There comes a time when the body starts a very slow rebellion. I would say decline but decline sounds like it is a passive thing. You coast down a decline. The body tends to rebel while the spirit is still sending the signals to go, go, GO and the body says “oh yeah? Make me”. We all try and make the body go but it will only go so far, so fast, and for so long.
My body took a little longer to rebel, I think. One of my favorite things to do after a race, even into my (very) late 40’s was to hang out inconspicuously around the results print out and wait for someone to take a close look at the top 10 female finishers and invariably I would hear that someone say “Holy sh. . . ! Look how OLD this one is and she’s in the top ten!” I would smile and walk off. Ok, skip off. Day is done. Better than a medal. I am pretty certain I could still be a top 10 finisher at this age but the race would have to be a smaller one. Like say, ten people. Perhaps eleven. Very outside chance at twelve.
So, since the spirit isn’t ready, I plod along, expecting maybe a little bit less yet hoping for more but having the excuses ready when more doesn’t happen: Well, I’ve been injured. Well, she is 15 years younger than me. She is 10 years younger than me. She is five years younger than me. She is three years younger than me. She is six months younger than me. I think her birthday is the month before mine. You see where this is going, right?
Sure, I still have a few PR’s. There is the vacuuming PR – how fast can I vacuum the upstairs bedrooms without breaking a sweat? There is the car keys/glasses PR – how many days in a row can I go WITHOUT losing keys or glasses? I think my PR for that one is around a day and a half. And my personal favorite, the Heart Rate PR – how high can I get my heart rate without taking a header off the bike into the deep, dark abyss? I have PR’d that a couple of times in the last few weeks. And then, out of nowhere, a miracle happened.
You got it – a PR. A real PR. A real PR witnessed by at least one other person. Whoda thunk? It happened in, of all places, the pool. I am not going to give you details because the best thing about a PR is that it is a PERSONAL record and not a PUBLIC record, so I am not revealing the distance or the time but I can tell you this. It was real. And it felt just as good as it felt back in the day when PR’s were happening right and left. I hit the wall, heard my time called out and my head nearly exploded as my heart was racing (probably broke the Heart Rate PR at the same time – double PR!) and I started to hear “We Are The Champions” playing over and over in my head (another PR, new category – triple PR!) and I swear I saw confetti falling from the ceiling. Well maybe I was seeing stars resulting from setting a new Heart Rate PR. No matter, it looked pretty. As I was doing the internal happy dance waiting for accolades to come my way, the interval ended and it was time to swim again. Everyone pushed off as if nothing spectacular had happened. But it did. And I was there. And it felt good. Miracles always do.