I do not feel proud though I do feel grateful and fortunate as I do not take my health for granted and never have. If I am fit (and God willing healthy now and in the future) then this is only because of decisions I have taken in the past and this is the point of today's blog.
Having reached this milestone the important thing is one's continued health and fitness and how to achieve it. Maintenance is fine but I firmly believe in setting goals as this will push you and keep you focused on a plan. Although this past year I had a goal to run the GC, I achieved it by training 4 to 5 times a week and by doing weights, high intensity sprint workouts, running Alpine mountain races and eating a healthy nutritious diet. I didn't succeed in running the Grand Canyon R2R because I was lucky I did it because it was planned and every step towards that goal was planned ... and I stuck to it because I had to. There were many times when I didn't feel like getting up at 5 am to run a training race or eat salmon and vegetables for breakfast but I had too because otherwise I'd probably be sitting on the banks of the Colorado river waiting for a helicopter to rescue me ... (which incidentally happens about 250 times a year).
I was motivated to prepare well partly through fear and partly from a desire to do well and enjoy the experience, in fact this latter point was probably the biggest motivating factor. I wanted to enjoy it and hoped that it would not be one big 'pain fest'. It was hard of course but my main memories are of a very emotional, beautiful and life affirming experience.
I never even thought about how old I was I just did it and this surely is the point. I think we all place barriers on ourselves, 'I am too old to run', 'I am too fat and can't lose weight', 'I can't get fit because I have unusual genes', 'My work stops me from eating properly', ' I've got three kids and have no time to exercise'.... and on and on.
STOP TELLING YOURSELF THIS STORY, IT'S A LIE.
This is your life, you only get one, so why not make it a wonderful adventure. It doesn't just happen you have to make it happen. Many people are stuck in dead end uninspiring jobs or stale relationships but we all have a choice, even if you don't think you do. The place you are in now is as a result of decisions you took somewhere in your past and your future will be as a result of decisions you take now. I am not espousing some new age feel good baloney, this is your reality, you chose it, if you don't like it take a deep breath, take a risk and change it.
Remember the 'rocking chair test'. Imagine sitting in your rocking chair at whatever ripe old age you get to and ask yourself a question. Did you make the most of your time on earth? Did you do all you could for yourself and others? Did you have fun and excitement? Did you achieve? Were you kind and considerate? Did you inspire others? Have you had a meaningful and fulfilled and happy life?
If you answered 'No' to any of these questions then now is the time to make some decisions and change what you are doing and thinking.
I believe it was the Archbishop of Canterbury who said that every morning he wakes up he decides ...
'to attack life before it attacks me'
.... and that's from a religious man, makes you think doesn't it.
Today is New years day and I've just done a fabulous 16k run in the Esterel hills on the Cote d'Azur in France. Time to attack the year, makes some plans and follow through with them ... whatever age you are.
Stay Healthy and a Happy New Year.