At Sunday's race, I was surrounded by younger runners, and the ones I noticed the most were the pony-tailed cross-country and varsity runners. I tried to get away from them, and I tried to catch them. And I chased women whose faces and affiliations I couldn't see.
It happens at every race. I run after girls or ladies, wondering if they are in my age group or a Master. In the summer, when bare legs are showing and hips aren't compressed by winter tights, it is easier to tell. At this time of year, though, it can be a guess.
After I finished Sunday's 5K, I asked Kevin where he thought I was in the standings. "Do you think I was one of the top masters?"
"I'm not sure," he replied. "Maybe. The girl in the green? Did you catch her?"
"No, I tried but couldn't. But I don't think she's over 40."
"It's hard to tell. You don't look 50 either."
"That's because I'm not!" But I bite my tongue. "I have 6 months to go. Don't age me any faster!"
After some runs, 50 can't get here soon enough. Right now, I'm perfectly content being 49 and chasing girls in ponytails.