Saturday, March 5, 2011

Every Race is a Championship

"The older I get the Better I Was"
That is the phrase we would recite to an old TriAthlete friend when he would start his rant about his previous accomplishments. Of course it was all in jest. We loved our buddy, and he was a very good athlete in his glory days. But it seemed he would add just a little bit more drama as he recounted his past triumphs. J is now 60+ years old and he still looks great, but he can no longer run, or bike as he once could due to a total knee replacement. J started his athletic feats early and pushed the envelope to the extreme. And often pushed through injury after injury. He enjoyed and relished his victories and now can only reflect on them. None the less, he built a very physical and healthy lifestyle. One he still adheres to, although at a lower level.
I have always been active but I was always a middle of the pack runner and biker. Now that I am older though I am enjoying some success (as far as awards). Small as it may be. Some of this success is due to the fact that as I get older the field in my age group is getting smaller! I won my very first award at a trail marathon in 2005 when I was 46 yrs. old, The masters division. Sure the field was small but hey, I was there to run! Every race is a Championship right? We are there to test ourselves against the course and whoever shows up. Now in my 50's I have enjoyed more victories (3rd place). I am still here and hope to still be enjoying the running experience for years to come. And completing every run or race is a success and a victory.
I am reminded of my uncle Raul, My Dad's brother, who was very active all his life. Uncle Raul was the only one in his family who exercised on a regular basis. He also played softball all of his adult life. In his late 60's I remember him saying to me "I can't wait to get into the over 70 league! Those guys are slow!" Unfortunately, uncle Raul, now in his late 70's, suffers from Parkinson's disease. He still has his wits about him. He just cannot control all his body movements. When I see him he tells me, " You look good. Your still running, I can tell. Keep it up"
These two guys, J and Uncle Raul, challenged there bodies and enjoyed life. They are Champions!
They now have succumbed to our limitations as humans. But they LIVED! And still live.
Do it till you can't do it anymore.

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