Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Age Degraded

In four short months, I’ll turn 40. Sometimes getting older is a beautiful thing. Here’s three ways in which I benefit:

First: In races I will be considered a “master”. A master? Little ole me? I’d blush but technically that’s a downgrade as I’ve been referring to myself as Pope Awesome the First for ten years now. I think Master falls below Pope Awesome but just above Da Bomb on the Nitmos Scale of Superiority. But being a member of this exclusive “masters” club does have some privileges. For one, we usually have our own winner separate from the overall race winner (though sometimes it is one and the same person).

In other words, while you schmo’s are out there freezing your skinned nips off watching the race champ get his prize, we Masters will be sitting in a heated bungalow, enjoying the muscle relaxing massage techniques of a Swedish immigrant, beneath velvet blankets, listening to a hippie strum his guitar with soothing strokes while wearing our personally fitted nipple warmers, as the Master champ is coronated.

At least, that’s what I think happens. I guess I’ll find out for sure in four months.

Another benefit, of course, is the age graded time adjustments. You’ve probably seen them attached to some of your race results. Supposedly age-graded results:

1) Adjust your performance to what it theoretically would have been during your
prime running years (your 20's and a portion of your 30's depending on the race

2) Judge your performance, using an achievement percentile,
without bias for gender or the aging process (in other words, you are measured
against a specific standard for your age and sex). These percentiles can
be interpreted as follows:

· Over 90% --- World Class
· Over 80% --- National Class
· Over 70% --- Regional Class
· Over 60% --- Local Class

3) Compare your performances for a specific race distance at various ages
to determine which was your "best race".

For me, this always meant that the old dude I torched in the final mile would end up getting the last laugh as the age-graded adjustment leapfrogged him above me in the final standings. I hated that and I’d always regret not taking him out – permanently – on the way by so that it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t mind it – or notice it – when my own age-graded score moved me above others…that seemed only right. But moving me down?? Not fair.

Now, I’ll be able to stroll across the finish line a few minutes after my jack-rabbit twenty-five your friends with a triumphant smile and watch their sad little crestfallen faces as, later that day, I move above them in the age-graded results table (or, as I call them, the "only results that matter"). Boo-yeah! Suck on that, youthies!

Second: Another huge benefit of joining the Masters club is that I’ll finally be able to invest in those creepy way-too-short, old man side split running shorts. You know the kind…they ride up high on the side exposing the hip bone and pale, sunless skin (as well as the sun tan line about 5 inches south). They are really…unsavory. They scare kids and pets. I believe they are considered a sex crime in about 19 states currently. I want them. I’ve been waiting to get them until I became a Master. Now, off to expose my bleached white hips and cultivate the matching tuft of grayish chest hair billowing out the top of my singlet like rotting cauliflower.

Third: Qualifying times! Case in point: I just posted that I was going to get into the lottery for the New York Marathon. A few of you wise soles, er, wisely, pointed out to me that NY does have an automatic entry qualifying standard to bypass the lottery roulette. For a 39 year guy like me, I’d have to run a sub 1:23. Sorry, I’m too old and slow to meet that requirement any time soon. I just did a sub 1:28 a few months ago and that seemed like a lot of work.

However, for a 40 year old, I only have to break 1:30. Suddenly, I’m plenty fast enough to gain auto entry. Look at that, in four short months, I go from hopelessly slow to Pope Awesome fast. Boo-yeah! Suck on that, youthies! So, I really just have to keep training steady – don’t even need to get any faster - and I’m in like Flynn.*

Screw the lottery. I’ll just turn 40 instead! New York, here I come.

So you young whippersnappers can have your “overall” champs and your flexible joints and your thigh length shorts and long life spans. I’ve got my ticket in hand for the Masters club and all the aroma of Flexall, tales of lost dreams, and side split shorts and pasty thighs as far as the (non-cataracted) eye can see. Oh, and arthritis, don’t forget about that.

Happy trails.

*It’s a historical phrase only us Masters would get.


Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! (Happy Thursday to everyone else!)


Xenia said...

In England, every adult under the age of 35 is listed as SENIOR. Yeah, that's been a major hit to the ego.

Don't let your advanced age hold you back--Steve in a Speedo has been wearing those shorty-shorts for ages and he's way younger than you.

Happy early Turkey Day to you and your family.

Elizabeth said...

Welcome to the club! It's where all the cool people hang out. Make sure you tuck your t-shirt into your shorty shorts...that's what all the old fellas do around here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kirstie said...

Just found your blog. Absolutely hysterical post. Masters....gives me something to look forward to when I turn forty. I do like your ideas of the heated bungalow. RD's should take this into consideration ;0

The Sean said...

I can't believe Coldplay made it onto the Nitmos Scale of Superiority-(even if just below Khaki Pants and for the purpose of relative unsuperiority...)

Thomas said...

You forgot one major benefit. The day I turned 40 I suddenly started coming home from races with prize money where I would otherwise have returned empty handed.

Robin said...

I think tube socks would complete your "masters" look!

Ironman By Thirty said...

Added bonus: You can trip other runners with your cane when they try and pass you.

Vava said...

Didn't Paul Shafer (too bad he's Canadian, BTW, and the best thing he ever did was the cameo in This Is Spinal Tap) do a ditty on "Pasty White Thighs" when presented with a picture of Bill Clinton running during a Letterman episode? Not sure this is at all relevant to your colourful discussion, but I'm certain that Clinton thought a great deal about age grading...

And lastly, on top of the tube socks that someone recommended above, you absolutely must get a stinky old tri-coloured headband to complete the look, and preferable grow a Bjorn Borg hairdo.

Jess said...

Please spare us all and don't post pictures of you in the short shorts

Nick said...

Now you will need to fill one of your flasks on your water belt with Metamucil as well!

Adam said...

Damn it. Is there ANYTHING that old people don't get coming there way!? First it was 10% off everything at IHOP and now this.

Stuart said...

And don't expect a break this age group is full of formerly fat guys having a mid life crisis and who, go figure!, are actually pretty good runners!

You can always tell them they drive up in a Corvette!

Ainsley Drew said...

You're now also qualified to educate young, unskilled runners using the "wax on, wax off" technique.

Better get more than one pair of those shorts, Master.

Beth said...

Hey old man, it's booyah, not boo-yeah. Geez! You are making us over 40 year-olds look bad. :)

X-Country2 said...

Congrats on the offical Dirty Old Man status.

kayan Association said...

Thank you for your wonderful blog

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

See? And I was feeling bad about entering the 45 age bracket next year. Now it all seems better. If I keep training I can eventually work my way back to the top. (It is my comment, and I believe I was there once.)

Irene said...

I'd say "welcome to the club," but you're not quite there, yet. :)