Saturday, January 5, 2008

Age doesn't matter?

In triathlon years, I am now 62. Like thoroughbred race horses, who, regardless of when they were foaled in 2007, turn one year old on Jan. 1, 2008, triathletes must register in whatever age group corresponds with their age on Dec. 31. So, even though my birthday's not until August, I'm already a year older than I was a week ago.

I sometimes find it hard to believe I'm as old as I am -- then I catch a glimpse in a mirror of the gray-haired lady who lives in my house, or I observe that the other runners in my training group can do at least 3, maybe 4, miles in the same time I do 2. I shouldn't have been surprised when I passed a group of young male spectators at a recent 8K and they called out "Go, granny. Look at granny run." But, I was. It wasn't until I told the story later to friends that I could even think it was a humorous antecdote.

So, as another season begins, I ask myself, am I too old to compete? Of course, "compete" might be too strong a word. I usually finish pretty close to last, but I do finish. And since there usually aren't too many other entrants in my age group, I've collected some nice prizes -- a coffee mug, a sports bag, an insulted water bottle. I like doing triathlons because I was never athletic when I was younger and the training keeps me motivated to excerise. I'd like to do an Olympic distance this year -- something that a few years ago seemed an impossible feat. I'm not quite ready for the "booty farm" (my son told me years ago that when I got really old I could sit in a rocker and knit booties to support myself), so I'll keep "tri-ing" instead.

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