I’m Too Old For This!

We’ve all heard the expression: “I’m too old for this shit!” A few of us loudly proclaim our belief in the principle on occasion, but keep on keeping on. Some of us think it and quietly give up. Then there are some who use it as an excuse not to even start.

The subject of wether or not I’m too old to pound my body into submission and shape myself into an athlete by brute-force methodology has crossed my mind on more than a few occasions. My body is threatening mutiny, or so it seems. However, my mind has been known for its propensity of cracking the whip to quell the whining and the whimpering when the mission is deemed critical and worthy.

My husband’s view on the way I approach things? He just shakes his head and exclaims:

“Damn, baby! You never do anything half-assed, do you? You can’t help yourself!”

Even though my fervor must get on his nerves on occasion, I do believe he is sitting back, smugly, big shit-eating grin on his overly satisfied face, arms crossed at the chest, nodding and thinking to himself:

“Yeah, that’s my baby!”

He brags to his friends and co-workers. I know he does. Where others whip out their wallets (mobile phones) in one smooth and snappy movement to accost you with an array of baby pics and family portraits, he whips out his track photography. I think he has more pictures of me dragging knee on his phone than I do. That’s pretty bad. Where the wives (girlfriends) of others are gorgeous in their perfect hair and flawless makeup, he runs around flashing people with my sweaty helmet hair and unpainted countenance in dirty leathers.

He says I’m not like most 40 year-olds. But I don’t buy it. I feel too old for my own good on most days; and where I used to look ten years younger, frequent exposure to the elements and a high-stress work environment have finally taken their toll. I now am starting to look about as old as I feel. My crow’s feet alone could probably get me some premature social security benefits, if they didn’t check their paperwork. 😉

At least we don’t get the “so nice of you to take your daughter out” comments anymore. That was always a hoot, since hubby usually responded to those remarks with laying a fat slobbery kiss on me a few minutes later, after failing to correct the erroneous assumption. What a nut job! That’s why I don’t take him out in public very often… *giggles*

But there are a few individuals who defy the “life is over after 40” rule and they give me the drive to keep on going. Because a midlife crisis, after all, is a terrible thing to waste. =D

I almost didn’t start racing when I first got the notion and excitedly and very loudly exclaimed, while my nose was buried in Keith Code’s book A Twist of the Wrist: “Hell yeah! I wanna do THAT!” I’m glad I was on weekend duty and alone in the office. After the initial excitement wore off and my brain had time to process all of the information, it responded with an unkindly “I’m too old for this shit!” and that was the end of it for about a year or so.

A guy at work, who is a few years my junior, found out that I had crashed on my second race weekend and ended my first season prematurely, decided that he should save me from myself and told me the following: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’re too old to race. You crash and your body takes forever to heal and your injuries are probably going to be more severe. That’s probably also why you’re slow. You’re afraid to go fast.”

[Note: I only sustained minor injuries to my left hand due to my glove failing. The season ended prematurely because it took a little over three months and most of my saved up money to repair my bike, and it was decided it was best to prepare to race a full season in 2012, with a dedicated race bike and a lot more cash saved up.]

Excuse me?!? Dude, you better thank your lucky stars that we’re at work, because if you had said that to me anywhere else, I would have put you in your place, you presumptuous little prick! And then raced your cruiser riding ass for pinks. In first gear, with one hand. Asshole!

He stopped riding sport bikes (“crotch rockets” is the term he actually used) because he, by his own admission, was “too old for this shit” and had crashed and it took him forever to heal.

The reason I started racing, despite my misgivings about starting so late in life and only having been riding motorcycles on the street for a little over two years? Burt Munro. The old fart showed Bonneville how old timers roll, and he didn’t even pre-register. 😉 He bet “the farm” on his dream and it paid off. Against all odds, with plenty of obstacles and no sponsors. Yeah! He’s still my hero.

Read up on him sometime or watch the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. Very inspiring story, even if you are not into racing. His story transcends the sport. It’s a testament to the fact that “I’m too old for this shit!” is just another fallacy we’ve been brainwashed with by the media, societal norms and rate-of-return expectations. Youth is wasted on the young. Whoever said that, they have it pegged.

I ran into a man of the “over-the-hill type” at my inaugural WERA race. He’s freaking awesome. I think he said he started racing when he was 67 and that was a few years back. But don’t quote me on his exact age. The man is my hero. He doesn’t know it, but I secretly look up to him. He’s having fun doing what he does, has a wicked sense of humor, and he’s fast.

