A List Of Things Worth Letting Go Of In Order To Promote Harmony In Your Life With Particular Reference To Older Athletes

Photo of FitOldDog's cycling buddy, Rory.

FitOldDog’s cycling buddy, Rory, with his new bike cap purchased for the Mountains of Misery Century Ride, 2013. Rory sometimes provides wise advice, like my cutting back to the Century Ride (very much appreciated), and not such wise advice, including recommending I not do a short run after my 100-mile ride, which I wisely ignored.

Hi folks! Thanks for stopping by!

Dirty Harry was right when he said that, “A man has to know his limitations.” As you age this becomes increasingly important, leading to the conclusion that you should train smarter rather than harder to stay in the game.

Photo of Mountains of Misery bike start 2013

Start of the Mountains of Misery annual hilly bike rides, 200-kilometer and 100-mile. There are people present ranging in age from late teens to approaching elderly (but fit as a fiddle), and some amazing cyclists. Photo by FitOldDog.

About four years ago I completed the Mountains of Misery Double Header (200k, 4 category 1 climbs) under the 11-hour time cutoff, and it was tough, but I was very fit. This weekend I completed the Mountains of Misery Century ride (100 miles, only 2 of the category 1 climbs – a LOT easier). I was well trained, and finished the ride before the cutoff, but I knew that age was getting to me. I suspect that there is no way I will ever complete the 200k ride again. So I had to let it go. My cycling buddy, Rory, persuaded me to stick to the shorter distance, even though I’d signed up, with my number two son, Duncan (remarkable athlete and artist), for the longer ride. So I had to let it go (Duncan seemed pleased about that!), and I did so at the last possible moment, and it was a good idea. I knew and accepted my limitations, permitting me to undertake a short run at the end of the ride. This run was important because Ironman races require the skill of running immediately following a challenging bike ride – it’s a matter of neuromuscular (or should I say neuromyofascial!) training. Sometimes it pays to listen to your friends, as you might be in the wrong.

Other things to let go of, but in selected cases to keep in your heart:

  1. FitOldDog waits for a train.

    I was in a hurry, and then a train was in the way. What to do? Cuss? Does no good. Just use it as another opportunity for meditation on the need to let go in order to create harmony in your life. Works for me, most of the time. I learned it from The Three Minute Meditator!

    Minor bumps in the road, like a train in your way when you’re in a hurry.

  2. Fear – “All you have to fear is fear itself.” It can save your life or cripple it!
  3. Anger – warning of invaded boundaries, but once you know that move on to fixing the issue.
  4. Immortality – sorry, but that’s the way it is.
  5. Parents – you will eventually be the oldest generation around, enjoy it.
  6. Children – you have to let them go so they can return as adults, no longer your children. This is difficult one.
  7. Older mentors and teachers – most of mine are gone now, which causes a little sadness when I think about it, as many were admirable people.
  8. Relationships – they come and go, changing the involved parties like elementary particles in a Feynman Diagram. What comes out isn’t what goes in, and hopefully it’s better, but you’d better let go of #3 above to achieve that end! The most important relationship is the one you develop with your self, and which determines how you relate to others, even when they piss you off big time.
  9. Photo of FitOldDog's PhD thesis and his publications.

    A forty-year career in science in a nutshell, and I had the time of my life. But it’s over now. I think 40 years was enough, don’t you?

    The constant chatter of your ego – turn it off and have some peace, it feels great.

  10. Career and the social trappings it creates – 40 years of my career in science are summed up in the adjacent image, and now all that is left are memories and the many students whom I hopefully influenced for the better from time to time. I had to let my career go in order to enjoy what I’m doing now, building Old Dogs in Training, LLC, and I’m having the time of my life.
  11. Each stage of life – ’nuff said.
  12. Your peer groups – keep making new friends of all ages, is my advice, but remember that you will never be an actual member of other peer groups (e.g. ethnicity, age, social standing, culture), as such understanding will help you to negotiate the process successfully.
  13. Being right – this is the big one, which leads to the invaluable skill of listening. I have a lot of work to do here.

Life is a continual learning and maturing process, and what an adventure it is.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Anita Casey says

    In regard to “A List of Thigs. . .”–I recently came across some information about the United States National Senior Games Association’s Personal Best Tour: http://www.nsga.com/personal-best.aspx I think NSGA’s approach to motivating seniors to exercise makes a lot of sense. There are many ability levels represented in the 50+ population. In each member of that population, a range of changes occur as time goes by. It’s easy to become disheartened, but it’s important to focus on what you can achieve at any given time–your personal best. In your ear, you might want to hear the words of the great American football coach, Lou Holtz, who’s quoted on NSGA’s site: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Congratulations on a great race!

  2. Interesting approach to motivation. Some of us are very goal oriented, including yours truly! I seem to be locked into Ironman right now, but maybe I’ll incorporate the link you provided into a blog post in the next little while. Thanks for the input. Much appreciated. Kevin aka FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.