Sunday, October 09, 2005

Adult onset athletes

There's a nice essay from another adult-onset athlete, Lisa Bergtraum, at MSNBC/Newsweek.

I find it easy to relate - but then again, difficult to relate. For example, here are some thoughts on the importance of positive self-descriptors when we take on a new identity as an athlete.

From Lisa's photo, she looks fairly gaunt to me, and since she doesn't mention weight loss in the article, I assume she's more or less naturally that way.

It's easier to run when you're bone thin. It just takes less energy to move your body around.

She says, "I’m 46 now. I’ve progressed from running 10-minute miles to finishing the "Fifth Avenue Mile," an annual race, in 6:34."

Huh. I'm 48, been at it for 6 years (minus 2 for a stress fracture and having babies, so 4 years total), and I've progressed from walking 20 minute miles to barely cracking a 10 minute mile. Then again, I've still got that excess 30-40(?) pounds of body fat that I'm carrying around with me for every step of the way.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's different for her.

Naturally, I don't expect that MSNBC and Newsweek would find an overweight mom running 11 or 12 minutes per mile particularly newsworthy. Even running marathons. Heck, there are over 423,000 marathon finishes every year in this country, by people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. With a US population of about 296 million that's about 0.14% or 1 in 700 people. Every year.

Running is the new golf. Swing a dead cat and you hit a marathoner. Good thing I'm not in this for the fame and fortune, eh?

Hmm. Statistics for women who finish Ironman-distance races are a little more selective. If it's true that 50,000 people participate in IM-distance races worldwide, and about thirty percent of those are women, using a generous estimate, that means that only perhaps 15,000 women complete Ironman races each year, worldwide. I'll bet the actual number is substantially smaller than that. But with 6.4 billion people on earth, that means females becoming Ironmen each year are only about .0002% or 1 in 430,000 people. It's as if only one of those people finishing a US marathon each year was a woman who finished an Ironman triathlon. That's a much more select group to join, indeed!

One in half-a-million. That does have a nice ring, doesn't it?


Ellie said...

Good heavens, the person in that picture is a woman??? If I ever look like that, shoot me. I'd rather be a little more curvy even if it means being slower. I wanna look like a girl!

My verification word: fydff
"Off Your Duff"

*jeanne* said...

Yes...I agree...too gaunt.

E!!ie's playing Rorschach games with the word verification letters! LOL!


Rae said...

Thanks for all the stats. 1 in 700 is actually higher than I would have guessed, does that count all the crazies who do 12 marathons a year?

nancytoby said...

No, I don't know of that information available anywhere (the number of marathons completed by the average marathon finisher). Anyone?

Debbie said...

Hi, Nancy, that was my 'labelingo' post . . . thanks for the mention! I see you are in NoVA. I'm in MD. Small world!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Interesting article.

Okay Ellie. What's tkxtepc???

ummm -- "Thanks(Tkx) To Each Post Comment"

Madame La Blog said...

Hi! Being lightweight defintely makes running less effortful. However, economical running is a pretty useless skill to have, if you don't make it back to T2 in time !
I also think that was a poorly chosen shot if they are bragging about how "healthy" that woman is supopsed to be. yikes.