I'm a long time reader of this forum and have read Ryan's sage advise back to his days on a running magazine forum. I've been running for 15 years but would be considered a 'late onset' runner. I didn't get serious about running until my early 40's (I'm 57 now). I was never very fast (PR's of 6:00/mile, of 20:00/5k, 3:19/marathon; all in my late 40's) but had decent endurance.
By "decent endurance" I mean I never had a running injury (not counting a couple of bad falls on ice or potholes). Was a consistent daily runner (often going a year or more without a day off; my most recent "streak" was almost 5 years). I was not only consistent but did fairly high mileage (in my 40's 3000-4500 miles a year, in my 50's 2000-3000 miles a year).
Since turning 50 I've slowed a lot; and that trend has continued over the past 7 years! I was upset at first but eventually accepted it and became resigned that my PR's are now behind me. I was happy I could still do long, daily runs, for there own sake (and for the sake of my health, both mental and physical).
Then my running world crashed!
Early last fall I was on a morning run near the Great South Bay (Long Island) and decided to stop along the water front to take in the sunrise. There are guard rails to stop cars from driving into the bay and I've climbed over that one a hundred times over the years. This time a bolt head on the rail caught my toe as I jumped off. Instead of landing on my feet I did a 'split' in the sand (my 2 daughters are gymnasts; I think my split would have made them proud).
Anyway; I ended with a double hernia! At first I didn't know that; just figured it was a sprain; but each time I resumed running (that was the end of my 5 year streak too) the pain would return (usually after a week or two). I finally got diagnosed (via a CAT Scan) and will have laparoscopic surgery soon.
I've been told that after a few weeks I can return to my normal activities. On the top of my list of "activities" is a return to running! I'm certain I'll be a lot slower then I was even last fall. I once thought I would stop running when I couldn't maintain at least a 10 min/mile pace. I expect I'll be way slower than that but don't care. This has been a long, tough, winter and I miss my daily workouts! Wish I had it diagnosed sooner but looking forward to running this spring.