Age is Nothing

It's not how old you are, it's how old you feel

18th December 2007

It seems age really is a matter of perception.  It was so great to meet a bunch of mainly older retired people (60s, 70s....maybe older I dared not ask) who were still enjoying the magic and challenges of life regardless of age.  T'was strange to be the kid within the group.....did someone mention "cocoon"?

Step and Glide

Watching the leader of the pack dance

I struggled to keep up with all of them on our first lesson of classic skiing. The altitude surely was affecting all of us, however their experience and proficiency was something I was trying to match with physical fitness and poor technique.  Whilst the group pranced around, mental fatigue and thin air had me gasping for air most of the day and only just managing to keep up.

Swan Lake Dance

Along came skating lessons and I watched the group dance and twirl on their skis.  As I tried to keep up, I felt gangly and gawky, trying to flap my wings with the rest of the pack but instead found myself floundering to glide upon the snow.

With my Ice Pop!
However, my many uncles and aunties continued to give me lots of positive energy and encouragement.

Testing Techniques

Lessons came and went and the only sureness I had was that I would be classic skiing in the marathon at the end of the week.  Skating required too much energy sapping effort and between the two techniques (and me stripping down to my t-shirt - apparently is not the "done thing") at least with classic I could keep going.  It was time to do something I could do - go for a run.  Even then it was hard to breathe solid breaths running a short 4.5 km but at least the legs felt like they'd done some work.

The valley we would have to ski through

Hell's Hills

Day 4, saw us checking out the route and the hills we would encounter.  For half the route I skied with Aunty Penny who was trying to accommodate a badly fitting boot on her new skis.  For a distraction we sang songs and enjoyed the glorious day en route to the cafe.

For an adrenaline rush taking the hills in a bullet position seemed to be the thing to do.  The skis would shake and tremble underfoot, and all I could do was keep the head focused on staying balanced, hill after hill after.......oh no............!!! 

Down on my haunches speeding down a hill, the only other bad thing that could happen.......happens.  My right leg skids out of control, and my right knee twists into an awkward position and I hear a small tear.  Bad words go thru my head but, knowing my body, I would be okay as long as I kept moving.  I anticipated pain to come only when I stopped, like so many sports injuries I have endured.

I iced the knee immediately after returning back to the hotel, however in the night the knee stiffened and saw me struggle with the morning exercises brother Peter put on for us.  Thankfully, Uncle Gareth gave me some inflammatory tablets to reduce the swelling. By mid afternoon the leg was walking easier and negative thoughts were moving back out of my head.  I should be able to complete at least one round of the marathon.....and if I could maintain my normal running pace....maybe I could complete two rounds (dreaming).

Race Day

"Nerves? I'm not nervous!" I think - and yet I've had to go to the toilet several times.  I put it down to eating yoghurt that morning as I'd not eaten it at all during the week.  Nor had I slept well, but then I'd not been sleeping well throughout the week but at least the knee was feeling okay.

The race end

I hung out in my usual position, at the back of the pack.  My plan was to enjoy the route and scenery, and focus on staying upright on my skis down the hills. I knew I would complete at least 1/2 a marathon, but the true inspirations were from:

- Aunty Margaret and Papa Alan who skied together throughout the whole course and crossed the line together (one of those really "ahhhh" moments).

Aunty Penny's joy at completing her first 1/2 marathon
- Aunty Penny who despite never having trained for any long distances completed her first 1/2 marathon in under 4 hours.

Special thanks to my room mate, Aunty Jane, for her great attitude and for putting up with me for the week; and my Swiss French friend Gerrard for giving me his glasses as the frame from my sunnies were tending to stick to my face in -15 degrees C conditions!

Oh and by the way, I completed a x-country skiing 1/2 marathon in 2 hours 46 minutes!!!!

Notes about the event:

Goodies bag consisted of: one quality tote bag, one furry warm cap, chocolate, yoghurt, water bottle, drinking bottle, and a money bank.  Pasta party happened after the race.  Lucky draw prizes were given randomly to participants crossing the finish - these ranged from t-shirts to wine to a spa retreat.