Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lance wants to know "who says?"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lance Armstrong may be the greatest cardiovascular athlete to ever compete. The seven-time winner of what many experts in the field of sports consider the toughest competition in the world – the Tour de France, seems to know no physical limits. On a training ride in preparation to defend his first Tour win, he was climbing a particularly steep and difficult mountain somewhere in France when his coach called to him from the car “Lance – you cannot go on. We are told there has been an avalanche ahead and the road is impassable. You must turn around.”

Lance continued to climb. He was out of his saddle, pumping hard and in that training zone that had made him the best at what he did. His coach called to him again “you must turn around, Lance. We cannot go on.”

The camera filming this training ride was in the car with the coach and the lens focused on Lance’s face as he turned to the car and his coach and said, simply “who says?” He continued to climb.

I’m 54 now and I just completed my run for the day. I’m up to 51 minutes of running, but the last 20 were anything but comfortable. I’m feeling pains I never felt ten years ago when running was almost a daily occurrence for me. Is it the age or the lack of conditioning? Maybe the extra pounds I’m carrying now. I don’t know for sure but I do know that my hips and knees are sore while running, my stride isn’t as long as it was and I’m just suffering more.

I read a great deal of material dealing with exercise and its affects on the body. I have read the research about aging and the impact it will have on our ability to perform. It doesn’t take an exercise physiologist to figure out that we get slower and less powerful as we age. If we didn’t, no professional athlete would ever retire. Things change and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Or is there?

Lance retired from competitive racing for three years. At the ripe old age of 37, he returned to the Tour de France for another try. He had lost some training time a month earlier when he had been in a crash and broken his collar bone. No one tells Lance what he can’t do anymore, but I’m sure many were thinking ‘he’s too old’. He did not win, but did place third, an incredible feat and is training now for a run at this year’s Tour. He’s looking to become the oldest man ever to win the world’s toughest race. And he will likely do it.

He doesn’t and we shouldn’t accept ‘you can’t’. I understand ‘I won’t’ but ‘I can’t’ has little meaning. Many things get in the way of trying to achieve fitness goals. I know – I’ve been a walking, talking excuse for some time now. That time has come to an end for me. You just need to start with the premise ‘I can’ and you will. You show me what you think you can’t do, and I’ll show you a goal and a way to achieve it.

Take a look in the mirror. The person staring back should be saying “who says I can’t?”

Run duration: 51 minutes.

Training Heart Rate: 145 bpm

Calories burned during workout: 875

1 comment:

  1. I agree. That "old age" thing is bull****. Sure, when things break down, our body rebuilds tissue. But, I don't agree, that the new growth "mutation" is an inferior copy of what was once there. I think if we do it right, it can be a superior growth. I workout out regularly and extremely hard (my opinion). And the reward is that I am much stronger than I was in high school. My theory only sucks because I can't figure out a way to get my body to regenerate squashed discs (L-4 and L-5), nor to cure asthma. But, I am not giving up; until I reach 107.......years old.