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.