile Silk Road Marathon a few months back. I love how Jen A Miller does not even bother to touch upon age or aging in this pre-race interview that she wrote for the New York Times. Her questions focus on surviving the distance and thriving in the extreme conditions, including 112-degree midday heat in the desert in Uzbekistan.

As Karnazes says, "You don't have to go fast. You just have to go."