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Age

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Back in May I went running. I know, nothing unusual about that.   I took my time running through town, proudly sporting my 2010 Boston Tech T, steadily making my way to one of the more popular running roads.  As I turned left on to that road, I could see another runner coming from the opposite direction.   He was younger, faster and wearing the same shirt. A quarter mile later he caught up to me.

“Nice shirt,” I said as he began to pass me.

“Yeah, you too,” he replied.

He fell in step with me and asked how I did.

“3:32,” I said, “not bad for a old guy.”

“Not bad at all,” he said genuinely.

“You?” I asked.

“2:25”

Cue record scratch sound. Cue my stutter step and double take.

“2-, 2:25? 2:25?”

“Yup.” He almost seemed uncomfortable with it and quickly changed the subject to my then spankin’ new Bikilas. We chatted for another quarter mile or so, but the whole time I was thinking “2:25?” I looked at this kid. He must have been somewhere between 18 – 25 (it’s getting harder to tell as I get older), running along gracefully with the stride of youth.

I started thinking, “wow, I’m old. I could be twice this kid’s age and he’s running a 2:25. Who am I with my 3:30?” Pangs of doubt led to the awareness of the pains of age. Every little pang I usually ignore in my legs suddenly became very noticeable.   Suddenly I felt very much like a 40 year old, something I hadn’t felt since I started running.

I asked myself, “why am I doing this?”

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5 months later I answered that question – Why am I doing this?

I’m doing it for this feeling:

 

Official Time - 3:19:19 - BQ

It was shortly after that run in with “2:25” that I reminded myself that yes, I was probably twice his age BUT I should be proud of that.   The truth is, when I was that kid’s age, there was no way I would/could do what I am doing out there today.   I was a physically old 20 year old.  Today, I am a physically young 40 year old.  Comparing myself to this kid was ridiculous, but comparing myself to my 20 year old self made a lot more sense.

Aging is inevitable.  Regardless of how well we take care of ourselves, we will eventually have to yield to Father-Time.  But how we get from 20 to 40 to 80 and beyond, and how long it is before we must ultimately throw in the towel, is, to a degree, in our own hands.  I will be 41 next Wednesday.  If I focused solely on the number I would end up down a rabbit hole of depression.  In widening the lens, taking in the bigger picture, I realize that at 41 I will weigh less, run faster and be stronger than I was at 21.  I may not recover as quickly from a night of partying like a rock star like I used to, but in the end, 41 is looking pretty damned good.

 

20-something year old Luau

40-year old Luau

Do you know what you want to look and feel like on your next birthday? or are you already there?

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Why do you run?

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