These blogs are my personal, idiosyncratic observations about aging, training, and sports competition.
To access previous blogs, click "Read Other Blogs" at the bottom of this page.
A Skimpy 2018 - November 26, 2018
Delightful Mud - January 31, 2017
A Look Ahead at 2016 - January 13, 2016
Paddling in Torino -- World Masters Games 2013
Winning - May 11, 2012
Can Too Much Exercise Be Bad for Your Heart - March 11, 2011
The 60 Minute Crawl - January 30, 2011
Playing Tennis Again - October 6, 2010
Why Compete? (2) - June 15, 2010
LOST - May 24, 2010
Happy Birthday to Me - May 18, 2010
Why Compete?(1) - April 30, 2010
Val Barnwell - April 14, 2010
Spring Training Day - April 4, 2010
Becoming Bionic - March 24, 2010
The Divided Kingdom - February 4, 2010
October 20, 2019
I thought I would reflect on my experiences in 2019 with the three sports I have been competing in for 2019. Those three sports are: marathon flatwater kayaking, tennis, and orienteering.
This year I competed in 7 local kayak races and finished in the bottom 25% of most of those races. In the Marathon Nationals I finished 3rd (out of three). Nevertheless, I wasn't too disappointed. Most of my competitors in the local races were at least a decade younger than I am. Some were younger than my youngest son. When a did finish ahead of some of these youngsters, it was a modest triumph. The two guys who beat me in the Nationals were clearly better, but that gives me something to shoot for next year. More troubling is the lack of older competitors. Where are all the 75 year-old kayak paddlers?
Tennis is a different story. There are LOTS of really good 75+ tennis players. In the Men's Category I Hard Court Nationals there were 44 competitors in the 75+ age-group. And these guys are the cream of the crop. In a local tournament I was crushed by a 75+ guy who as faster, cleverer, and more consistent that I was -- by a long, long shot. But it was great to see how good a guy my age can be. To begin to improve I have to eliminate all the stupid mental errors in my game -- dumping easy volleys into the net, double faults, mishits. Plenty of room for improvement here.
I began to compete in orienteering five or six years ago. (By contrast, I've been paddling a kayak for about 50 years, and playing tennis (off and on) for 70 years). Orienteering calls for fitness and smarts. I love running through the woods and finding each control is, for me, a modest triumph. I find that as I am getting a little smarter I am becoming less fit. I plan to address both in the coming years.
Finally, I decided long ago to compete in several sports knowing that I would not become a great champion in any of them. I just like to compete. I prefer the variety of challenges, the mix of skills, and the range of fitness that multiple sports provides. I know I can get better.