As a forty-something southern woman, I've more than spent my share of time listening to what I should and should not be doing. It has been a lifetime of flying uphill and against logistics.
I remember as an eighth grader in a small rural Mississippi town, I couldn't play John Thompson's big note piano method, level three, nor heaven forbid, Bringing in the Sheaves in whole notes. Yet somehow I managed to finagle out a mean rendition of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G minor. It's been a fun ride, as myth slayer of the southern norm.
My latest - - bike trail riding. My family is somewhat at another loss for words as this is the most fun I've had in centuries. Trail riding is liberating, and you get your exercise when you're not looking. I enjoy the crows, bunnies, occasional deer, and even the twenty year olds that buzz by me at warp speed.
Every day out there is a challenge - - against my leg muscles and courage to try a new hill or washed-out gully.
Last week in the New York Times Magazine an encouraging profile was written on 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres who will try for the Olympic swim team again this year. She won her first of nine gold medals in 1984, and she's still kicking tail with the best of them. Torres trains with what she calls "stretchers" who massage her leg muscles by standing on them. This is her secret arsenal which she believes allows her to compete with those half her age.
As my Trek plunges through the next gully, ankles wrapped in thorny vines and sticks snapping in the derailleur, I'll be pulling for Torres, myth slayer of age, going against what she shouldn't be able to do.
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