The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Embracing Slow

When I competed in my last triathlon 21 years ago, I was slow. Since then, my biological clock has been working against me. If I believe the science (and I do), then I have lost muscle mass, my fast twitch fibers twitch with less enthusiasm, my stride has shortened, and a loss of flexibility has translated into less efficiency. As I get older, speed becomes more elusive. I can live with this. But if I accept my place in the triathlon world at the back of the pack, if my destiny is to exemplify slow, then the question becomes, why am I busting my ass in the gym 4 or 5 days a week? Glad you asked.
  • I may be at the back of the pack, but I’m in the pack. How many women over 50 do you know that are training for a triathlon?
  • There’s plodding gasping ugly slow and there’s graceful smooth beautiful slow. Guess which slow I’m aiming for.
  • I’m strong and healthy inside and out. This has given me beauty and confidence that I see and use everyday of my life. I am able to go outside my comfort zone and accept challenges.
  • I see the average 50+ year old woman. My friends, my colleagues, on the street, in the gym. Not for me. I’m not going there.
  • I was never big into team sports. I always preferred competing against myself. Measuring progress in terms of time and distance in 3 sports is more meaningful (to me) than winning with a goal in the last 30 seconds.
  • I like going to the gym. I see some of my friends there. I make new friends. It’s not like I have to make deals with myself to get there. It’s become part of what I do most days.

It takes longer to be slow. To be slow is to endure, to focus, to concentrate. Slow is about smelling the flowers. Its about the journey, it’s about encouraging others to set out on their own journeys. You just have to be in it. You don’t have to be in it to win it. Slow is looking BEYOND the finish line. Slow is flexibility and balance, in life and in the gym. Slow is music, a conversation, or a poem.

I like slow. I LOVE slow. I am going to live and breathe slow. I am going to blog about being slow. Join me, embrace slow. Slow is beautiful.

p.s. I haven’t totally given up on speed. Even if I am at the back of the pack, maybe I can realistically compete in my age group (maybe I’ll be the only woman in my age group).


miss petite america said...

awesome post! slow is the new fast! :)

leslie said...

I LOVE what you wrote! Especially the "I see the average 50+ woman..." part. Keep up the great work, Shelly!