I ran the Charlie’s Old Goat Trail Run on Saturday. It was my second year doing the race, and the my second time finishing second. This time I was at least close enough to see the other person cross the finish line. Last year I was almost 4 minutes behind the leader, this year I managed to finish just under a minute back.
After the race I was talking with a few of the #TrailsRoc folks and I mentioned how this would be last race as an open runner and I couldn’t wait to not be competing against 24 year old kids anymore. That’s when Eric Egan said “well you used to be one of those kids.” That got me thinking… no, I never was.
Certainly I was 24 years old once, but as regular readers of this blog will know I wasn’t doing any running when I was 24. When I was 24 I was living in Portland, smoking a pack of camel lights a day and subsisting off cold pizza and BridgePort IPA. I hadn’t run a step in 6+ years and it would be another 4 before I would quit smoking and start running again. I try not to dwell on what might have been (no: shoulda, coulda, woulda’s for me). I’m of the mindset that everything I’ve done has lead me to where I am now. I very much like where I am now, so why would I want to change anything I had done to get here.
Still, that one off the cuff comment from Eric combined with my rapidly approaching 40th birthday got me thinking. What if? What if I never picked up all those “bad habits.” What if I kept running in high school, in college and beyond. What if my 20 year old self took running as seriously as my 39 year old self? What did I miss out on during those 10 years that should have been my running prime?
The best I can figure using a combination of age-grading and completely made up numbers stemming from long term smoking effects on performance is this.
What Josh would have run as a healthy training 24 year old
- 1 mile 4:18
- 5k: 14:53
- half marathon 1:09
- marathon still would have gotten hurt and only run 1
So would I trade my life now to be able to have run those times in my prime? Hell no. Running fast is fun and all, but it is no replacement for a wonderful family that brings you joy everyday.