The numbers are hard to argue. What I found interesting wasn’t just the different lives these two men lived, but that healthy living is somehow a partisan issue. As long as that’s the case, there are going to be a lot of people who think living an unhealthy life is a exercise in political freedom.
For the second year in a row, I’m running in the Father’s Day Race Against Prostate Cancer. I’m looking forward to raising money to fight prostate cancer and to getting my body in shape for the 5-mile race. Now, five miles is the longest distance I’ve ever run, and I’ve gone that distance only a handful of times. It’s probably the limit my 36-year-old body can go in its current condition.
So, I was at once inspired and intimidated when I read this piece from the Times of London that talked about men in their late 30s and 40s who run, cycle, swim and other things in endurance races. The piece is framed as one in which men compete to get through a mid-life crisis. They’re not taking the traditional (or cliched) route of buying a red sports car or dating younger women.
Triathlon is the fastest-growing mass-participation sport in the UK, and endurance sports across the board are bulging at the midriff with middle-aged men with moobs to lose and something to prove.
That something to prove is not getting old. It’s holding on to youth. It’s proving you still have your mojo. I get that. I’m not going through a mid-life crisis, but I can tell I’m slowing down and not able to do as many of the things I used to do.
The funny thing is, I began thinking about what, if anything, I have to prove with this race. I ran it last year, so I know I can get in shape for it. It’s not a question of whether I’m able to prepare for it. But staying youthful and all that entails – health, vibrance, sex-appeal – gets harder as one grows older. This race isn’t just a way to raise money to fight prostate cancer, it’s a chance to prove to myself that I still have It. When the race is over, the plan is to train and race in something else – something bigger. I know I can’t out-run old age, but I’m going to stay ahead of it for as long as I can.
One in six men will get prostate cancer and one in 35 will die from it. Please help me in the fight against prostate cancer by making a contribution to the American Cancer Society on my fundraising page.