It’s quite possible, in fact, if all goes as planned, 2012 could be the year when I become what I’ve always wanted to be: amazingly fit, happy with myself, and easy on others, thanks to my departure from the monthly rapids of hormonal conflict. Wouldn’t it be awesome to reflect on these successes on my birthday, 12/12/12, and a few days after I finish the 2012 Honolulu Marathon, the last event on my fitness calendar? If the world were to end 12/21/12, I’d be OK, I guess. But, well, I’m not Mayan, so let’s look beyond a pointless limitation. I expect I will have to renew my drivers license.
With one month and three events down, I cannot help but feel optimistic. I do have some twinges, and I am going to see a couple of doctors about this and that. I got on the scale yesterday and I had dropped about seven pounds since the beginning of the year. I had a feeling. Sometimes I have a feeling and the scale doesn’t confirm my optimism. But yesterday it did.
Challenging myself is what this year is all about. It’s a challenge to get home from work and put on my swim suit for masters training. At some point during those sessions I push the button on my Timex Indiglo and discover that I have less than 30 minutes of swimming to go. Some of my training leaves me heaving, clinging to the side of the pool, trying to catch my breath as I watch the time clock tick off the seconds until I have to push off the wall for another sprint. I’ve never said to myself “I can’t.” I’ve always pushed off, I’ve always tried, and some evenings I’m always last. But it sure beats sitting around.
It is amazing to me that I have found some peace in the contemplation of running. I do not run fast. In fact, last week while I was training, I felt like my legs were not doing what my mind wanted, which was to pick up the pace. I was clocking in paces at 12- to 15-minutes per mile, embarrassingly sluggish! But yesterday when I finished my 5k race at Kakaako Waterfront Park, I clocked in a pace of 10:90. A race is a race after all! I came in 7th in my age group, a pool of 13 women. The top three finishers clocked in with times of 26 minutes and various seconds. I am in awe.
At one point yesterday my friend Tootsie passed me. Then we hung together, then she pulled away. I told her if we were on bikes, I’d blow her away! We had a good laugh. But I didn’t completely lose her. And when we were approaching the finish, I found something within me that wanted to beat the clock. I saw it was 34:xx and ticking and I really wanted to beat 35 minutes! So I did, and Tootsie gave me a cheer to go for it. How nice is that?
It was a little disappointing not to get to ride my bicycle this weekend, but there are family obligations that take precedence. It could be a tough month to get on the bicycle, actually. Good thing I have other ways to help me reach my goals.
At yesterday’s running event was a woman who competed in the 45-49 age range and was dressed in tiny shorts that went up her butt crack and a tight little top. She was as tall as me but as spry as a pixie. And, forgive me, but I felt like she was inappropriately dressed and trying a little too hard to be what she will never be again. I know what that’s like, but I do hope I have enough sense to keep my cute ass from hanging out of my shorts.
The irony is that although we are training and getting fit and are really amazing, the pull of gravity has been at work on us much longer than it has on those 10 to 20 years younger. It really has. But so has life’s lessons. We’ve all been handed our humble pie, we’ve all been taken aside and gotten the constructive criticism we need to succeed. You can look at a crowd of women and see who’s putting the valued wisdom to work and who isn’t. I see the young, carefree, and reckless and wonder what they’ll be like when they’re my age. I was young and reckless and carefree. I survived. I learned. Some women don’t. Experience is a great teacher, if you choose to incorporate its lessons into your maturing modus operandi.
Now I know why I’ve always liked to talk to people who have been around a little longer than me. Especially the smart ones. After a while you realize that cats are easier to be around than kittens and dogs are more laid back than puppies. You really do.