The quiet glory of aging into athleticism
How is it, at age 41, that I feel like my body can do more — and that I can take more joy in it — than ever before? I’m not faster, but I’m more resilient. I’m not doing as many overall miles, but I feel stronger. I love it more, and more feels possible. Sure, my knees are slightly more creaky, and I have to be keenly attentive to stretching and Theragunning and hydrating in a way I never was before. But exercise just generally no longer feels punitive or disciplinary. Instead, I feel something far more akin to curiosity. If part of me feels weak or tweaky, what’s struggling in other parts of my body and needs strengthening? And if I’m attentive to my body, if I’m legitimately kind to it, can it do more than I thought it could?
This quote really resonates with me. I followed a similar path to the one the author describes: The pandemic hit, I got really into Peloton at the end of 2020, then one thing led to another and now I’m training for a full Ironman triathlon next year. I found something similar along the way, that I’m stronger than I thought I was, and capable of harder things than I thought possible; in fact, I don’t know what I’m capable of, so I’m trying to find out.
That feeling extends beyond training, into the rest of my life, which is both powerful and liberating, but it’s also made me consider how other aspects of training, such as “active recovery” and “rest”, apply to, say, my work life. I can’t train at 100% intensity 100% of the time and expect to perform well, so why should I treat work that way?