Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hope Merchant

Today, I did the Kona Eastside triathlon in Baytown, Texas. Although I was 2nd in my age group, I did have a good swim, and did really well fighting off the headwind on the bike. But, the run told me that I have lots of work to do before I take on that half ironman I am planning for October. My plan is to walk the aid stations on the half. So today I did that. It worked well, and I finished well, but the run still seemed hard.

I can remember when running came easy. Now it seems to be such an effort. At the age of 66, am I too old for this? There were only about 4-5 people over 60 doing this event. Perhaps I am trying too hard to hang on to something that has already escaped me. Perhaps, it would be wise to follow those my age who have already let go? These were the thoughts as I muddled through the run. I prayed. If nothing else, being on a downhill slide with my running ability has brought me to prayer more often; brought me closer to God.

Then a man about twenty years younger passed me and said, "You're my new hero."

"I'm your new hero? Why?"

"I tried to stay with you on the bike, but I just couldn't do it. You kicked my butt on the bike. You're my new hero."

"Thanks."

As he eased on ahead of me, I thought that perhaps, moments like this are a reason to do this stuff. How many times in life do we get the chance to inspire someone? How many times can we be someones hero, an agent of hope for someone looking down the road of their own aging ahead, when their run doesn't come easy anymore.

Perhaps, even in my old age inability, I can still be a hope merchant.