Turning Back Time

Running Marathon Turn Back TimeI’ve only gone and bloody done it. Signed myself up to a marathon in September. Idiot.

It takes place in Medellin, where I currently live and falls on my birthday weekend. Not a bad idea to carbo load on cake the day before.

It’ll be my second marathon. The first was in 2004 when I was 22 years old. I remember saying afterwards, “Never Again,” but I’m lacing up my vibrams one last time, coming out of retirement to ideally beat both my brother (who set a Reid PB of 3 hours 47 minutes), and also to prove that age is no barrier to supreme fitness.

That being said, I’m far from pushing daisies just yet. I’m only 33, still in my prime. In fact, I’ve even got a six-pack if you slant the light at a certain angle and I squeeze REALLY hard like I’m pinching one off.

The decade of my twenties was one of excess. Boozing. Parties. Fitness fads to the point of burnout. Lifestyle diet plans that only emphasised my ‘skinny-fat’ body type. I remember speaking to my oldest brother, he of aforementioned marathon fame, at the time in my mid-twenties.

He is five years older and felt the need to warn me of several health dangers that lurked around the bend, which I’d inevitably encounter sooner or later. He seemed a little over-enthusiastic to dispense the information, namely that I should expect:

  • Hair loss (Recede you later scalp!)
  • Hair growth (Ears and nose)
  • Swollen Gut
  • Energy Loss/Fatigue (variable depending on kids/work)

Never one to settle or accept what society would predict for me (see quitting a comfortable job and travelling 8000 miles to solo backpack), I’ve fought against those warning signs. Shaved my head. Bought a nose/ear trimmer. Adopted a (primarily) paleo diet. Given up booze.

medellin marathon plan
The Marathon Plan of Marathon Plans!

Physically, booze-free for eight months now, I feel better than I ever did in my twenties. I think I look better too (though I am kinda biased).

I realise I might not be a reflection of most 33 year olds. Certainly my friends, who have families and are paying off mortgages, might offer a different tale that would probably counter my argument that you can enjoy an abundance of health at any age.

At the risk of falling into the deplorable ‘new-age’ speak – health is the new wealth – (except when you’re broke; then wealth is definitely still wealth).

I remember the incredible energy and fitness I enjoyed, training for the Dublin marathon while also juggling a back-breaking apprenticeship with my uncle on a building site during the day.

Unencumbered with those things called kids, or a spouse for that matter, I have time on my side again, a new zest for turning back the clock to reclaim superhuman fitness.

After all they don’t call Medellin, ‘The City of Eternal Spring (in my step)‘ for nothing.

No? Nothing? OK, I’ll get my coat…

Further ReadingThe Dublin Marathon – A Poem, Swapping Snickers for Sneakers – Marathon Training for Virgin Runners

pathfinders chapter 1

image attribution – Hernán Piñera via CC

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