Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lowering the Bar: Not An Option

Who says as we age we have to lower our standards for ourselves physically?

Why would you lower the bar for yourself? Why wouldn't you keep striving to improve?

Why do numbers like age have to mean anything, why do we think they limit us?

Art Webb, age 70, who calls himself "The Grinder", finished his 14th Badwater on Tuesday, in a personal record time of 33 hours and 45 minutes. That was good for 29th place overall in a field of 89 finishers. Art has amazed us over the years with his impressive performances as he's gotten older. In 2010 he recovered from a long delay due to hyponatremia at Furnace Creek to finish in 46 hours. This year, he barely stopped and was motoring uphill in mid-race, one of the first runners to arrive at Towne Pass.

Art knows how to keep himself going, he only trains for this race each year. He and his wife Christine are always there at Badwater, socializing and obviously enjoying their time with the other runners, smiling and laughing even during the toughest moments.

"It's only a number" said Jack Denness when he finished the Badwater Ultramarathon at age 75.

When you free yourself from thinking "I'm too old to improve", you have quit shortchanging yourself. Don't settle for less.

You might not run 35 minute 10Ks at age 70, but you can improve and excel in other ways, making the most out of every day you have.

I think I've said it here before, when I was 40 I said I want to be healthier and more fit at age 50 than I was at 40. I'm well on my way there, as long as nothing weird happens between now and then.

I'm looking at doing some sort of adventure run, hoping to include Badwater as part of it, that year. But it doesn't end there. I don't know what the future holds, but I don't plan to stop finding new ways to challenge myself and new adventures to experience.

You don't have to lower the bar as you age. If you ask me, Art Webb stole the show at this race. And he certainly deserved to. He's my hero, more than any fast runner, front-of-the-packer, or course record-setter.


Mike said...

Whenever I think my age of 53 is too old to "push the envelope", I'm always inspired to read about people like Art Webb.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Mike, we are spring chickens!