Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clap Your Hands!!

If you looked at my training log or surveyed the 590 posts that make up this blog, you could very easily come to the conclusion that I, like Peter Pan, don't want to grow up, that I'm running a futile race against Father Time and old age.

You'd probably be right. If you think I'm infected with a wee touch of the Peter Pan syndrome, I might have to plead guilty. Strike that. I know I'd have to plead guilty. I am not exactly "old" and I know a lot of accomplished athletes much older than I am who regularly ridicule me when I talk about feeling old. But it stung a bit when Coach Kris was interviewed on Episode 18 of the Tac Boy and Bigun Podcast. He described me several times with a variety of euphemisms that connote "aging man trying to recapture the athleticism of his youth, which never really existed in full flower except in his mind."

OK, it wasn't that bad, but I genuinely loathe being 42 years old. Well, that's not exactly true. I love having a 42 year old's job and income and station in life. It rocks not having to work in a warehouse or bus tables, both of which I have done. And I love being stable and established and having an 11 year old daughter who's as cool as the day is long.

But I wish I had more time. I wish I'd been doing triathlon in my 20s and 30s. I missed out. And I prefer hanging around with younger people rather than losers my age who waddle around the golf course and talk about the miserable state of their 401k's. I want it all--youth and fun and time to live it up combined with maturity and experience and money to live it up with. Is that asking too much? Apparently.

So, Peter Pan? Yes. Guilty. But that's not the reason I put Peter Pan at the top of this post. I chose the picture because of what's in his hand: Tinker Bell.

I thought of Tinker Bell during Coach Kris' interview on the podcast, not because Coach Kris is a fairie--not that there's anything wrong with that. The podcast interview kept talking about how an athlete has to believe in the coach, have faith that the coach knows what he's doing and that he'll get you to the goal. All I could think of was that portion of the Broadway musical, Peter Pan, where Tinkerbell is dying because no one believes in fairies anymore. Peter coaxes the audience to bring her back to life by "clapping if you believe in fairies."

Well, I believe. I question and needle and probe and make sure that I understand what's going on, but I'm clapping while I do it. I believe. If Coach Kris says 1 hour in zone 2, Coach Kris gets one hour. If he says 30 minute ez run, and time runs out six blocks from home, I'm walking the rest of the way.

Coach Kris writes it down. I do it.

Makes the whole Ironman thing a lot simpler and less stressful. Now if I could get my rapidly-approaching-teenage-years daughter to fully appreciate the beauty of "because I said so."

Well, just every once in a while. She wouldn't be any fun without the spirit.

Anyway, I've done it on my own before, and it ain't all that special. I know my body, but Coach Kris knows Ironman. So, I am clapping. Because I believe.


21stCenturyMom said...

If you have a Peter Pan thing going on then I have it worse. I hadn't even started this stuff when I was 42. I was sort of a jogger at that point.

I don't have a coach but I have a free training plan and what the plan demands the plan gets - for the most part. If the plan were a man I would not shirk even 1 second of my assigned training but the plan is a piece of paper so I cheat once in a while. Sue me, law man!

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. It is like I wrote it myself; I have similar feelings! Played college baseball, then drink Jack & Cokes until I was 37-38 (now 40.) But, I don't know if we would have had the discipline at a younger age? Anyway, I like to think my body was resting during those "wasted" years.

And, I agree. Having a coach is so great. I always worried about what to do ... how much of it, etc. I was reading all these books, which are suspect, at best. It was making me a mental patient. Nice entry!

Go Mom Go said...

What a great story.

Terrific analogy and I think we are all there.


Fe-lady said...

If you were doing this stuff in your twenties, there is a chance you wouldn't be doing it today because of injury, burnout or whatever....
I typically "hang out" with people younger than myself (hubby included) because all I hear, esp. from women my age, are complaints about fat, wrinkles, menopause, etc. etc., all of which I cannot relate to at all!
Had I been able to train and race Ironmans back in my late 20s/early 30s I doubt I would have the same fire in my gut today.
Just my thoughts.
Play on Peter!