Last night I watched the documentary Marinoni about 75 year old Italian Canadian cycling icon Giuseppe Marinoni and his attempts to set a world record for distance cycled in one hour for his age group. The documentary, the oft-told story of an immigrant who arrives in Canada with nothing, only to lead an incredible and inspiring life is an important narrative that makes up the very fabric of Canadian identity. On the surface it seems like mandatory viewing for anyone who loves cycling; an homage to the sport of cycling and the art of making bicycles, but more importantly this film is especially important for anyone who believes in the power of sport and fitness to give life.
For me, this movie reinforced how much I loathe being around people who complain about being “old”; people who have essentially given up on what their bodies and mind are capable of. I’m 41 years old; I’ve done the sports, the mountain climbs, the triathlon, the marathon, the road races, the obstacle race, etc., and I feel like I’m just getting started. I don’t feel old; in fact I feel the fittest ever and I’m saddened by people who talk themselves into being “old”. Giuseppe was 75 when he challenged himself, and during this training (and my favourite part of this movie) his wife quoted an old Italian proverb which says “you can’t complain about the pain you seek” and I can’t think of anything that has resonated so deeply in my soul.
So today, instead of remembering it as the day my father died, I will remember Giuseppe and his resolve to live as he ever was.
I really want one, or should I say another one…
When I first signed up for the Ontario Women’s Triathlon Series in May it was an homage to my own personal promise to learn/try something new every year, and to my personal quest to continuously challenge myself either physically or mentally (and in this case – both). The experience exceeded my expectations, not because I met my time goal, nor because I had crazy fun, but because I witnessed a camaraderie and drive in a group of women that I have rarely seen.
Over 300 women registered for today’s Milton duathlon/triathlon events organized by a volunteer organization of female athletes who wanted to create an “environment where women and girls would feel excited, and welcome, to participate in the sport of triathlon”, and wow do they ever accomplish that. Today I swam/rode/ran alongside seasoned athletes, seniors (60+), overweight women, pregnant women (6 months), 14 year-old beginners, women recovering from illness/injury, and one woman who had just learned how to swim. I was overwhelmed by the excitement all these women had, not only to try (and complete) these events, but the excitement with which they supported everyone around them. It didn’t feel like an individual endeavour, it felt like a group accomplishment.
My experience today was a testament to the fact that anyone can do anything they put their mind to, and that excuses (too busy, not ready, etc.,) are just another way of saying “I don’t really want to try”. This was my very first triathlon, but it definitely won’t be my last. I feel so extremely lucky and privileged to enjoy the physical and mental health that I have, and as long as I continue to be so blessed I will continue to honour my body by feeding it what it really needs and enjoys.
The ride, although exhilarating in itself, is accented by stops along the way: The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, ice cream at Kettle Cove, fresh baked goods at Scratch Baking Co., more hand made ice cream at Two Scoops on Preble, and of course, a stop at the Portland Light Head (the most photographed lighthouse in the world).
You could drive the same route, but you would miss the natural essence of this beautiful state. I can not wait to return