My “sister in speed”, whom I met during a racing school we both attended, just shrugged when she first heard how old I was and said: “You’re just a baby.” She doesn’t look it, but she’s ten years my senior. And crashing does not slow her down a bit. She’s having fun, too.

There are many other people to whom I look up to, who defy the norm. People who do in spite of it all. Did you know there is a dude who races motorcycles and only has one arm?!? I didn’t know it was possible. I saw him at Barber, while I was walking to the race control building he was making his way onto pit road to go on track. I did a double take, shaking my head because I thought I was hallucinating, and then did a triumphant fist pump in his direction. He didn’t see me, because he had already passed the spot where I was standing to let traffic through. Yeah, get a load of THAT. That’s what I call passion! That’s what I call drive and determination. Freakin’ awesome. I still don’t know who he is, but there are a number of amputees still riding and racing motorcycles. Still think you’re too old, too disabled, too whatever?

Today I am researching a few topics of interest on running and come across an article that talks about fears first time road racers have. One of which is also a very real fear for first time motorcycle road racers: the fear of coming in last. It takes one race to get over that silliness. 🙂 But I digress. One of the items listed was the fear of being too old to run, let alone enter an official road race. The article ended with:

“You’re never too old to start running, and it’s definitely never too late to start road racing.”

And that is the truth.

Obstacles are placed in our way to test our resolve, our determination, our passion, and our will to succeed. I can’t do nothing about my chronological age; but I can work on being in the best shape of my life and not let my age stop me from achieving my goals. My age also can’t keep me from dreaming!

And as the clock keeps ticking away, forcing me to grow even older than “too old for this shit”, I still try and retain my inner peace and happiness while I’m waiting for my turn again.

Three basic ingredients are needed for sustained happiness:

  1. Something to do.
  2. Something to look forward to.
  3. Somebody to love.

I have lost my main “to do” four months ago, but I am keeping busy with my marathon training and writing, to keep the depression and anxiety at bay.

I am looking forward to racing my motorcycle again, which will happen once I have secured re-employment and have regained a positive cash flow and met my other financial responsibilities. 2013 could be my year and I have to be ready, mentally and physically.

I have the third item covered in spades. No, make that hearts, even though it is not the trump suit, it works better in a literary sense.


I just needed to share!!!

13.1

I wanted to share this with you! If you have read my previous two posts, then you probably know why this has me so excited and giddy that I can hardly stand being around myself. I’m way too perky to be enjoying my own company. 😉

I set out to run 5 miles…


Mario Andretti Saves the Day

The past several weeks I have asked of myself repeatedly where I could possibly find motivation when the reason for said motivation has gone; unceremoniously packed its bag, and left in the middle of the night to disappear without so much as saying goodbye.

"Dear Miss Busa,
it's been fun. But I have to go. Our relationship is just not working for me anymore.
Regretfully,
Your Motivation
P.S. Please don't try and find me."

Motivation, you are just like all the others! You swine! I will never be motivated again. Ever! I haven’t been able to figure it out. My motivation didn’t even leave a forwarding address. Or did it?

Today, during some research for an essay I am writing, I stumble across a quote by Mario Andretti. Words I’ve been needing to hear for a long time. Words that make me feel a little less lonely. Words that give affirmation to the knowledge that dreams are not easy to achieve, because if they were, everybody would be a rock star, wealthy and living the life.

Unlike the rock stars, I really don’t want much out of my life. I have most everything already. I just want to be damn fricken fast and have a two-car garage. I’d take the former with a healthy dose of the relativity theory and the latter I would also live in, if I had to.

“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.”

I’m going to run today. After almost two weeks of skipping out on most of my scheduled marathon training, because I just really didn’t see the point anymore, I am putting myself and my white flag-waving attitude on notice. The worries of a crashed economy, the rising cost of living, and an uncertain future were suffocating my will to live well.

My life as I have known it for the past fifteen years is quickly falling apart around me; and the stress of continued unemployment and pending financial hardship were enough to throw my happy-go-lucky disposition into the crapper. My brain chemistry went into crash-override and switched itself into depression mode and left me with smudged and streaky eye liner.

This is only an interruption of your dream. If this had been the actual end of your dream, this interruption would have been followed by the rolling of the closing credits and a fade to a wakeful state.

…because all I want to do is ride.

Fast.

Hard.

And scare myself on occasion. Because if you aren’t scaring yourself you aren’t going fast enough. I think Mario said that, too.


