My friend consistently kicks my butt on every ride we go on. She can out climb me, out sprint me, out corner me in every way, unless she’s tired and I’m rested. Then we’re almost even.
She says that 42 is to old for road racing. Not with 30 year olds in the mix.
Someone slap her. I can’t do it, she’s my friend. But could someone? Please? Shake some sense into her.
Eight-eight is old. Like, when you get out of a chair and can’t hear yourself fart, that’s old.
I’m not 42, but I’m not 30 either, and I’m not sure exactly what happened, but all of a sudden, I’m not a kid anymore. I look in the mirror, and I see I’m getting little wrinkles. The braces are helping disguise my age, and I don’t mind that they’ve stayed on longer than they should. I’ll take anything that will give me a youthful appearance without requiring injections or surgery.
But I’m trying to understand at what age are we supposed to stop trying to get stronger, or accept that we just can’t compete anymore. Is there some magic number when it’s plainly pointless to toe the line?
And so I thought back to all the old people in my life, particularly my Grandma Cathy who took up lap swimming in her late sixties, and continued to swim ’til she she passed away at 88.
She even added on to her house, and built an indoor swimming pool, the kind that shoots out water so you swim in one place.
I tried it once, and beached myself. A garden hose was stronger than that current.
She swam every day for twenty minutes, but one day, she had noticed she had lost some toning in her arms. Let me be precise: whatever had been muscle there was now white, flappy skin. I suggested she do arm curls and tricep extensions with soup cans.
A few weeks later, she proudly pointed out some new definition. Let me be more precise: I didn’t look. Her arms scared me. I took her word for it and encouraged her to continue her weight training regimen.
She was thrilled to know that at 88 she could get stronger. She just kept getting better ’til she died, pretty much.
“Getting old isn’t for the weak,” she told me.
And so I’ve just decided, just now, that I’ll wait ’til after I’m dead to decide when I’m too old. Meanwhile, I’ve got a lot more training to do.