A few weeks ago I ran a 5k as part of a fundraiser for some friends. I perpetually have the goal to get under 20:00 but have never done it. My best yet is 20:06. This course ran through fields and forest so I knew I would be slow.
Near the end I came up on some kid, low teens I would guess, running ahead of me. He seemed so bothered that I caught up that he sprinted ahead. And then he ran himself tired and would walk. I caught up. This happened twice. The third time I caught up to him was at about the 1/4 mile to go mark, when I normally push it. I said “OK pal lets get” and started running hard. About half way to the line he caught me and passed me. I finished about 15 feet behind. He collapsed and I walked over and gave him a fist bump.
My overall time was in the 22’s. So I was not proud. But what really got me was that 10 years ago I could have smoked this kid. I could actually notice how much slower I have gotten over the years. My stamina is at an all time high, but I really am slow. I knew it would happen. And to some extent I have felt it even before now. But it was really strange to feel it so quantifiably and in the moment. Getting old sucks.