By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
When was last time you pushed yourself?
Placeholder Image
I just returned from a week-long vacation to the Florida Panhandle. For me vacation is a time to relax and do some of the things I really enjoy.
Running happens to be one of those things….seems I never get enough time to run and enjoy the experience because of the challenges of family, work, etc…
Early one morning I was running along Highway 30A which runs parallel to the gulf coast beaches (it’s amazing how much more you can enjoy running when you are looking at the beach).
There were plenty of other people out running, walking and riding bikes - so I had to stay somewhat alert. I noticed this rather elderly gentleman walking towards me as I was well into my first mile.
With each quick step the man took I could see his leg muscles contracting. He was wearing running shorts and a long-sleeve pullover. I figured he may have been a competitive runner at one time – or certainly an athlete in his earlier days. He was slim and very fit.
My guess is he was in his eighties and staying healthy through daily doses of exercise that included morning walks.
As we passed by each other I nodded and said a cordial hello. A few seconds passed and then I heard it.
The old man turned and shouted in my direction, “Pick up the pace!” At first I felt slightly embarrassed, then a little angry. After all, I’m on vacation. I could be sitting on the beach instead of pounding this pavement. Then I had this feeling I had not experienced since I was a member of my high school cross country team.
I have been exercising and running for many years; mostly on my own to stay in decent shape and to keep from buying everything in XXL –  not that there’s anything wrong with that but I’m only 5’9”…and contrary to what I have read 225 pounds is not the new 180.
For more than 30 years I have basically coached myself and for the most part have performed “average” at best.
As I made it into my second mile I realized I had been cheating myself for a very long time.
I have not pushed myself to go a little faster, or run a little further. I do not always choose to eat a little less, or make a healthier choice.
And I wonder why I can’t lose just a little more weight. Maybe it is due to the fact that I have no one telling me to “Pick up the pace!”
I’ll be eligible to join AARP before the end of this month. I’m not knocking on death’s door – but I’m not satisfied with my physical condition either.
Maybe I’m experiencing a little of that thing they call “mid-life crisis”…then again, maybe its time to take a stand and say “I can do better.”.
As I ran into my third mile just a little faster than my second, I realized this was what the old man was talking about.
My high school coaches used to motivate me much the same way.
What about you? When is the last time you pushed yourself just a little more? Are you putting off eating healthier until next week?
Are you going to quit (fill in the blank___________) one of these days? Is exercise something you think about but rarely do? Is your age keeping you from taking action because you think you are too old? Maybe you think too much and do too little!
Maybe you need a coach. A coach could be anyone that helps to motivate you to do better. Your spouse, a family member or relative, a friend or even your boss could be your coach.
Heck, it might even be the 80-year-old guy walking down the street that tells you to “Pick up the pace!”

DeLong is administrator of Magnolia Manor on the Coast in Richmond Hill.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters