Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fox in the Henhouse!

Today's my birthday. When you’re a kid, you often wish you were older. You're jealous of what the grade ahead of you gets to do, and give yourself credit for half years, as in "I'm 9 and a half." Even my 2-year old daughter says “no ima big gurl” when I refer to her as my baby.  

At a certain point it’s no longer cool to add a "half," to your age, let alone a whole number. It’s not that I dislike my birthday, but I don’t really welcome it either. I’m not sure when the tipping point is, but for many people I’d say somewhere in the mid to late-twenties. It’s all relative I guess… I remember my brother and his college friends telling me I was “so old” when I was 26 and they were 19. Well, now he’s 26. My how time flies. On the other hand, compared to a 90 year old, 75 is a spring chicken. There are no guarantees in life, so we just have to live the best we can today. The hope is that if and when you get to be an old fart, you can look back on your life without regrets and be at peace. That’s a big reason why I do triathlons. It’s a way to set the bar high and push myself, and I feel that this mentality spills over to other aspects of life. Spencer Woolston summed this up perfectly in a recent post that I really like.

I propose that from now on, we should all just think of our age group instead of our age, making each year easier to swallow. For example in my case, turning 33 doesn’t faze me much because I’m still in the 30-34 age group. With this mentality the “age” in your head is pretty much static for five years at a stretch! Then when you hit the next age group the mentality shifts to "yo oldtimers, fox in the henhouse!" A great example of this was a guy on my masters swim team in Wisconsin. He was ecstatic to turn 60 in order to give the men’s 60-64 age group the bizness. He set his sights on Kona and took a crack at it at Ironman Wisconsin and Ironman Louisville (only 2 weeks apart!!). As far as I know he came up just a few minutes short on multiple occasions, but he's a great example of how we should go after stuff. I’m sure Jerry is now licking his chops for that 65th b-day.

On that note, it's shocking to me how fast some men and women are into their 50’s and even 60’s. It’s like the old guys strapping on their knee braces at the Y who can still ball pretty well with their old man moves, but times 100. In virtually every race I get beat by a handful of people a good decade or two older than me. There’s a local guy in his 60’s that terrorizes the younger generation. The last time we did the same race (a sprint distance last year) I felt good about my race, finishing ~25th out of ~300, and he was only a minute back! He routinely kicks his son’s butt, who’s in his late 20’s. I finally got to meet him at a later race where I did the olympic and he did the sprint, and I was like “dude, you’re an inspiration!” His response? “No, I’m a perspiration.”

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