Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Movin' On Up!

This week is 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." 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 necessarily welcome it either. It’s all relative I guess… I remember my brother and his college friends telling me I was “so old” when I was 28 and they were 21. Well, now they’re 28... 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. That’s one thing I love about triathlon… it’s a great way to get after, and enjoy, each and every day, and I feel that this mentality spills over to other aspects of life as well.

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. 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, as I am this year, the mentality shifts to "yo oldtimers, fox in the henhouse!" A great example of this was a guy on my masters swim team when I lived 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 Louisville (only 2 weeks apart at the time!). 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 was licking his chops for that 65th b-day as well.

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 1-2 decades older than me. For example, this past Saturday I hopped in a local 10K as a training run and measuring stick of where my running is at. I was happy with my race, holding 6:50 average pace and placing 3rd in my age group. Here’s the thing though… had I been in the men’s 50-54 age group, I would have taken 9th. 9th!!! For good measure there was a 55 year old guy who beat me as well… these older dudes simply ran circles around me. Lastly, I was super impressed by a 79 year old man who ran 8:39 pace… that’s faster than most 19 year olds can handle.

On the tri scene, there’s a local guy in his 60’s who terrorizes the younger generation and routinely kicks his son’s butt. I met him at a race a couple years ago and was like “dude, you’re an inspiration!” His response? “No, I’m a perspiration.”

In summary, I guess age is just a number after all. Regardless of your own number, set your goals high and go get'em!

Modified post from 2013

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