Chasing the WindRead Now
I’m old. And I’ve recently decided that aging after 60 is exponential: each day I age feels like a hundred; sometimes a thousand. When I was 59, I was doing OK. A few years later, and I hardly recognize myself.
Not that long ago I was a competitive triathlete and runner. Then work and injuries—and a pandemic—got in the way. I hung up my sneakers and decided it was time to give it a rest.
But today I took a leap of faith. I ran a 10K race, my first since 2018. As I analyzed what possessed me to throw good money at such insanity, I settled on three things: 1) I whole-heartedly support the work of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation, which was the beneficiary of a portion of the race fee; 2) Running in downtown Frankfort, Ky., is challenging and full of distracting and visually arresting historical landmarks; 3) I wanted to see if I could.
After a night of torrential downpours, it was a startlingly beautiful morning: sunny and cool (around 52 degrees), with the clearest sky we’ve seen in days. That alone gave me an edge, after running through the prolonged summer’s heat and humidity. I had convinced myself to take it easy, go at my training pace, and not try to keep up with my former competitors.
Frankfort sits astride the Kentucky River, and the city’s hills and bluffs offer challenging terrain. We started downtown at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, ran along Broadway where railroad tracks bisect the street in front of the old Greek Revival capitol building, traveled back down Main Street and up Capital Avenue to circle behind the new capitol, then returned to Main Street.
At that point, your stomach knots. As we turned east, we headed straight up a nearly half-mile hill past the old arsenal to the historic and exceptionally scenic Frankfort Cemetery, the final resting place of Daniel Boone. The hilly path through the cemetery offers a breath-taking vista of the city and the river below. After turning back toward the entrance, we encountered a lone drummer and cornet player in Revolutionary War garb playing period music. The smile on my face was as broad as the river, and my pace quickened. Once we exited the cemetery gate, it was a fast downhill back into town and around to the finish line.
I had a good race, exceeding all my expectations. Although I’m decidedly slower than I was in 2018, I felt at ease remembering what it’s like to push my body beyond what I think it’s capable of doing. And even this cranky old body cooperated. For nearly an hour I did not think about any of the sources of the summer’s sorrow and grief. I concentrated on my breathing, on the sights around me, and on chatting briefly with other runners along the course. For a few minutes, I was a kid again racing ahead of all the adult troubles sneaking up behind me.
10/17/2021 07:29:15 am
As a former runner, I so enjoyed "running with you" in your race in Frankfort. Keep going as long as you can. I
10/17/2021 08:53:03 am
Thank you for sharing your race experience. Your comments mirror some of my own feelings: not as fast as I used to be, but still enjoying the breeze on my face, the sun on my shoulders, and the smiles on the faces of other runners. Yes, we are older, but we are still strong, still striving, still searching for calm, and in running, we come close to finding that peaceful place where weariness and contentment meet.
10/17/2021 09:46:27 am
Beautifully put, Catherine! "...that peaceful place where weariness and contentment meet." Yes.
10/17/2021 04:30:16 pm
I am impressed by this daring-do. Congratulations
10/17/2021 07:16:02 pm
Oh how fun for you ...congratulations for keeping it all in perspective and enjoying every step of the way....You story is heart warming and filled with passion for the sport that meant so much to me in the past. Thank you for sharing...If more people would smile when the run it might make it more fun for them! Don't ya think? Hugs and smiles, Susie the Snail
10/17/2021 07:24:22 pm
I was told I had an enormous smile as I crossed the finish line, Susan. You would have been proud!
10/17/2021 07:41:17 pm
I'm so jealous! Only in my memories is such wonderful joy to be found of my body doing incredible feats these days.
10/18/2021 10:20:52 pm
Congratulations Sallie -- you ran u[p the hill in front of the armory? That's incredible! And that's a long climb heading up to the capitol building as well. I really enjoyed your description of the run. And it is very inspiring to read of your passion for the sport.
10/18/2021 11:19:49 pm
Bob, that hill that runs up to the armory is much like all the hills you know so well in Mallard Point! Felt like home...
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