Thursday, August 23, 2012
As I write this, I am rapidly approaching my 43rd birthday (August 28th). For most of us, the looming specter of our forties is the kiss of death to any illusions of youth, vitality, and for some, hope for change. Everywhere blogs abound speaking of the urgency of accomplishing this or that before I hit the dreaded 40 as if at the stroke of midnight, the death angel will come and steal away all hopes and dreams with a single blow.
At 38, I was in the same boat.
Here I am 5 years later on top of the world. It has taken dedication and a commitment to cause that borders on fanaticism. When I was in the Air Force, I worked the flight line. How awesome it was to watch the FB-111 take off in full afterburner. Your chest would shake from the roar, the brilliant purple flame rocketing it's passengers to thousands of feet within seconds. Then they would have to refuel right away..... Wow, how come? It takes far less fuel to maintain altitude than it does to break the bonds of gravity.
It seems as if our forties is a time of reckoning with the years of careless, excuse filled living. One day we wake up and what we see in the mirror scares us. Like the fighter jet, to break the bonds that holds us down, will require maximum single minded effort. I found in my journey it isn't perfection that gets you there, it is the hard core, Hell or high water, never quit no matter what attitude that wins. I have screwed up so bad sometimes one would wonder if I was even trying but I never gave up....still don't.
I guess all of this train of thought came about because I was searching my own heart for something to be thankful for. I look back and I realize that I have beaten the odds. It wasn't a random, gosh you are sure lucky sort of occurrence. It happened because although discouraged, I never quit. I love what I do too much. It is this love for the bike, then the run, then ultimately the swim that has given me so much focus.
I have OWNED my forties. These are the best years of my life...ever. I am in the best shape of my life, don't let the spare tire fool you. I am a work in progress for sure but I am a champion, a warrior for my age group.
Friday, I finished a 53 mile ride in 3 hrs 30 min with a max speed at almost 36 mph average of 15. Just yesterday, after work, I decided to go for a ride. What started as a simple ride turned into the final two legs of an Olympic distance triathlon. On a wild hair I just went with the flow and did 26+miles on the bike then transitioned to a 10k run....insane right?? Today, I felt great at work. For sure I am taking today off but I mean who does stuff like that just for fun???
I did it because it flies in the face of my past where I had chest pains and wheezed just climbing stairs. I did it because I celebrate my freedom by pushing my limits, it's just in me to do it. I can get like that, leap without looking, just do it. I dunno, sometimes I just gotta.
I guess for me, being in my forties means being old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyway...
I digress. I'm really not some dude with a chip on his shoulder or something to prove ...except...to himself.
I will never recapture the wasted years of my thirties. I refer to them as the lost decade. However, this one thing I will do, I will never quit, never give up, and never lay my sword down. I will never accept someone else's standard for my life, neither will I accept any less out of myself than the very best I can do. Life is too short to do any less.
This is the very heart of what it is to be an Ironman...
The essence of I WILL.