I’d like to say that when it comes to sport that ‘age is just a number’ or ‘like wine, you just get better with age.’ But since I am writing this post while lying on my stomach because a recent bout of sciatica is so painful that the act of sitting feels like I’m being cattle prodded in the butt, then I can’t drag out those cliches. There are advantages to being an older athlete but there are also disadvantages. For anybody under the age of forty who is reading this, here’s what you have to look forward to.
The day before the 1000 Lakes race, I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pant leg and dipped my foot into one of the lakes we’d be swimming in.
Having just spent the last four months training in 20°C water and 30°C land temps in the south of France along the Med, there was no way my foot was prepared for 8°C water. Turns out my entire body was not prepared for less than two digit land and water temps even with a wetsuit on. Our team (my beautiful and inspiring wife) and I DNF’d on race day. But I’m not disappointed or bummed or angry, I’m just happy we got as far as we did. Our training was exceptional and proved to us that we could make the cut off times. The cold really threw us for a curve though.
I know for a fact that even if you win a race, you look back and take stock of what you did well and what you need to work on. This is not because I win races but I have spoken with others who have. I think its important to look back and assess your training after every big race or season. When you do this, though, you can’t be too tough on yourself. Beating yourself up is just going to lead to a spiral. These races are a challenge, but most of all, they should be fun.
I grew up in a small town north of Toronto. I started running on country roads and fell in love with long distance running when I was twelve years old. I loved (and still do) getting up just before the sun and going for a run in the country. Running in Canada you get everything from 30+°C heat in the summer and minus 20°C cold in the winter. I started challenging myself when I was 13 and would just run for hours on the weekends not really knowing the distances or pace but just seeing if I could run to the next town and back and then set a new challenge. I first heard about an Ironman when I read an article about it in Sports Illustrated when I was about 13 years old. At the time, an Ironman was a disorganized, crazy endurance challenge and I set my sights on doing one. Finally did my first Ironman more than ten years later in Canada out in British Columbia after completing several marathons and several smaller triathlons. I finished. I still remembered how exhausting that first one was. Although I’m not fast, I love the endurance aspect of sports. This led me to the world of ulra-marathons where I’ve done a 50 mile, 100KM and 100 mile race. A few years ago, my wife told me about these swimrun races in Scandanavia. Easily the toughest endurance event I’ve done because you need to not only have endurance but you have to be quick. Then there’s the challenge of nature, the cold and trails. The best thing about it is being a team with my wife and sharing the highs and the lows that a demanding endurance sport brings. One moment you’re telling each other to fuck off and the next you’re kissing at the finish line.something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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