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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 do.

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 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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    As always - awesome BLOG!
    I concur - better shape in my 40's than ever before!!!
    Have a wonderful birthday!
    1435 days ago
    Can I claim up until now as the "wasted years"......its taken me that long to get with the program and realize that I am worth it!! And start making choices that are beneficial to ME!!
    You are such an inspiration Robert...I may not have a triathlon in me but I can still be active and healthy. Love reading about your journey and accomplishments.
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    1435 days ago
  • v FITFOODIE806
    Rock those 40s!!! I am so happy for you. And as usual, extra inspired. (Olympic distance tri on Saturday. Sounds like you could just hop in and do it for me!!)
    1435 days ago
    "The essence of I WILL" How powerful... thought provoking...Life changing...
    You, my friend, are this essence. I want to be also. Not, I am going to but I WILL. As powerfui as I AM.
    Lovely brain food today. Thank you
    Happppppppy Birthday soon too. You are still a baby! (I am 56 so I can say that!)
    1435 days ago
  • v STHAX10
    1435 days ago
    Thanks Robert....just what I needed to get my exercise in today. I'm gonna put the gel seat cover I got for my birthday (only last Octorber) and go for a spin! A walk didn't sound good and putting up with the youngsters at the gym tonight didn't sound like fun. A ride it is! Hugs...glad you are doing so well!

    1435 days ago
  • v BLUEROSE73
    love it. Thanks for sharing. I think I have something to look forward to as I turn 40 in the next few months.
    1435 days ago
  • v LYNSEY723
    What an amazing blog. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for this post - it's exactly what I needed to hear!! You're doing amazing!!
    1435 days ago
  • v KELLIGIRL523
    You're absolutely awesome! A great inspiration.
    1435 days ago
    your thirties weren't wasted--they were teaching you something--whatever it was it has brought you to this wonderful place. i am so very happy for you--you keep on going. and happy 43rd on the day.
    1435 days ago
    GOOD FOR YOU!!!! AND have a Kick A$$ birthday!
    1435 days ago
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    1435 days ago
    That is totally how I feel about my 30s granted I only turn 32 this year but at 29 I reclaimed myself and I ran a marathon at 30 I did my first tri at almost 31 I have noticed the same feeling that you have, its the fact that maybe I am finally living life instead of just existing in it.
    1435 days ago
    I do have a list of things to accomplish before I hit 85. Or maybe 90.
    1435 days ago
    I am 46 and I just started exercising regularly. It has been difficult, but I feel better than I have in a long time. I haven't gotten to the place where I love to excersize (yet!), but I keep going with thoughts of people like you and other Spark friends. Thanks for the great blog.
    Kelly emoticon
    1435 days ago
    Good for you, youngster! I intend to take it a step further. The 60's are MINE! 1/2 marathon two days before I turn 60 next November... and I'm in the best shape of my life NOW, at 59... the sky is the limit, young Ironman!
    1435 days ago
    You are such an inspiration!! after this weekend i start to slow down a little at the bakery and plan on working my plan full force again. its been really hard to stick with it this summer. I just hope the tired goes someday when i catch up on rest.
    Thanks. Robert..for being Robert!!
    1435 days ago
    Wow. Thanks so much. I'll turn 49 in October and feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. I love the thought of getting healthier and being able to do things that I never would have thought of doing before. I never thought I'd become a runner at the age of 48. Who knew... Thanks again for your blog.

    1435 days ago
  • v TAYGRL
    i was SOOOO feeling this blog entry. i too, will be 43 this september 25th. and while i still have a ways to go til my GW, i am currently down 27 lbs and with 5lbs of the the 52 lbs i lost back in 2007. yeah, the past year has been about nothing BUT change but i am coming out on top and looking forward to the future with all its uncertainty.

    here's to us! cheers!
    1435 days ago
    In so many ways ... you already have. Godspeed!
    1435 days ago
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