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Jimmy Riccitello spent 20 years as one of the world’s top professional triathletes.
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Fifty

April 23rd, 2014

I recently celebrated 50 years of life, yet I don’t really feel worse for wear.  In fact, as long as I don’t look in the mirror or at the stopwatch or power meter – I’d think I was still 25.

But I can avoid mirrors all I want and it still won’t stop my kids from innocently reminding me of my battle scars and ever increasing imperfections.  There’s also no escaping the chiding of friends regarding the increase in grey hairs, ear hairs, and nose hairs, the receding hairline, the increase in wrinkles, and any other general age related issues that come with numbers greater than 49.

And as good and as young as I feel when I leave the watch and/or power meter at home, allowing me to be blissfully ignorant of PR times and power numbers from years gone by – there’s no shortage of youngsters (and a couple oldsters) running and riding by me as if I were standing still, to remind me that I’m not as fast as I feel.

So while I subscribe to the “you’re as young as you feel” philosophy, it’s also true that at some point, time waits for no one.  Fortunately, however, it seems that even though time isn’t waiting – it’s apparently not in a big hurry, either.  After all, 50 is the new 30, right?

Trust me, I keep telling myself that, but when I think about the number 50, I get a little freaked out.  Regardless of the fact that in my mind, I’m about 25 years old – I’ve still been here 50 years.  And 50 is a pretty big number.  When I think about the number, it doesn’t really matter how good I feel or how young I feel.  50 years is a lot of years to be alive.

I’ve managed birthdays for the past 10 years by trying not to dwell on the number, choosing instead, to focus on the fact that I truly feel great.  But 50 had me feeling like I’m at a point in my life where I need to live life in the present instead of yearning for the past or thinking too much about the future.  I suppose this happens to many of us when we celebrate being half way to 100.

However, certain milestones bring friends and family out of the woodwork.  I’m shocked and genuinely touched at all of the notes I’ve received regarding successfully reaching 50 years.  After being reminded of so many wonderful memories of good times and fast times from my family and friends via Facebook, cards, letters and emails, I’m not sure that living life entirely in the present is the best strategy.  It occurs to me that the present is not as meaningful without the journey.  And if memories from the last 50 years are any indication of what the future holds, I also have a lot to look forward to.

So thank you, my friends, for reminding me that 50 really isn’t as big as it seems.  It’s just a point along the way.

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Athlete Accolades

January 15th, 2014

Photos

Hardware for Smooh!
Hardware for Smooh!
SW doesn't get cold.
SW doesn't get cold.
Peachy's Mom snapped this photo of Peachy (red hair) running the mile in 1974. 40 years later she ran darn near the same pace for 6.2 miles.
Peachy's Mom snapped this photo of Peachy (red hair) running the mile in 1974. 40 years later she ran darn near the same pace for 6.2 miles.

Many of my clients have been busy tearing up the roads and trails this winter.  I’m a big fan of using 5 and 10km races over the winter as a way of staying in the game.

Many athletes will find that, despite extensive specific preparation, they are able to PR at shorter distances due to their previous season of hard work and a proper amount of off-season rest.  There’s a lot to be said about “freshness.”

Susan “Smooh” Hayden rocked the hills of St. Francisville, LA (yes, there are hills in south Louisiana – big suckers, actually).  She placed second in the 10 mile Wilderness challenge.

Stacey “Stud Woman” Finerman continues to roll.  SW placed second overall in the aptly named Polar Prowl 5km in Boulder, CO.

Ken Miller set a 40 second PR for the 5km distance at the SoCal Half Marathon and 5km.  Impressive!

Lisa “Rockfish” Ribes ran to a second overall in the Tucson Sun Run 10km, with a quick early season time of 36:53.  Keep an eye out for Rockfish this year!

Sharon Peachy “her actual maiden name” Sheremeta ran an unbelievable 10km in the Tucson Sun Run.  At the ripe young age of 54, Peachy smashed her all-time best for the 6.2 mile distance – by a longshot.

Words can’t describe how fortunate I am to have friends and clients who continually impress and motivate me with their passion for fitness and their dedication to balance and hard work.

Congrats on a great start to 2014!

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I’m Right. (Should a male triathlete shave his legs?)

January 6th, 2014

Photos

Men - we're hairy. Embrace it.
Men - we're hairy. Embrace it.

I enjoy a civil argument – especially when there’s no right or wrong answer, because then I’m always right.

With this in mind – tune in here to periodically weigh in on questions that have no right or wrong answer.  It’s always fun to argue when you can never be wrong!

Should a male triathlete shave his legs?

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Racing For A Reason(s)

January 4th, 2014

Photos

Matthew and Madeline with Layla, a Tu Nidito child.
Matthew and Madeline with Layla, a Tu Nidito child.
Matthew, Madeline, and me.
Matthew, Madeline, and me.
The kids watched Ironman Kona this year. Next stop Tahoe!
The kids watched Ironman Kona this year. Next stop Tahoe!

During my 20-year career as a professional triathlete, I had just about zero desire to do the Ironman distance.  I was mildly intrigued at the start of my career, but by mile six of the run in the 1987 Ironman World Championships, I was over it.

I was so over it that I never attempted another Ironman nor thought about attempting one until the twilight of my career in 1999.  I’ve always been a quick learner and on that day in 1987, I learned two very important things about myself:
  1. I have a short attention span, and
  2. I suck at the Ironman distance.

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