*My realisation in the pool on Monday was compounded by a 6km run this morning. It was hard, but I decreased my finishing time by about 5 minutes.
Five minutes, dropped easily enough on a circuit I have been tootling around at a pace of 6.41 per km for the last month and patting myself on the back for running. What a Peanut.
I hadn’t even tried for the first km as I was just jogging along to my tunes knocking out my normal run right up until I asked myself “hey, how fast can I go?” Then I began to truly power up. Checking splits on my watch every time it ticked off another km, I watched the numbers go down into the 5’s. The things we can do if we simply try.
I didn’t even slow to talk to my old man random friend on the corner who rides his bike to the end of the block and back each day. Sadly I realised that him at 80 riding his bike 100 metres and turning around and me at 49 half assing it around a nominal circuit was probably proving him the better athlete. He nodded seriously and said “getting it done hey” I puffed back “yes we are”.
How fast can I go?
I still don’t know the answer to that question because I’m building steam. I might know the answer to that in a couple of months but hopefully not – hopefully I’m a wizened 90 year old one day, whispering to myself “holy cow!” But that doesn’t happen. At some point the potential for fitness growth is stalled – I just don’t want it to be yet. Please don’t be yet when I feel like I’ve only just been kicked in the bum by the universe.
This is isn’t about pure physicality, although that is from where these insights are currently arising. This is about life in general. Maybe a mid life crisis is no joke. Maybe we actually do realise at some point that we are getting older and that our bodies will simply not be capable of growing stronger and fitter forever.
Quick Plot twist – maybe you saw it coming. I didn’t.
I’ve signed up for a half marathon in June. I write these words with a feeling of utter disbelief and a big surge of excitement. It gives me a date and a goal for something, but more than that, for the first time in my life I’m hungry. Hungry for a win, even if that win looks like a heartfelt all out personal best and not a medal. Especially if it is that – that is all I want from and for myself – my best.
I’ve never competed in my adult life, never been particularly competitive, because in my heart, no matter how fit I was, I feared failure. This was the very weak and ordinary conclusion I came to when I gave this subject a bit of thought this morning. So I don’t allow myself to dream or get determined about competitions. Plenty of other things – just not competitions. I don’t enter races for that reason. I let myself off the hook time and again, because the hook is an uncomfortable place to be.
But there are worst places.
This morning I felt the first cold fear of death and decrepitude – not due to arriving at that reality. But rather, doing so without having ever known what I was truly capable of. Not just in a physical way but in every aspect of my life. How terrifying.
I don’t want to reach those haloed extremities of my life span with heavy “shoulds” wishes, regrets and remorse. I’ve already wasted too much time blowing candles of potential out.
So I’m firmly on the hook for the 5th June race day, but I’m also on the hook for every day up until that date, and every day thereafter.
What is the point if there is no edge? The hook doesn’t get comfortable – that’s not the way of the hook. The hook is sharp, shaped like a beckoning finger – it leads us towards a better version of ourselves. The hook is not to be feared, it is to be embraced.
Blog post written 22/3/22