This blog is about racing after 50 so let’s start with turning 50! The one good thing about racing as an age grouper is that significant birthdays like 40 and 50 don’t mean you are getting older they mean you get to change age groups! Hitting 50 means you no longer have to worry about those pesky young 40 somethings and you get an extra 5 minutes to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
The Lake Placid Ironman was the weekend of my 50th birthday. If I had won the lottery and all the planets were on my side I would have celebrated my birthday by doing that race but as some famous rock stars, who are even older than I am, would say “you can’t always get what you want”. If you live the Ironman life you will understand completely when I say the hardest part of an Ironman is not finishing on race day it’s getting to the start line. The time, money and energy required to do that is enormous and it affects everyone around you. There are times in life when you just can’t be that self-centered.
Although doing the Ironman was not in the plan we celebrated in a good way. My husband and I started the weekend with a 170km Grand Fondo bike tour in Ottawa. We limited ourselves to one beer at the post-race party, and drove to Lake Placid. We got up at 4:30am the next morning, loaded up our Kayaks and worked as safety boaters for the Ironman. We finished our day with an 8 hour shift volunteering at the finish line where we had the privilege of watching Andy Potts break the tape as the first finisher (he even signed my hat) and the honor of watching the very last finishers, the “real” people, cross the line right up until midnight. If you need a little inspiration sometime go to an Ironman and hang out at the finish line in that last hour leading up to midnight. These people have been going for almost 17 hours straight. They are not professional athletes they are everyday people, big and small, old and young with day jobs and families. It is a truly remarkable experience which will warm the coldest heart. It was also a great way to get a little inspiration for a new decade of racing! Bring it on!