There were two times in my life when I wanted to be older than I actually was. First, was the obvious 20 year old who wanted to be 21 so I could legally drink Boone’s Farm and Sloe Gin. The second was likely less obvious to most people–when I was 59, I couldn’t wait until I turned 60.
Welcoming a major birthday with open arms is a gift competing in triathlons and running races has given me. I am a somewhat competitive person, and racing gives me a positive outlet for my competitiveness. People who are familiar with various race events know that awards are given for overall finish times, but also by gender in 5-year age groups. For example, you might compete in the M30-34 division, or now in my case, the W60-64 division. As you can imagine, there are psychological and physical reasons why being at the bottom of an age group should help you finish in a higher position than being at the top of an age group.
Being younger in an age group is an advantage, but I have podiumed many times even as I’ve moved towards being the oldest in my age group. In fact, I have actually gotten stronger, if not faster, over the past 5 years through consistent training. At my age, I assume that by nature my body will deliver diminishing performance over time, but that consistent and smarter racing and training might help me maintain or improve my race performance.
I am currently about a month away from competing at Ironman Brazil. My goal there is to win the W60-64 division so I earn an invitation to the Ironman World Championship in Kona this October. Almost a year ago, I researched all of the qualifying 2014 races that would give me a good chance to win when I “aged up” to 60. And this was the race that looked like it would give me the best chance. Wish me luck!
Did I welcome my 60th birthday? Heck yeah, thanks to living a life that includes triathlon. I wonder how I’ll feel about turning 65? Who knows. For now, I’m going to enjoy being the “youngster” in my age group!