Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond can delay biological ageing by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age, concludes an analysis published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
On the other hand, two days after Mt. Diablo's 50 miles of trudging up and down steep hills in record heat, I feel this morning more like I'm about 95.
Steve did Diablo too. We ran together for the first 20 miles, but he suffers from the heat more than I do since I do most of my running in the late afternoon and he does most of his in the pre-dawn chill of morning. So the race was about 20º hotter than I was used to and about 40º hotter than he was used to.
I saw him near the turnaround and he was really struggling. I was hoping he wouldn't drop out but the heat was so unbearable that over 30 of the 110 entrants never made it to the end- I saw lots of them sitting at the aid stations, looking dessicated and defeated. Steve was probably feeling at least as bad as most of them but he's one of those guys who doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit" (though he does still grasp the concept of "whine"!).
He just kept going and going and going. I told him he could use the little back-up flashlight I had brought, just in case, and only later realized that I hadn't changed the batteries in awhile. Since the final 8 miles involve a steep treacherous 3000' descent, I was worried about him getting half-way down, exhausted and miserable, only to have the flashlight go dead and leave him out there lost in the dark on the side of the mountain.
We started at 7AM and by the official 11PM finish, still no Steve. The RD went out in a jeep to look for a woman who was reported to be down and incoherent on the trail, but there's no jeep access to most parts of that trail. They found Steve instead, about 1/2 mile off course, light still working, and he got in before Sunday. If you hold the finisher's list upside-down, he's in first place!
An amazing, gutty performance, pushing himself in ways most people could not comprehend!
(I'm buttering him up because he probably hates me now for talking him into this thing. Plus, he deserves the praise.)