I wish I could be less proud. Every time a woman or an old man runs by me, I feel the urge to speed up, catch them and pass them again. Of course, I am not trained enough to be able to afford sprinting. How can I get over it? - Running with Dignity
Yours is a classic case of seeing the glass as half empty, and while I understand your angst, you must learn to accept the universal axiom that there will always be someone faster than you.
Consider your capacity for speed since birth. At just three minutes of age, every able-bodied 20 year old young adult held the ability to run 160% faster than you. As your body grew more cells, and the mitochondria began to develop firmament within your leg muscles, this speed gap gradually decreased. On your 11th birthday, an untrained 42 year old masters class runner could run 93% faster than you could, even with your hair on fire.
During your senior year in high school, you might have been a member of the track team. In the supposed prime of your running life, your body would have held the ability to race along at a comfortable 6:30 per mile pace for short distances such as the mile or 5,000 meter race.
Your aging rival, in his or her early 50s, would have been running slower distance races, such as the marathon. Aware of the dangers of injury and training carefully, your elder competitor would have maintained a slower yet steady pace of 8:30 minute miles.
And that's when you went to college, had fun, and enjoyed the fine delicacies of pizza products and the health benefits of unfettered carboloading with two row malt and noble hops. Chances are that with all your studying and focus on co-ed sports, running became a low priority, if it ever made the to-do list at all.
We then fast forward twenty years, past that career building / family growing / lawn mowing phase of your life. You're a fully matured professional something-or-other, and you decide to take to the roads as a casual, then serious runner.
Guess what? That aging constant runner has maintained her or his body in such a way that his or her ever decreasing average running pace is still a bit better than what you, in your more recent renewed acquaintance with the road, are able to muster.
If you're like me, you don't or wont deny yourself the finer, creamier poly saturated fat filled things of life... thus carrying an extra 10 pounds of ballast on your life form. This combined with your amateur runner status explains your slower than elders pace and performance.
What you need is to conjure some pride! Learn to recite these self affirming phrases:
"Well, yes, that grandmother can beat me... but I'm carrying the weight equivalent of a small turkey with me".
"True, that old guy finished way ahead of me, but that's because he's more aerodynamic than I".
It has been estimated that the normal reduction rate of VO2 Max (maximum oxygen consumption capability: a major factor in running performance) for most inactive humans is 9% per decade. Healthy runners who keep at it throughout the aging process can expect to reduce this decrease to 5% per decade. As we increase in age, we decrease in speed: thems just the facts.
As a runner, your glass will always be in various stages of full and half full. You should celebrate when you see an elderly runner beat you in a race, because he or she live as vibrant proof that one day you'll be able to reach such speeds. They show that you have the potential to improve past your current abilities!
And if you need further evidence of this potential, I'd encourage you to take a moment at the end of your next road race, to watch the younger runners who finished behind you cross the finish line! That glass you've got there is looking fuller all the time. Drink up and enjoy!
Run long and taper.