Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I guess the slow progression toward old age is really bothering me. How do I know this? Is it the repetitive checking of grey hairs? Nah. They blend with the blondes. Is it the constant checking of my back-fat in the mirror? Nah. Been doing that for at least 15 years. No, it's the fear that won't be able to do things that I should've done in my 20s or my 30s. And when opportunity knocks, I don't bother looking through the peephole, or whatever you want to call it. (Peephole is just the wrong word...) Instead, I just swing the door open and say: "C'mon in..."

And that's what happened when Terry emailed me.

"Hey, let's do this little triathlon at Bear Creek. It's called the Dirty Grizzly. The shirts look cool."

Hmm...I have three marathons in two months this fall. I've been training fairly strongly and seriously for the past three months. Sure, why not mess everything up? Heck, there's a cool shirt involved!

The details are gory. The race was ugly. Basically, it was a highly technical mountain bike race with a little swim thrown in at the start (oh, there was a ton of goose poopers everywhere...) and a short run (2 miles) up a ski slope to the top of the mountain and then back down on rolling rocks. The bike ride, however, was a task I will not soon forget.

Within the first quarter-mile, I flipped the bike downhill, and over rocks, onto my head. That was, I repeat, the first quarter-mile. What was I thinking? I just kept letting people pass me, people who I had beat in the swim and little transition. People who were not nearly in the same physical condition as me, but who knew how to jump bikes over rocks. Long-story-short: I carried that bike for at least five of the six miles on the trail. It took me an hour and 53 minutes to do so. I rode off the trail, smashed my tailbone, earned bruises the size of cantaloupes on both legs. Three days later, I still feel as though I was in a car crash.

Someday I'm going to listen to my own advice, the warnings that I yell down the street as Grace and Kendall attempt to ride off on their bikes while wearing flip-flops. I didn't listen to my gut, my common sense. listened to my young heart, the one that says I don't want to grow old. I don't want to be left behind. I want to remain young at heart, even if old age threatens to stop that. After the race, we all gathered on the deck of Bear Creek, nursing beers and sharing bloody wounds with people half our age, people who look like they were at mosh pits the weekend prior. Yeah, we held up. We survived. We didn't just roll over.

And the shirt? Terry was right. It's pretty cool.

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