A few weeks ago I had a workout labeled “Fun Friday”. It was a series of hilly bike loops separated by a little track work on the Davidson College track. I set up a tiny little transition area on the track and was a little surprised when the nostalgia hit. I was momentarily reintroduced to that young athlete from so many years ago. During the first and second round of track work I was feeling young, strong and pretty awesome. It’s possible my ego was inflating just a bit. What a Fun Friday!
After finishing my 3rd set of attacking hills on the bike, my track work was starting to feel hard. My legs felt heavy, my focus was tested, the track somehow got bigger, the weather was hotter, I’m sure I looked as rough as I felt and Fun Friday wasn’t feeling quite so fun. I finished my 3rd set of track work, transitioned back into my bike gear, and started a dialogue with myself about finishing one more loop of hill attacks….I can do this, this will make me strong…the very familiar pep talk I use to get through a hard workout. My internal dialogue was interrupted by a man who had been doing track work for the entire time I had been completing my “Fun Friday”. I couldn’t tell you anything he said initially because I was still partly discussing the remainder of my workout with myself. It wasn’t until his sentence included:
“You know, people our age”
OKAY – now he had my full attention. I chuckled and asked him how old he was.
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. My internal dialogue shifted gears immediately. He was more fit than many 30 year olds I know so shouldn’t I be flattered? Not exactly how I was feeling. He had no discernable body fat, he was fast, strong, impressive, okay maybe he meant – ”You know… people like us”
He had a head of grey hair – wasn’t it obvious I was much younger? Okay, I have a head full of grey hair. He was completely undeterred when I made sure he knew I was 48…a mere 20 YEARS YOUNGER THAN HIM! Pretty sure I wasn’t people his age. He just carried on as if I hadn’t spoken. He told me how he was training for Nationals and then gave me a pep talk about getting all my workouts in and working hard on each one. I got on my bike super impressed with him but also laughing about his obvious endorphin overload. Jeff would call him a “Fitness Freak” (his term of endearment for people like us)
I have laughed about the age portion of this conversation several times since that day. I haven’t thought much about the rest of the conversation except to smile at how happy and motivated this man was.
”When I am really his age, I hope to be that awesome.”
Thursday of this past week, I had my bag packed to get to the pool. I had planned my day perfectly to fit in all I needed to get done…my swim was part of that plan…the lightning storm that closed the pool was not part of my plan. Later in the evening, about the time “People my age” should be thinking of going to bed, I was back inside my head with my dialogue about whether I should go to the pool or not. The pool was now inconvenient and I felt justified in just staying home. How much damage will missing one swim do? Rest is important too. Guess who interrupted my internal dialogue again? This time I heard the end of his conversation:
“It’s a great feeling to get to the start line of your race knowing you have done all your work! Don’t have regrets because you didn’t complete a workout because it felt hard or was inconvenient! Get to that start line with the confidence you prepared the best you can! That’s when your race is your best!”
Okay….”People our age” grab our swim gear and head to the pool. Guess who else was at the pool? The fast, fit, swim like little fish high school kids who had to postpone their swim practice because of the lightening.