Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tensions of Two Realities

I find myself living in the tensions of two realities, the reality that is alive and well in my testosterone driven male ego, and the much less glamorous reality of getting older. I’m in the process of training for a half marathon. My testosterone driven male ego tells me that I’m running faster and farther then ever before. I’m a 41 year old stallion keeping pace with the running elite. I’m sleek, arrow dynamic, and powerful. I have defied age and endurance, and I’m a chiseled statue of muscle and flesh.
My much less glamorous reality of getting older, is slow, out of shape, and distanced challenged.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I asked my wife last week if she would drive my running route to see if by some chance that my mileage was wrong, or perhaps my watch was needing batteries. I couldn’t have possibly run as slow as I did. When I was running marathons 13 years ago, I arrogantly dismissed runners of my current caliber as “joggers”. In my minds eye I was flying. I pushed myself hard. The miles moved under my feet with speed and power. How could my watch deceive my testosterone driven male ego? When my wife returned and shared the unfortunate reality of my old age, my heart sank and my fragile delusional reality dropped from my prideful mind like an anchor to a reef. I have been humbled and grounded by truth.
I spent the first weeks in my new reality in denial. I shook old age out of my mind like a dusty rug. “If I just work out harder, if I can manage to lose a few more pounds, if I put in more miles or if I just have greater focus, perhaps I will soon return to my former glory”. Denial gave into acceptance and I have embraced the painful truth of getting older. The graying hairs on my receding hairline will need to adapt to the new reality of running slower. My standards and expectations of myself will now need to adjusted to new ones. What I once saw as running mediocrity will now be my standard for excellence.
I feel like I’m settling for less. I feel like something has died within me that I desperately desire to recapture. Why can’t I run for the love of the run? Why must time dictate my self worth and perception of excellence? This half marathon will hold greater personal meaning then the full marathons of my twenties. This race will test my character. I will cross the finish line knowing that my accomplishment isn’t any less significant then the guy who finished first or any more spectacular then the guy who finishes last. I will have run the race of knowing who I am and being ok with the knowing.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

You'll always be the most incredible specimen of the male species on the entire face of the Earth...regardless of your minutes per mile! I love you!!!