I’ve always accepted the unfortunate fact that men age better than women. We last longer, but they look better. Maybe not, according to Gina Kolata‘s recent piece in the Times. Unlike men, who get slower as they get older, we can get faster. Women are brought up with warnings against “overdoing it.” But it turns out the warners were wrong. Kolata says it takes women a few years to realize that pain is good. And pain makes you faster. So, at an impressive rate, older women beat younger women in races.

I was always the girl who ran from the ball in school. Only recently have I begun enjoying the benefits of overdoing it. Last night, I followed a younger, fitter man on a cyclocross training course that required me to crash over rocks and ride sideways across tilting downhill slopes with my feet locked into the pedals of a skinny-tired bike. I crashed once—-trying to spin up an impossibly steep incline and falling backwards down the hill. The next time, I made it.