More than 20 years has now passed since I was last a student, but I still feel as if the year has just come to a close with the advent of summer. Never mind that I’m not taking a summer vacation this year as we ramp up for the introduction of Oasis of the Seas in the fall. It isn’t just that my children’s academic year has ended. It’s that my “athletic year” has ended in terms of competitive running events. I’ve been competing the last three years after missing 25 years because my back wasn’t cooperative. Sometimes people ask me “how do you balance work and family life with working out so hard?” I ask myself “how did I balance anything for all those years without being able to work out?”
My main competitive focus is running 5k races. When I started racing again two years ago I was at 24 minutes. Now I’m at 19.33. If I can get my time under 19 minutes by the time I turn 50 (in the next “athletic year”!), I will be pretty competitive for my age group. I don’t think I’ve seen a race result in South Florida where more than two people in the 50 – 54 age group ran sub-19 in the same race. Sub-19 is my new goal. But I’m also looking forward to racing shorter distances on the track. Three weekends ago I competed near Orlando in my first race on a track in 32 years. In the 1,500 meter race there were only three people in the 45 – 49 age group in the race. I beat one so they gave me a silver medal. I’m not telling you my time. When I run under 5 minutes I’ll tell you my time. I was at the meet over 11 hours to run for just over five minutes, but that’s another story.
Meanwhile my table tennis ability (and more importantly, understanding of table tennis) continues to grow slowly but surely with the benefit of a lesson almost every week. Maybe I will try a tournament when I can play 50 and over. I’m not sure. But I am pretty sure this is a fantastic anti-aging activity. I read earlier this year that table tennis helps you in two ways both of which have to do with the speed of the game. Maintaining hand/eye coordination is one benefit. Executing strategy and tactics at high speed is another. Not to mention that, according to my instructor, table tennis tested out as one of the top ten aerobically demanding sports of all events at the Olympics. Why do I say table tennis and not Ping Pong? Table tennis is the official name of the sport whereas Ping Pong is a brand name within the sport. Sort of like facial tissue to Kleenex I suppose. Anyway, so I’m told.
If I had any sense I would stop this blog entry now. But, no! I have a confession to make along the lines of the saying “a good game of pool is the mark of a fine gentleman, a great game of pool is the mark of a misspent youth.” Many of you fellow Blackberry users are aware that the Brickbreaker game comes with the device. You can ignore the game and your high score will be zero. You can occasionally fiddle with it until you come up against level 16 and your high score will be nearly 10,000. Or you can master it and have a high score for example of 1,334,845. Your reward for this extraordinary achievement will be endless scorn and derision from your family. Good luck!