I forgot my iPod!!! I realized this as I got out of the truck Saturday morning in front of the 24hr fitness….this was the second time I had been here this week and I wasn’t really happy about it. Especially knowing I was going to have to endure an hour of house music when I’d much rather be out riding my bike on the trails listening to the leaves under my tires, the chirping of the birds, anything but house music....Unfortunately, between everything going on at work, the rain we’ve had and the early darkness of winter, it hasn’t worked out that way. I guess a couple of miles on the treadmill and some time with the weights is better than nothing….
I’ve resolved to try to stay in shape this winter. I’m not going to use the cold, the wet and the darkness as an excuse to slack off in the hopes that I can gain it all back come Spring because that’s getting harder and harder to do. As I’ve gotten older it seems like, not only do I have to work harder to stay at the same level of fitness, but time off affects me much more dramatically than it did when I was younger.
In addition, with my back acting up, and the doctors not having any solutions other than drugs, fitness is my only defense against immobility and constant pain….so here I am. It’s 7:00am on a Saturday morning and I’m on the treadmill lumbering along like an overweight gorilla, sucking in huge mouthfuls of stale inside air while the kid next to me runs like a rabbit, barely breaking a sweat and chatting up the girl in the too tight shorts wearing full makeup on his right…
That’s ok, this is what it’s all about right?….we suffer now so we can enjoy the rides, the ski days, the races and not suffer later….Right? Wrong! It’s totally wrong and it’s a lie….I’ll still suffer later, my legs will still ache and quiver from exhaustion on the last ski run of the day, my lungs will still burn and struggle for air on the last mile of the weekly ride or the last half of whatever stupid race I get talked into riding in….no matter how much I train or how much I suffer in preparation, it seems I still suffer later…..So why bother? Why not just sit on the couch and watch football all day instead of going for a ride or going for a run? Why not just relax and take it easy?
Because although, I’m going to suffer later, I’m hoping that I’m not suffering as much as my friends and that’s REALLY what it’s all about….keeping up with the fast guys on the last climb or beating the young guys to the bottom of the mountain, or getting to the end of a sprint and standing around waiting for the others to catch their breath while I'm making small talk. Telling them it’s no big deal when you all know it IS a big deal….it’s the only deal…..
As we get older there are no more playground bullies to stand up to, no more school sports activities to measure ourselves by, no more corner offices to strive for…..there are only our friends to compete with. Other old fat guys just like us fighting the same age related injuries and illness, the same too much work, too little training time schedules....these are our competitors, our friends. Most of who are just like us. They too want to be the first one up the climb or down the mountain or across the finish line…..and that’s why I’m here, at the gym running on a treadmill when hopefully my friends are still home warm in their beds…..