Send it down below…

Nothing like feeling like a complete failure to motivate oneself to prove otherwise. I needed to get rid of all this negative energy I’ve had stored up for whatever reason. I hadn’t worked out in two days and that didn’t help my general state of mind. Everywhere I turn, I see obstacles in my way. It’s almost as if I’m swimming upstream, in the wrong direction, against all odds, expending my energy and resources on a lost cause. meh. I hate feeling like this.

I have developed some sort of mental block that keeps me from getting faster on the track. I have an idea about the causality but no real fix on how to go about overcoming the problem. I over-think to the point of distraction. I don’t even know how to explain this… I just know it’s making me slower, and my skill progression has tanked. I hate that, too!

Every time I look at the bike, I find “something else”. Some other mechanical issue that needs to be worked out. I have not a clue. I never wanted to become a mechanic, I just wanted to race the damned thing, but yet here I am. I suffer through it, and make my brain hurt, so I can have a relatively short time by comparison doing the thing I really love to do.

Then there is the financial aspect that bugs me. Racing is financially, uh… irresponsible, a budgetary money pit, a high-risk-no-return proposition especially considering the ongoing game of economic crapshoot. But yet here I am, cutting corners in every other aspect of my life, just so I can “go racin’.” But what a ride! You know you’re in for a good time when they make you sign a waiver before they let you through the gate. Uh-huh. Yup. Nothing like it. I would sell my mother-in-law for a stack of DOT slicks. Yes, it’s that bad. But I can’t help but feel a little guilty.

Winter gets me down, the skies are gray, it’s cold, the world around us dead. People are grumpier than usual. It’s depressing. I find it hard to keep my spirits up when the weather seems so gloomy and foreboding all the time.

The Underpants TreeLots of other personal and family junk that occasionally just wants to show up and take a dump on my happiness. Ick! Screw you. You make me angry because I am helpless and not in control of the situation. Keep your chin up. Ignore it. They’re just jealous. Love the Haters, because it means you’re doing something right. All the kind and supportive comments in the world sometimes aren’t enough… you still end up almost drowning in the cesspool of other people’s bullshit. Blech.

With the attitude of hating my life and feeling like a complete failure, I stomp up the hill to the walking trail behind my house. A 1/3-mile sandy kidney-bean shaped track around a playground and a picnic area. I’m not in the mood, but I have some anger management to do. Exercising should exorcise my (perceived) demons… at least for a little while. If you’re exhausted you have not the energy to be anything but calm. I hit play on the Nike+ GPS app and with the push of that button, decide that today I am going to run until I can run no more. How far can I possibly get? A mile? Maybe… The workout is done with the first walking stride I take. Deal. Off I go.

Last time I was here, maybe a week ago, I couldn’t run a complete lap. It’s torture. After about half a lap, I want to stop. I can’t breathe, my side is starting to hurt. Concentrate. Concentrate. Pay attention to your stride, control your movements. Control your breathing. In through the nose… out through the mouth. Steady. Paced. You can do this.

GPS calculated paceI keep fighting lazy thoughts of quitting with angry thoughts of not wanting to be a failure in today’s run. Failure is not an option. I start crying at one point… or I think I am starting to. I don’t know. One foot in front of the other. I hate running. I want to quit. I don’t see the point. Why bother? I keep pushing on. I am on my last lap to finish the first mile. I tell myself that I at least have to complete one mile. I notice a pair of men’s boxers hanging in a nearby tree. WTF?!? Somebody went home commando.

After that I tell myself one more lap. I have to make it back around to the underpants. I have to take a picture of them. I do. I don’t take a picture of them though. Ok, well I’m almost to two miles. That’s what we ran in the military physical fitness test. I can do this. I see a woman walking about a half a lap ahead of me. Ok. I can lap her… if I lap her before my two miles are up, I’ll allow myself to stop. I end up lapping her twice before she gets in her car and leaves.

Eventually my brain focuses on something racing related and I’m not even really aware anymore that I am running. Well, I am aware of it, but it’s not in the foreground and with that the negative self-talk subsides. I keep pushing. Another idea surfaces: I will set all new PBs today. EVERY SINGLE STAT that Nike+ keeps track of will be improved. Then I’ll let myself be a quitter.

I accomplish my goal at 4.10 miles (farthest run) in 44:16 minutes (longest run) with an overall average pace of 10:47 per mile, which is an improvement by 1:02 minutes. I set my fastest 1K at 6:09; my fastest 1M at 10:08 and my fastest 5K at 33:19.

Do I feel better? A little. Do I still feel like a failure? A little. But at least I have part of my sunshine back. The rest will follow.