I turned 37 yesterday. I don't know why, but this is a hard pill to swallow. I have never really had a problem with birthdays, but the older I get, and the higher the number gets, its getting kind of weird! I loved birthdays as a kid. I mean, who doesn't? Then when I was in my 20's, I liked them and liked the number getting higher because I seemed to think it gave me more credibility. I felt like people don't really take you seriously in your 20's, so hitting 30 was cool too. Then when I hit 35, it seemed weird. I was now "mid 30's". For some reason 36 didn't bother me, but 37 is just seems, well, OLD!
As I have been coming to grips with the fact that I am another year older, I have thought about a lot of things both triathlon and life related (after all, this is a triathlon/racing blog). In my last race, and in others lately, I have found that the older I get, the more competitive women get. There are some seriously fast women out there! Some crazy talent! While this could be discouraging, I am inspired when I am passed in a race by someone that has a 40 something, or 50 something age on their calf muscle. It gives me hope that as I get older I can get better too! I love that these women (and men) are not letting age define them and are continuing to go out there and kick butt and be the best they can be, and be pretty good at it too!
I have a friend who is in her 60's. In fact, she turned 64 yesterday. She is still actively training and racing Ironman races! Sweet!! I have another friend who started off as a back of the pack runner, and now is a Kona qualifier at 47. There is hope yet! If I keep going like they are, I have another 20-30 years in the sport I have grown to love!
Triathlon seems to be the only sport that the older people get, the better they get. Most pro-triathletes are in their 30s. Compare that age to the average age of other professional athletes, and I would guess it is older. I love how no matter how old or competitive people get, this is a very welcoming and supportive community. That never ceases to amaze me as I go to races or tri club functions. What a great thing to be involved in!
So, as I started yesterday as I have started every birthday of mine for the past 8 years...with a run. Ben had a speed work run on tap for me, and I couldn't wait to tackle it. I got up at 4:15, dredged outside with my headlamp and reflective vest, and enjoyed starting my day hitting intervals that had me running at a 7:30-7:45 pace. If you had shown me that pace, or those workouts even a year ago, I would have laughed at you. I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but I really wanted to try it. And you know what? I hit every single one of them. :)
Here's to another year of training, racing, and improving.