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Zen and the Art of Speedskating » 40

40


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I turned 40 at 1:05pm today—

So much is made of age, on all sides of the statement spectrum- Age is all in your head, it’s a state of mind, you are how old you think you are::::::

But your body tells you in so many ways that you are not 25 anymore. There are pure facts, as visible as your aging face, that no amount of positive thinking can drive away.

The mirror is still a shock at times. The mental image of self & the physical reality skew and do not cohere. I hate how my face wrinkles when I smile.

40… meh…

Speedskating is the best of sports, and the cruelest of sports. It lifts you up like nothing else on the best days, and it also breaks your heart over and over and over.

I was pretty freaked out this summer about 40. Such a big number— however this past weekend of racing my 8th US Speedskating nationals has answered my existential crisis.

I threw down my fastest 500m in 3 years. It felt fantastic.

I am younger in body and soul after what the electronic eye said. Who cares where I finished, I was faster vs me. Maybe this is the gift of skating. Not even in the results, but the path of health to get there.

This blog is quiet now, between fatherhood and a job I love, + trying to train + my organizational work with races + US Speedskating + masters stuff in the USA, + IMSSC international stuff, I have no time. None. Zero.

I call this “microwaving the midnight oil candle at both ends”.

This post was started in the dark, at 6:15am, before my wife was awake. And this year at nationals, I just couldn’t bear to take pictures & shoot video like I have done for 5 seasons in a row. There would be no time to do anything with them.

I miss it. Miss these moments of taking a deep breath, and looking with words, as surely as Tom DiNardo, Jerry Search, and Richard Gregerson look with the pictures visible in this post (thanks guys!!!)

Last backstretch of a 1000m race visible here. major ouch.. But technically, nose, knee, toe, and the body properly over the push. I had a major “wardrobe malfunction” in this race with my skinsuit zipper, but skated a very fast time.

I would rather have these clarifying moments in life, where pain becomes that focused smile, than ruminate about it.

Someone asked me a while ago, “dang Andrew, how old are you?” and I replied without thinking, “I’m younger than I was in June”.

It took me a while to figure out what the heck I had just said.

I think that getting in better shape, & training for goals, makes a fella younger, puts that spring in the step. Is is hard? heck yeah…

But immobile couch-suck-TV-squashy depression becomes so much harder…

And I have gotten younger and younger, happier and happier, as this year has gone on. Do I respect being 40? yup. But I also want to rock, and still know where the amp & guitar is.

Thanks Speedskating, maybe this is the lesson, right here. Today. 40

(gotta run, am skating 40 laps with friends tonight!)

13 Responses to “40”

  1. Forty is the new twenty-five.
    If I had half of your motivation, I’d be running laps around the block with the baby strapped to my back while whipping up a bowl of homemade brownies.
    I’m supposed to do a triathlon in May and I’ve been swimming once.
    Uh oh.

  2. Piper,

    for triathlon training, I’d reccomend your running laps while carrying baby be 10 minute efforts just below your lactic acid threshold… Try 3X 10 the first week..

    Each 2 weeks, add 5 minutes to the work time.

    Let Brad eat all the brownies!!

    Ha!!

  3. I know it’s “different for girls” but if I can live and skate as poetically when I turn 40, I shall have success. :)

    As for skating Birthday Laps, thank God there’s no ice outside in May up here. :D

  4. Microwaving the midnight oil at both ends keeps you younger than you were when you pushed the start button.

    Poetically, are you sure you’re not related to Ginsberg?

  5. Andrew,

    Congrats on turning 40!

    Why? When I get faster I don’t have to RACE against you for 5 years!!!!!!!!!:))

    What you proposed at the US Masters races this weekend is the perfect motivational tool for us to have a systematic track to have clear, concise, attainable goals for all age levels.

    Like everyone, I want a skin suit.

    But it will be earned threw work, not off a “Buy It Now” on Ebay.

    See you either in February or at the Am Cup in SLC.

    Let’s just erase my 3k and your 5k from all our minds.

    Great seeing you again and thanks for the motivation!

    s.

  6. Happy Birthday to you! (OK, maybe late).
    Getting OUT there, wherever there is, blasts the years away. Today, after 2 months of lousy weather and inactivity, i had one of my best reef days ever (some unexplored territory at my favorite place and 62 different kinds of fish - the only time I’ve ever kept a count). I’m not even tired and I feel a decade younger.
    Keep doing it!
    When people find me (and Lexa) at school at 9 pm and ask, Still working? I say, no, it’s only work if you’d rather not be doing it.
    from Edna St.Vincent Millay:
    My candle burns at both ends;
    It will not last the night.
    But oh, my foes, and ah, my friends,
    It’s such a lovely light!

  7. You DO rock, my friend.
    So happy you’re happy at 40.
    Much love from Switzerland.

  8. Welcome to the dark side….although once you walk around the fence post, it’s pretty darn nice on this side of the fence. :)

    Great job last weekend. you young whipper-snapper, you! :)

  9. Andrew I turn 40 this July, my little girl is now three. It isn’t getting any easier! Short track at the club level keeps me going.

  10. Congratulations Andrew!

    Seems like you had a “good time” in Berlin this weekend and you are closer to 38 :-) than 40

    Oliver

  11. Hey Andrew - Can I use one of these photos of you on XpatAdventures?

  12. […] Andrew Love: 40 […]

  13. the older the prettier, Andrew!
    And golfplaying, that is the limit if it comes to frustration, banging straight and forcefully into the ground, after six yrs of practising! Skating is so much more source of happiness, but sure intensive physically! I am 51 yrs, and started skating more seriously at 46yrs! Never enjoyed a sport so much before, just love it! And i smoke and i drink, but don,t smoke pot during iceskating, rather afterwards, can be quite hilararious, for example watching your vids, and others ofcourse, but!

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