Confession: I’m 30 and in a new age category.
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I’ve been lucky enough over the past few years to have landed podium at smaller races– Toronto Island “Give it a Tri” Triathlon, 5 Peaks Race Series, and the Zoo Run 5K. The only reason was possible: I placed in my age category. Racing in the 20-29, or 25-29 categories was great but I’m now saying “goodbye” to the podium as I just turned 30.
RELATED: This is me at 40
The other weekend, I ran in the 5 Peaks Albion Hills race about an hour north of Toronto. I ran the sport distance, 6.5 KM, and placed second in my age category of 20-29. What if I had already been 30? My time would have been good for a fifth place age category finish.
Trail racing brings out some seriously fierce female competition in the 30-39 age group. Maybe it’s because those of us who keep trail racing in our thirties after merely dabbling in our twenties have progressed to taking the sport seriously. As the years go on, the times get faster. Perhaps some women have kids in their twenties and are looking for a way to keep their fitness up. I don’t know the reason, but race results don’t lie.
This month, I’m running the Squamish 50 race (the 23 kilometre distance). I looked at the results from 2015 to get a sense of the competition and saw that the top two female finishers were in the 30-39 age category. The top female finisher came in at a blazing 1:58 (that’s with 3,900 feet of elevation) and placed third overall.
Perhaps some of this strength comes from experience. I only started running three years ago so while I’ve certainly taken running seriously and pushed myself by working with a coach, I’ve still only been running for three years. I plan to continue running with my local group who always push me to be faster (and keep me accountable). I also want to tackle new distances (a first marathon in 2017 perhaps?), and hopefully as the years go by, the experience will come with it. Maybe in my thirties I’m going to become a better runner.
Do I care about turning 30? Heck no! In my running group, I’m the second youngest and I continue to see my friends smash PBs, rack up 100 kilometres weeks, and yes, win their age categories. One running friend is about to turn 50. He mentioned to me that he figured this would be his last year where he might actually get faster. While I don’t know if that’s true, I would consider myself extremely lucky to get another 20 years of chasing that allusive PB!