It was my last day on Cape Cod and I was taking in the sites of North Chatham during my morning jog (North Chatham is the fancy side of the town, btw). Because of Hurricane Irene, our house on the “other side” of Chatham lost power so we picked up the family and relocated to a boathouse belonging to a friend of the family. And with this change in lodging, I had a new jogging route to take.
It was a beautiful, crisp morning and I was feeling good. After running up and down the hilly streets of Chatham for almost 2 weeks straight, I sensed I was stronger and fitter, and, frankly, a force to be reckoned with. As I was pushing my way up a hill towards the posh Chatham Bars Inn, I sensed another jogger making his way towards me. I assumed it was a man given my speed but as I saw this person starting to pass me, I realized that this runner wasn’t just a woman, but a 70ish-year-old woman … full head of short white hair, wrinkles, and sinewy muscles.
And she was kicking my ass!
After I got over the few seconds of humiliation, I was impressed and then totally inspired.
Here was someone easily 30 years my senior with a rocking body. I don’t mean hot or sexy, I mean amazingly fit. I was immediately reminded of the articles I read recently about Olympic Swimmers Janet Evans and Dara Torres, French cyclist Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, and 58 year-old Diana Nyad who attempted to swim from Cuba to Key West. All of these women prove that getting older doesn’t just mean keeping up, it means getting better! I loved it when Evans was quoted as saying “I don’t feel 40 when I get into the pool. I feel like my old self.” (“Female Athletes Prove Older Can Equal Better“)
These women, as well as the 70ish Chatham-ite I saw today, show me that my body doesn’t need to deteriorate as I age. It’s up to me, i.e., what I eat, how much I sleep, how and when I exercise, as to whether I allow it to fail or reward me.
Now that I’m going back to “real life,” I hope that the image of the amazing older jogger will sear itself into my mind and nudge me — even during pitch time or cold weather or business trips — to care for my body as the tremendous machine that it is.