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I want to be faster.  

Yesterday I ran in my first real road race, where the measures of reality are formal registration, a race number, and officially tabulated results. I did the 5 miles in a recorded time of 34:44, which was a 6:57/mile pace, good enough for 48th out of 416 finishers and 666 entrants, and 14th out of 51 men ages 30-39.  

5 miles is what I usually run, four or five days a week, and I almost never go farther. 7:00/mile is how fast I try to run it any time there aren't any mitigating factors. 6:57/mile is a good pace, but my personal record over that distance is 6:51/mile, twice, not even under race conditions. I'd be disappointed in myself for not pushing harder to beat that in this race, but those PRs were set back in the fall, and over the winter the ground conditions and a flu and a couple injuries have kept me at much slower speeds, so I opted to just take this one easy and see how it went. Race conditions are different, psychologically, and I don't have enough racing (or even running) experience to be able to factor them out and tell how near I am to my physical capacity. So I ran not to beat myself, but to be sure I wouldn't crash.  

And now I want to do better. Never mind the high-school track-team that finally passed me in the last mile, I turn 38 today and thus will be in the 40-49 division by the time I have enough running experience for serious goals. As a 40-year-old in this race, 34:44 would have got me 12th. 6:00/mile would have won. In all, 15 men (and one woman) older than I am ran faster than I did, including two guys in their 50s. I'm 38 and haven't even been running for a year yet, so surely this is not my limit. I am only just beginning.  

I am 38 today, and just beginning many things, and looking forward to all the beginning I still haven't done.
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