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Michelle Holland, Hilary Lorenz and JJoseph Martinez, Rio Arriba County Recreation Director

Runners Michelle Holland and Hilary Lorenz with Joseph Martinez, Rio Arriba County Recreation Director photo by Ginger Legato

March 21st and 22nd was the qualifying games for Rio Arriba County, New Mexico Senior Olympics and wow was it fun. Normally I am excited to age into a new  racing category, but I was not so fond of 50 until I joined the games. You can see  my last post on how it  transpired.

The above photo is of Michelle Holland who won the 10K at the local, state, and national games, setting a record in that placed her in the top 10 best times in the nation. Local qualifying is easy because there are few people in the 50-60 AG,  fewer runners overall and most of them are men. We ran, but there was no need to kill ourselves racing it out. Many of our distances were combined. We ran a 400 (1:24) but they also clocked us at 200 meters to get a qualify time, if we want to race it at state. We ran the mile, pretty easy pace, 7:00, and they clocked our 800. Next weekend we will run the 5k. After that we have 11 weeks to get in shape for state. With 11 weeks of training and dropping almost 4,000 feet of elevation, I plan to breeze in on a 6:00 mile or better.

Hilary Lorenz during 400m

Hilary Lorenz during 400m photo by Ginger Legato

The best part of the day was cheering for and timing the other athletes. A total of 82  participated, and most will go to state. I would guess the majority of people I met were between 75 and 87, with the oldest athlete  97, and they are kicked ass. Let’s face it, aging is scary because the majority of people don’t give a shit, are lazy and they let themselves fall apart. Most people around us, and many of our family members, do not exercise, have heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and are obese. What a terrible role model for aging, of course it looks scary, and it is completely unnecessary! Yes, some of these athletes are over weight and have heart conditions but it does not stop them. I watched an 80-year-old man kick ass, and I do mean kick ass, on the 100 meter run. He  won state previously and is going to nationals. After I congratulated him, while admiring his perfect posture and quick cadence, he puts on a big grin and says, “and I have a pacemaker.” He was not about to let his pacemaker get in the way of being super fit and compete hard. Another athlete running the 800 has a leaky mitral valve and atrial fibrillation, but so what? Is he suppose to sit on the sofa and “take it easy” until he dies? How horrible! No, he ran and then he biked 40K. People do not need to be  agile to compete, there are tons of sports to choose from. There is  an estimated pace 400 and 800. In this race, you estimate how long it will take you to walk the 400 or 800. You then walk it and whoever is closest to their estimated time without going over wins. So the woman who walked the distance a cane,and got teased for having a performance aid, may be a slower than a sure-footed walker but could win the race.

I am so proud to represent Rio Arriba County in the State Games at Roswell in June. I plan to run the 400, 800, 1500 and 5k. I am also very proud to be on the  Dashing Whippets Racing Team and of course I had to wear that shirt for inspiration, I am guessing it was the first of the Whippets runners to go in the Senior Olympics,  and my Front Runners New York sports bra underneath for that support. (no pun intended).  And as I said in my last post, my goal is to represent Rio Arriba in the Senior Olympics for the next 50 years and win several  national level races.  I have come of a new age and I am excited! Fifty is going to be all right.

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