I am unfairly good when it comes a lot of sports. Baseball, way above average. Not only could I throw a strike for the opening pitch, I could choose between a fastball, a curve, a screwball or a knuckle ball… I even know how to throw a ball minus the movement as well (my dad was a catcher, you place your thumb under the ball so you won’t get the same tight spin when you throw). I can play first base (I’m a lefty – ironic, that) or anywhere in the outfield and when I play softball I bat around .600. Hockey, I can skate. Bowling, golf, I was a scratch golfer before my wife and I had kids, rollerblading (I could hold a 20 mph average over 8 miles back in the day), tennis – though my younger brother is quite a bit better, he’s a teaching pro… In other words, we grew up well in sports.
Teaching my girls how to catch and throw, my daughter often complains that “it’s no fair” that I make it “look so easy”. Humorously enough, while I’ve been thin for most of my life, except the two years I was rollerblading 30 to 60 miles a week, I’ve never really been in great shape… Until now. For the last three years and at 44 years-old, there is no doubt that I’m in the best shape of my life, by a long shot. When I was younger, my resting heart rate was around 70 – average. I have no idea what it was through the rollerblading days but fifteen years ago, I was still in the 70’s. When I started running, fourteen years ago, it slowly started dropping. I dropped into the 60’s and I was happy, better than average.
About 3-1/2 years ago I started cycling and I went from exercising three or four days a week to six and it dropped into the 50’s. This drop was something special because I progressed from “Good” to “Excellent” and right into “Athlete”. Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to hit that “Athlete” classification and at 41 years-old, I’d finally arrived. As I got faster and rode longer, it kept dropping to a point where last year, at 43, my resting heart rate (measured in the morning after a cup or two of coffee, after I’d woken up a bit but before I really did anything) matched my age. In fact, just for fun I checked it once when I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist: 52 beats per minute and still within that “Athlete” classification:
Then, this morning after a great stretch of riding for three weeks with only one day off before rain derailed the streak, this:
Yes, I was really up at 4:00 this morning, it’s kind of one of those unfortunate things that comes with my job. Technically, waking up at 4 am really sucks but it sucks less if I do so every day – over time it became the new schedule. Either way, my resting heart rate is lower than my age. Pretty cool.
P.S. I have had my heart checked out by my doctor, extensively, including a few EKG’s and an ultrasound to make sure that my ticker is working right. All of that “check with your doctor” stuff isn’t crap.