November 24th, 2009
02:30 PM ET

50on50: Thanksgiving Day Speed


Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I was proudly telling our 30-something year old babysitter of my 30-something minute jog this week in the cold, hard rain. Another example, I thought, of why, as I turn 50, her 18-49 year old demo is finished as a meaningful category. That’s when our babysitter said something that hit me like a cold hard rain.

The Atlanta Half-Marathon

Our 30-something babysitter’s name is Anna. And, apparently, Anna runs more than I do. Not necessarily better. Just more. She’s going to run in the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.

When I told her how much I enjoyed running in the cold rain this week, she asked me if I wore a hat.

A hat? … I chuckled. What kind of hat?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/23/art.sneakers.jpg]

One of those new high-tech UnderArmour hats with the little flap in front that protects your face from the biting rain, she answered.

I recently went on an UnderArmour shopping spree, which you can read about here, but I didn’t come across any hat.

Besides, I chuckled again, I loved the feel of the cold rain on my face as I sailed through the hills of my neighborhood.

That’s when she hit me with this aside.

“I find that without a hat, the rain hurts your face when you’ve got speed.”

When you’ve got speed?!


Oh, I get it. The faster you run, the harder the rain hits your face.

So the fact that it was raining hard in the first place but that it wasn’t bothering my face might be an indication that I DIDN’T HAVE SPEED!

Well, I can’t deny it. I’m running strong as I approach 50. Strong but slow.

I won’t reveal my speed. It’s measured in minutes per mile. That’s as specific as I’ll get.

But the idea that I never picked up enough SPEED for the rain to hurt my face stings me.

Where can I get that hat, I asked Anna.

That’s when she informed me of the pre-half-marathon runner’s paradise going on today a couple of miles from my house. The Runner’s Health & Fitness Expo!


Our babysitter, Anna, is hoping that, among other products they’ll be selling at the Runner’s Expo today, is the Lance Armstrong style band that allows you to wear your name and contact information on your wrist.

Aah, yes. I understand. Those of us in the heart of and the about-to-be-out of “the demo” have a lot more in common than you’d think. We all want to be identified … just in case.

And a wrist band is less cumbersome than carrying your driver’s license if you’re trying “to get speed.”

Our babysitter’s description of the variety of paraphernalia that might be available at the Runner’s Expo has convinced me I must pay a visit today. I will report my findings to you in this space.


I’ve told Anna, about my 50on50 campaign to destroy the 18-49 year old demo worshippers. When I asked her whether I could expect to meet a lot of people “out of the demo” at the Runner’s Expo, she was encouraging.

The people in her training group include a wide variety of ages, she said, adding that there are “people in their 50s!” ... Pause ... “And 60s too.”

At The Runner’s Expo, I will try to enlist them in my campaign against the 18-49 demo.

And while I’m there, I may buy that hat.

Because in this battle to create a new demo for a new age - as I turn 50, I plan to pick up speed.

Filed under: Michael Schulder • Opinion
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. A. Smith, Oregon

    Its difficult to comprehend any American Corporation that isn't working their employees so hard that any of their employees could have the time and energy to run a marathon.

    If word got back to the management, additional tasks would suddenly appear for that employee with ever longer hours and suffering would be the direct result.

    And of course if that overworked employee quit, he would lose any matching 401K contributions which would be taken and divided among senior management, and his/her replacement would begin with a much lower salary, making it a win-win solution for American corporate greed.

    November 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  2. Kathy

    I just turned 47 and have enjoyed your blog posts–I'm not too far behind you! I too am a runner and I also enjoy racing. It is always amazing to me how many entrants I see in races in the 40's and 50's age categories. In the last 5K I ran I came in first in my age category, but the woman that came in just ahead of me was in her fifties. Go ahead and buy that hat, you've still got plenty of time to work on speed!

    November 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  3. Lori

    My grandfather was a professional athlete and ran 10 miles per day until well past 60. And after running he jumped rope very fast for at least 30 minutes. He truly believed that youth is all in your head. He was a man before his time.
    I think all of us approaching 50 should agree to be better at 50 than we were at 40. It can be done.

    November 24, 2009 at 9:02 am |

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