Saturday, June 5, 2010

Middle-Aged Guy at the Crossroads

Tonight, my 14-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy will be joining me in our first 5K event called Meet Me Downtown 5K.  It will be a great opportunity for my kids and I to enjoy doing something physical together and for them to see that ANYONE can get in shape, become more healthy and have fun doing it.

Will I win?  I going to say "unlikely", but it could happen!   It would take a miracle, but...

After the race, they are going to show a movie at the historic Fox Theatre.   The movie is "Saint Ralph" and I think it should be fun.  I haven't seen it, but it sounds like it is about a kid who is a real longshot to win the Boston Marathon. 

Many of us feel like longshots when it comes to doing something new.  Too many bad habits, too much history working against us, too much comfort in our normal routines, and too long of a road ahead. 

But changes happen every day.  New habits can be formed.  Resolve can kick in differently as we age.  We have more experience now, compared to last week, last month, last year.   Age can bring a new toughness...more fight in our soul, not weakness and frailty.

Pardon the introspection here, but I am a guy at the crossroads.   I'm 44 years old.  I have never been athletic and have always been overweight.  In May of 2009, I made one decision.  I committed to ride 35 miles in El Tour de Tucson in November of 2009, with a vague idea that it might change my life.  When I started cycling, I wasn't able to ride 2 miles without stopping for a break.  Six months later, I rode those 35 miles and came in 555th place out of 1,111 cyclists (exactly in the middle!).  Since then, I have ridden in 3 other races and I have another one in two weeks.  Tonight will be my first footrace (as the Brits used to call them). 

I am still figuring it out and getting stronger and more healthy each month.  Certainly, I've got a ways to go on this new journey.  But, my life has changed and I KNOW that I'm not going to play the 2nd half of my life with tons of "lifestyle" medicines and an ever-growing pattern of a sedentary lifestyle. 

I have friends who are starting (in their mid-40's) to settle in to "old-guy" status.  They are drinking cocktails after work every night.  Their most strenuous outdoor activity is becoming a "Master of the Grill" in the backyard (again with cocktails) or spending countless hours on the couch watching tv.  It's a comfortable and social life, but one that doesn't require burning any calories.  The cocktails are to relieve stress, due to our stressful jobs, etc., but could it also just be a more comfortable choice than getting on a bike or doing a slow nightly jog for a few miles around the neighborhood. 

I apologize if I seem judgemental toward anyone.  I am really directing that paragraph above to myself...I was getting comfortable with the idea of becoming that guy.  There is definitely is a line that middle-aged guys cross at some point, where they just know that no one will ever ask them to do a push-up, or sprint toward an actual finish line.   No more mandatory P.E. classes for the rest of your life.  I was happy about that, until I realized that I was just going to keep getting bigger and weaker and soon, would need a bunch of medicine to keep the machine running decently.  I guess I think of them now as "lifestyle" medicines, because a positive change in nutrition and exercise could replace those pills.

So, this Clydesdale Project?  This is my process of reversing the middle-aged guy's typical path.  Sure, I'll stumble and the progress may seem slow, but it will be steady!

I'm going to pull  a "Benjamin Button" by committing to big events, training for them and enjoying the results that follow.  Just like tonight's 5K.  That's the simple strategy: 


Thanks for encouraging me along the way, everyone.   I am extremely grateful.

Big Clyde


Miss S. said...

Good luck today-I know you haven't felt well.
"Benjamin Button" Love it!!

~HoneyB~ said...

Best of wishes to you and the lil ones on your race.... just smile and have fun in all this and I think the rest will follow ;)

I think women go through something similar to "middle age". Only, ours I think is triggered by the kids. Our kids get to a certain age and we have a mild freak out. Once your baby is a certain age (Diff for all women) you have one of two choices... become the soccer mom wearing mom jeans, sneakers and a mom hair do or, excuse the phrase, a MILF with muffin tops and a boob job. Either choice can be frightening :)))Although I think I might like BBQ King and his cocktails better :))

Love your post, reminded me oddly a bit of Tim Mcgraws song "In my next 30 years" If you havent heard it... you should check it out;)

Patrick said...

Excellent phrase, "New habits can be formed"... yep, dogs of all ages can learn new tricks, or, find old tricks they thought they lost. I am one of those "Masters of the Grill". And I will never not be addicted to grilling and turning a raw piece of meat into something awesome to eat. But, I am changing how I do it, instead of cooking up 8 racks of ribs at once, I cook one. The 20oz. porterhouses have been repalced by 6 oz.filet's, and more fish is hitting my grill than ever before. I am happy to follow you on your journey here. Certainly I know I find great inspiration from those who follow my blog and share their thoughts. Together we will each win our own respective Clydesdale Project. Go gett'em in the Meet Me Downtown event!

RockStarTri said...

You know there might be something to that " drinking cocktails after work every night, becoming "Masters of the Grill" in the backyard (again with the cocktail) or spending countless hours on the couch watching tv."

Unfortunately I'm too busy what I'm doing so I'll keep at it as long as I can but it is good to have a fall back plan.

Alan said...

Clyde, I'm right there with (except that I'm 39). Started riding a bike last summer as a first step and now am doing weight loss. Haven't done a race yet, but I have challenged myself. I need to ride more often - your example points that out. Good luck tonight!

CinciMom11 said...

Commit. Train. Results. Love it!!!

You really are setting a great example for your kids. That's so neat they'll be doing the run with you! I hope you guys have a blast. :)

Good for you for taking a stand against the comfortable lifestyle of the middle aged (and the meds that go with it). You have done an awesome job!! Have you told us about your next bike race yet?

The half marathon... I really wanted to do a triathlon, but I don't have access to a body of water, and I can't afford a bike that fits me. Like you, I like the idea of training for big events. 13.1 miles sounds like a decent challenge for now. If it goes well, I fully intend to do a marathon next year. Thanks for asking. :)

Kimberley said...

Excellent post.

Have a great time at the 5K and enjoy the movie!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Good luck at the 5 k

Life, work, training, family is all a tricky balance, and usually what falls off is training because we think we "dont really have to do it", but in my opinion training helps make the rest of everything else more enjoyable.

ThatNoiseInYourEar said...

Great. Now you have done it Clyde. You've exposed the pharmaceutical industry, the fast food industry, the soda pop and alcohol industries all in one post. Their going to find you and shut you up. They can't have this. They do not want anyone to move. Dont you know you are old after thirty? You have to use their lifestyle medicines to feel good. There is no other way. It's big money. They pray on our general lazy nature. They can't have this. They are coming for you. They will be taking your computer and all your copies of the movie Wall•e

Run Clyde run!

Of course, they will be screaming Sit Clyde! Sit!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Love the commitment and attitude! I'm also a midlife Clydesdale who is making the change - I applaud your efforts and look forward to following your blog.