I'm 42. Let's face it, I'm not a pup anymore. To be honest, this confuses Why?
Here's the thing. My birthday a few months ago confirmed that I am, in fact, 42 years old. 42?! Yes... I have said it 3 times in four sentences now. You get the point.
According to 'them', whoever 'they' are, I am no longer at my prime. Of course, you can find different opinions on this topic. As you can with anything.
From one source:
"There are certain immutable truths concerning the performance of the human body as it ages, particulary as the athlete reaches age 40. The physical peak for most humans, in most sports, is between 25 adn 35 years of age: during this peak period, the well-conditioned athlete can create a confluence of muscular strength, peak cardiovascular and oxygen transport, speed and reaction time, and mental capabilities ( including the ability to deal wiht competitive pressures) all bound together by a desire to succeed.
The heart, as with every other human muscle, will gradually lose efficiency and power over time.
However,(I like this part) for sports in which strength ( both muscular strength and bone density) , oxygen uptake, and cardiovascular efficiency are vital to success, the aging process may be slowed, though never halted or reversed, ......... From this peak of ability, runners will continue to perform at levels close to their personal best into their late 30s and early 40s; performance then declines at a rate of approximately 2% per year through age 80."
Ok... so we get older. And for a while we can do our best to fight it. But eventually, we must accept it.
Therefore, I guess it's now or never.
Last year was my fastest year in the sport. I had PR in my first sprint Tri in May and I had two huge PRs in my Ironman races. I nearly won an Ironman ( otherwise known as 2nd place) , I placed top 10 in my age group in Kona and ranked #6 in my age for the year by USAT. I'm pretty darned pleased with that. I really am. Was it my best year?? I loved it. But I have been lucky to have a lot of 'bests' along the way.
Let's see... One of my all time favorite moments was my first ever Triathlon win. The WildBear sprint in Poland Maine... only 5 months post- surgery for a wrecked rotator cuff. I won. It blew my mind.
My best rally was in 2008. I was caught in the current of an ocean river and stuck Under the buoy. It was terrifying. Truly. Heartstopping. I got free, continued on, and only ~ 5 miles into the bike flipped head first over my bars. I landed on my head and trashed the left side of my body. After laying on the road, having a pity party and deciding to Quit all things Triathlon, I realized nobody had caught me yet so I got back on my bike. The rest of the race was fantastic. I rocked. Came in 5th overall and 2 of the women in front of me were Pros. And then... I headed to the med tent to deal with some Serious pain and injury.
If you look closely, you can see my beat up arm. And possibly the pain in my expression. I was holding it in....
Mooseman Half Ironman 2009--I can't pinpoint this one. But I felt like superwoman from start to finish. It was a race I'll always remember. Even the song that was stuck in my head when I raced.
Every single year I have so many amazing new memories added. I wish I could tell you about one favorite race with my boys screaming on the sidelines. But I can't. Because they are there all the time. My parents are usually with them and of course, Mark. I have the best supporters. I have posters ( thanks to my dear friend Marisa) and notes and cards of good luck from my family filling my drawers. They are always there.... that is my best for every race.
look at this poster-- out on the run course in LP. Happiest Mom around... And can you read the one Nick is holding? " You are gunu win this thing. love nick go go go" almost babe, almost.
I can't begin to talk about all my favorite and best moments. This trip has been so rewarding for me.
And yet... here I sit... heading into 2012....
I'm older and wiser. I'm experienced and I'm still full of drive. Last year was so incredible for me, performance-wise. It all came together in so many ways. The thing that I need to point out is that this didn't happen over night. I have, in some ways, been working towards my big 'wins' last year, my whole life.
Here I am now. Arguably in better shape than I ever have been in my life. I am ready for this season. I am able and willing to do my best again. New races and new adventures are on my plan.
All I need is to keep the faith. Some days I have it. I feel it and I know, deep down, that I still have what it takes. After all, it was only 6 months ago that I had the most amazing day out in Hawaii. It was only 9 months ago that I smashed my old Ironman PR and nearly took home the gold. Me? It still makes me wonder..how? How did that happen? I'm old! Right?
I honestly do 'double takes' with myself at times. I start to think about my goals and what I want to achieve. I get fired up when I read about other performances and I decide, oh yea! I can do that! Yes!! If She can, I Can! And then I stop... and I realize..wait. She is only 34 or 37 or 29. I, am not. Who do you think you are Ange? You are done! You are joking yourself!! You had your year... that's it! It was just lucky that last year was that good. You have reached your potential! You are past your prime and dont' fight it! Take what you did and be proud and move on...."
Um... who was that? Where does that mean soyouthinkit'stimetothrowinthetowel voice come from?
I am not ready to throw in the towel! If I was faster last year, why can't I be faster this year? Right?
I believe in myself. I do. I know I still have it. Sure, some days I feel old and creaky. And yet, other days, this firey animal comes alive and I crush workouts like they were written for my kids. Ha! Take that! I am not ready to sit down and accept the science of aging. Not me.
I believe in me.... And I think that is all it takes.