Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 17, 2017

Aging not graceful at Turkey Trot run

By JEFF WILSON | Nov 15, 2012

Growing old gracefully isn’t as simple as it sounds.

It must be an awareness that’s learned over a period of time. Some people learn quicker than others.

Last Saturday’s Fairfield Park and Recreation Department annual Turkey Trot 5K run was a learning experience. The first lesson was accepting the event was a run, not a race.

The only race going on was for the young guys who jumped out to a fast start. I saw them again when I was about 12 minutes into the 3.1-mile course. They had already passed the halfway turnaround and weren’t far from the finishing stretch.

I didn’t have a problem not being able to keep up with the young guys and girls half my age. The growing old gracefully part was watching runners of all ages, sizes and shapes scoot right by me.

Participating in competitive sports has been something I’ve enjoyed my whole life. I’m a little new at participating without competing.

So the smile I exchanged with an about 10-year-old girl, who finished 3 minutes ahead of me, was more forced than friendly. The encouragement I heard from a woman in the 60-and-over age category was almost sincerely tolerated. She finished 6 minutes ahead of me.

My co-worker Bob Hunerdosse is 5 years older and finished 5 minutes ahead of me. By the time I saw him at the finish line, I was just glad to be done. No more forced smiles or insincere nods.

We headed up to the shelter at the top of the hill in Chautauqua Park. I sat down by myself at a picnic table to get composed and breathe normally again. A young woman put a cold bottle of water on the table in front of me and smiled. The gesture made my day. My appreciative smile was genuine.

Lucy and I ran the Susan B. Komen 5K Race for the Cure in Des Moines for the second straight year last month. That’s just a “feel good” experience more than a run.

The results were posted online a few hours after the race.

“You were 10th in the 60-69 age category,” she said trying to make my legs ache a little less.

But her tone quickly disappeared.

“But it looks like there were only 10 runners,” she finished softly.

We had a good time and broke from our slow jog to walk up a hill near Principal Park where the Iowa Cubs play and another one in front of the Capitol building.

All in all, I did four 5K runs/races this year. The farthest away was the Hairpin Turn Run in Fish Creek, Wis. The Firemen’s Run in Tipton was the only evening run. That’s about enough.

In the meantime, I’ll be at the Trojan Stadium track on weekends doing 12 laps at a time. I don’t think I’ll be getting much faster. Maybe if I do it enough, I won’t get slower.

Growing older can be graceful.


Jeff Wilson is publisher of The Fairfield Ledger.

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