Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | April 2, 2010

Adult-onset Athlete

I wish I had coined that phrase, but I didn’t.  It was coined, I believe, by John “The Penguin” Bingham, the author of No Need for Speed and co-author, with Jenny Hadfield, of Marathoning for Mortals.  Both of these are great books for people like me, and I’ll go into that more a little later.

But I was thinking about that phrase, “adult-onset athlete” on Wednesday.  Really, that phrase just cracks me up.  Yep, that be me.  As a young person, I was the quintessential PE class flunkee.  Well, I never really flunked PE, but I did try to skip it as often as possible in high school, and I really always hated it.  I hated the sweat, hated the stupid black shorts that they gave us to wear that always bound my thighs, and hated the fact that we were right there in the gym, where the boys could look down from the balcony and watch us.  OH, Lord, it gives me cold shivers even now to remember it.  I truly hated it.  The thought of being an athlete would never have entered the realm of my own desires, believe me.

And I thought of this on Wednesday, at the RunWildMissoula Walking Class, when we were doing our speed training.  Walk absolutely as fast as you can for a minute, recover for two minutes, and then do it again.  The minimum we had to do was four.  I thought I might be able to do four of them.  And then, if we felt well enough, we could do five, but the folks that are planning on walking the full marathon were supposed to do EIGHT repetitions of these torturous things, and I really didn’t think eight were in me. The first four went beautifully, and I walked faster than I thought I could, 172 steps in a minute.  The fifth, no problem.  So, I thought, what the heck, I’ll do six.  Then I’ll stop and go home.  And after the sixth, well, there were only two more to go, I could do THAT.  As I walked back to pick up my coat and begin the cool-down walk, I spoke to my new friend, Peggy Christian, Missoula author and fellow marathoner.  “Wow!” I said, “That was fun!  From PE class flunkee to adult-onset athlete!”  And you know what?  I actually felt like an athlete at that moment.  Maybe for the very first time in my whole long life,  I FEEL LIKE AN ATHLETE!  Forgive me for shouting, but honestly, I am so excited about it that I just have to shout.  Tomorrow, I am participating in my first race in Missoula, Run for the Trees.  I’ll be walking, but I’ll be walking at my current pace of 15 minutes per mile.  

Here are some quotes from Marathoning for Mortals that really struck home:
*Train your body like your favorite pet, with kindness and love.
*It’s better to do a little too little than a little too much.
*No training plan will keep you dry in the rain.
*Your body responds to the miles you train, not the miles you log.
*Age and wisdom are as important as youth and vigor.
*Improvement comes during your rest days.
taken from Marathoning for Mortals
by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield, M.A., C.P.T.
Rodale, Inc.  2003

3/30 – 4 miles
3/31 – 3 1/2 miles, including speed sprints
4/1 – Nia at The Women’s Club with Camie Muller
4/2 – 3 3/4  miles
Weight – 194.8 pounds



  1. My Darling Sister

    It does feel lovely doesn’t it?

    Your Lovin Brother

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