Recently I was watching the last couple of hours of the Ironman World Championships being streamed live from Kona – by the time I switched on there was around 15 hours on the clock. I suppose being a back of the pack Ironman finisher, this is my end of the race, I get what being out on the course for that long means.
I wouldn’t trade my back of the pack experiences for a faster time because for me it is in the back of the pack that the magic happens. Does this mean I wouldn’t like to be able to go faster, definitely not, I would love it if my body would go faster, but it doesn’t. Does this mean that I think less of those athletes who win the event, or who post faster time, definitely not – they are heroes too. Whether it is the guy who wins or the one who is last, the all cover the same distance and they all give every ounce of themselves out there on the course.
But this is not what I found to be the most inspirational aspect of this year’s race. What inspired me was the number of athletes who were over 60 and who were finishers of the toughest day in sport. Indeed, the number who were over 70 was amazing – at an age when many of their contemporaries have given up and “retired” from life, embraced illness and age, these outstanding examples of what is possible are out there having a go. The oldest female finisher was also the last finisher – at somewhere between 75 – 79, she came across the finish line with 20 seconds to spare.
As I watched this, I thought of another 70 year old who had me in fits when he was talking about age and the limits of age are self imposed. His presentation was entitled “and today I went to Aldi” – but how true is it? Just because we retire from the workforce, and who says we have to, does not mean we retire from life and make going to Aldi the highlight of our day. It does not mean we stop learning, does not mean we stop treating our bodies like that of Kings and Queens and does not mean we have to experience illness – we can choose to choose to be fit and healthy well into our later years – the secret is choosing health and vitality on a daily basis now – one day at a time. Eating like Kings and Queens, not slaves, not eating junk and left overs, not eating food with poor nutritional value, holding ourselves to a higher standard, and being worthy of health.
I know what I would rather be doing when I am in my late 70’s, and it is certainly not sitting around comparing illnesses at the local bingo hall. How about you?